Why I wake up at 4AM

An authentic insight into Safaa Adham's story

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Safaa Adham, 19, is the co-founder of Blackrose technologies – a quantitative derivative trading firm operating in the global financial markets, focused on using statistical models and machine learning to generate exceptional returns for investors.

1. Humble Beginnings

Q: How did you get started and what or who inspired and empowered you to?

My infinite fascination with investing started at the age of 11 when I sought refuge in the United States. I only began investing capital after acquiring funds by selling software I had created. My family was new to the United States, we were not well off and I needed to generate income. While my first year investing was rough I quickly adapted and created my own investing strategy which is proprietary to me a few of my partners. My empowerment is simple, I am a person who distains necessity, while money is not the key to happiness, it is definitely a pillar. Financial stability and a legacy are what I seek to achieve, it is my prime mover.

Q: What unique and creative strategies if any did you use when you were first getting started?

My success as an investor can be largely attributed to my understanding of systems, systems of all kind. I am not only interested in learning how things work, I make it my business. A great investor must first cultivate an understanding of their environment. Financial, political, religious, and social systems are all organized systems which must be studied closely. I also follow the news very closely, after waking up at approximately 4 AM every morning I began sending emails and responding to questions from my investors. I follow that up with two hours of reading. I can honestly say I read anything which alleviates my academic standing, I read news articles, books, twitter headlines, and more to determine what my next investment will be. A good example of this is when BTC started getting major traction, while most flocked to sites Coinbase to buy bitcoin, I invested in GPU manufacturers as I know they now would be in high demand. My strategy is simple, I can say with great certainty that it does not matter to me which way the market is heading, up or down, left or right. I am able to capitalize on every market move, it does not take a genius to invest, it only takes discipline. Remember, the road to riches is paved with discipline.

2. Mindset

Q: What mindset distinguished you from others who were doing the same thing? How did you develop it?

Venom, the taste in the back of my throat. It is fear. Most try to deviate and mitigate fear out of their lives. Myself, I find a great deal of pleasure cultivating it; try my best to understand it and order it in a manner which brings me value. This is how I survived in Baghdad, this is how I survived living with Bedouins, and this how who I am now. If you fear something, take the time to understand it and capitalize on it. That is what I do, and that’s what puts me ahead of the market.

3. What is your definition of success?

Success is a concept that means different things to different people. Not too long ago success was having enough to eat, a couple of years ago it was beating the market, now success is thriving to create a legacy. We live, we die, I find little solace above and below. So, the ultimate form of success is leaving your mark on your environment.

4. Failure

Q: What do you think is the main reason why some people face failure when going after their vision?

Those who fail often lack discipline in all aspects of life, I wake at 4 AM in the morning not because I enjoy but it is because it allows me to stay ahead of my competition. I make my bed every morning because it signals to my brain that my first task has been achieved and now I can move forward to more important tasks. I have 15 black shirts not because I enjoy them but it is because I don’t wish to dedicate mental capital to the meaningless and arbitrary. Those who fall short fail to understand that one cannot achieve a large task without first being able to accomplish the little things in life with discipline and dedication. It is also important not to attach yourself to the arbitrary or the righteous. Those who claim a higher moral capacity are often fools who cannot view the world for what it really is, a system which rewards those who can decode it. self-righteousness and meaningless beliefs/convictions is an indulgence I cannot afford.

5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across and would like to share with everyone?

If you don’t someone else will. If you don’t take a risk, work hard, and allow yourself to fail then someone else will, and they will accomplish what you wanted. I remember telling myself that if I don’t finish this program soon someone else will. If I don’t beat the market, someone else will. Untether yourself from the achievements of others and focus on your own path. Act in a pragmatic matter but never forget your emotions, rage and fear and powerful forces that are often wasted on meaningless endeavors. I wanna end on an important note, you reading this means you have access to the internet which also means you have access to the collective knowledge of mankind. Don’t squander that gift, read, explore, travel, and fail. There is no standard for happiness, no standard for success, forge your own path. Because in reality, my advice is just words, words you can choose to attribute words too. So, be disciplined, and be an individual.

You can connect with Safaa on LinkedIn here 

To view more of my work, visit

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