Gotta love failures

Andrew Hallam 40 / 40 – Attempt 1

Last week a friend of mine, Ursula Pong, a beautiful (inside and out) 50 year old PE teacher at my school asked me to try something called the TRX 40/40 challenge.

I wasn’t able to do it. But I tried my best, as you can see above:

Physical setbacks (and I had my fair share of them last year) are like stepping stones. Success is entirely relative, but if we set goals (whether financial other otherwise) the journey towards achieving them is definitely worth it. I don’t want to sound trite, but I think it’s important to challenge ourselves mentally and physically.

If we lose money in the markets (permanent long term money) we need to learn why and set goals to ensure that it won’t happen again. If the powers that be choose to give us cancer or another life-threatening illness, we need to set goals to overcome the ailment—or deal as positively as we can with the hand we’ve been dealt.

I can’t speak for everyone who gets sick or gets wiped out financially, or who fails at something…but goal setting is key.

And when you fail, as I did on this video, embrace it and fight back.

I’m going to complete this challenge in one month. And when I do it, I’ll let you know. The operative word has to be “when” not “if”.

It’s better to burn out than to fade away, right?

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Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (2nd Ed. Wiley 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Comments Policy.

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19 Responses

  1. Marco says:

    Hi Andrew,

    With some patience, persistence and time you will complete this challenge. Don't worry if you can't complete it in one month though, challenges like these may require more time. What truly matters is the effort and hard work you put into it… and in the end you will be rewarded because of it. Remember, it's not a sprint but a marathon.

    All the best!


  2. @Marco

    Thanks Marco,

    That's great advice. And if I can't do it in one month, I'll do it the next. If you don't see an update in a couple of months, I want you to give me a tough time!


  3. DIY Investor says:

    Awesome attempt…you'll make it next time. Challenges make life interesting. Beating your bone cancer I'm sure has given you an appreciation of life most people never experience.

    In the investing arena the challenges never end and meeting them successfully is the real reward.

  4. @DIY Investor

    Thanks Robert,

    I met one woman who referred to it as "the gift of cancer". I sure wouldn't call it a gift, but for a dose of perspective, few things compare.

  5. DIY Investor says:

    "I sure wouldn’t call it a gift, but for a dose of perspective, few things compare." I'm sure that's a heck of an understatement!

  6. Hey, why doesn't my trackback appear? 😛 I mentioned you in my weekend reading, Andrew. K eep going and keep inspiring the rest of us!

  7. Sometimes failure provides the change in perspective we need. However, the only way to learn from failure is to accept responsibility and not blame others.

    How many times have your read about the person that has risen from the ashes after losing everything and becoming very successful. (Even Trump went bankrupt once.) Unfortunately, there are a lot more people out there that instead sink and get buried in the ashes and make excuses for losing their home or whatever. (The economy didn't make you overspend on a house in the first place, or buy a vacation home.)

    Great post.

  8. @Invest It Wisely

    Thanks Kevin,

    I think it shows now!

  9. @Everyday Tips

    Everyday Tips:

    You're so right. People need to be accountable for what they can control. I guess life is always going to have that Darwinian element to it, isn't it? Survival of the fittest. Being "fit" isn't the same as it was during the caveman days, but it's still an applicable concept.

  10. BadCaleb says:

    That's awesome. My lats hurt just watching you do those.

  11. Mich @BTI says:

    Embracing failure and fighting back is not as easy as it sounds which is why not a lot of people succeed. Hats off to you my friend!

  12. @BadCaleb

    Thanks BadCaleb!

    But I think they're harder for me than for most people. I don't know why! If you ever get a chance to try it, give it a whirl

  13. @Mich @BTI

    Thanks for the encouragement Mitch,

    And now that I've made it so public, I have to follow through and improve, like I promised I would. I guess that's why some people believe that it's important to share your goals with others!


  14. Beyond impressive…… I know I couldn't do this without vastly improving my conditioning.

  15. Mike says:


    This post inspired me today.

    Thanks, Mike

  16. @The Biz of Life

    Hey Biz,

    Let me know if you're going to go for it and I'll cheer loudly from the Singaporean sidelines!

  17. @Mike

    I'm really glad Mike!



  18. That's amazing Andrew 🙂 I can't even do that on the best of days 🙂

    I didn't know you had bone cancer- that's amazing that you are doing so well- I am very happy for you. Did you have the surgery in Singapore?

  19. @youngandthrifty

    Thanks Young,

    Yeah, I did have the surgery in Singapore. They have great medical care here, and their hospitals are more like hotels than the hospitals we have at home. I've heard that one in Bangkok, called (something like) Bamrunggrad, is on par with the world's best hospitals, but it's a bit like a 5 star hotel. Who would have thought it?

    My surgery was 12 1/2 months ago. And I'm doing well enough to give that TRX 40/40 challenge another go. I think I can do it. I'm pretty stubborn, don't you think?

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