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Credit: Tim Sykes

This past week my girlfriend, six of my top students and I were on Bravo's "Below Deck." I chartered a 154-foot yacht for three days and treated everyone to what I thought would be a luxurious and fun experience. Here are three lessons from my miscalculation:

Lesson #1: Reality shows don’t depict reality


I thought it’d be amazing to trade aboard with my students the yacht and have some romantic alone time with my girlfriend and even though both activities went perfectly in real life, the TV show depicts them as disasters.

I made $70,000 on my yacht trade and was sure they’d show some or all of it because it was pretty dramatic, but instead the producers focused on my complaining about the lack of Internet – which did make the trade a little tricky – and made it seem as though I didn’t make any money.

Also, while my girlfriend doesn’t like a lot of the fancy food the yacht chef prepared, he made us some simple food like quesadillas and she was happy, but the show made it seem as though our whole dinner date was ruined.

Lesson #2: There’s no such thing as bad press

This isn’t my first or last reality show and no matter how each one turns out – more and more people discover me, my story and my niche trading strategy that has made me so wealthy, along now with several of my millionaire students. In a noisy world you must do everything possible to get the word out about yourself and your expertise.

Even though I came off horribly in "Below Deck," smart people realize its highly edited and I’ve already been contacted by hundreds of people interested in learning about what I do. It’s sad the world works this way, but you have to respect it.

Lesson #3: Lose some battles to win the war

The biggest reason why the TV show ripped on me is because I “only” tipped the "Below Deck" crew $17,000 roughly 25 percent instead of the full $22,000 I had planned on tipping them had they followed instructions and given me the service I was expecting.

I was right in principle as tips should be based on service and how satisfied the customer is, but because this was being filmed for TV I should’ve sucked it up and been overly generous to make the crew happy and not want to talk badly about me in their post-trip TV interviews.

It was my bad for being frugal and realistic when I got myself into this situation and should’ve realized the consequences of my actions. The $5,000 extra tip doesn’t matter to me, I spend that on a fun night out, but it changed the perceptions of the crew and just about everyone who saw the show and now it’s too late for me to do anything about it.

Good lesson for me as I learn the consequences of my actions along the way…too bad there’s no reality show guru who could’ve mentored me beforehand!

Things I Liked:

1. Stealth augmented reality startup Magic Leap just raised $500 million in an investment round led by Google, big things coming for Google Glass!

2. Despite all the fears, Ebola really isn’t spreading as fast as some people thought, thank God!

3. The U.S. stock markets have had some nice consolidation as of late which is very healthy for us long-term; a little more fading wouldn’t hurt either.


New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz might be injured for the season, but I love his post-surgery upbeat attitude in his latest Instagram video.


Airlines still don’t seem to realize the risks of Ebola as we keep hearing of more Ebola patients who have flown and risked infecting others.

For more financial advice, visit timothysykes.com.

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