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Stock Doc: Stick to Your Guns

This past Sunday, in the second inning of a baseball game, I stood on first base after hitting a single with two outs.

I play in a wooden-bat semi-professional baseball league in Central Park as a way to relax each weekend. My team was playing against a new and unfamiliar opponent on that day, and I had no awareness of whether the catcher had a good throwing arm or if the pitcher had a good pick-off move. We had a weaker hitter at bat, so strategically I knew that it would be in my best interest to attempt stealing second base.

So after the pitcher went into his motion on the second pitch, I made the decision to take a risk and try to steal the base. Unfortunately, despite my sound strategy, I was just barely thrown out after sliding feet-first into the base. I was told that I probably would have been safe, had I gone in with a headfirst slide. Lesson learned!

Even though the inning ended, my teammates celebrated my courage and my aggressive play. I was, after all, just trying to make something happen.

I have long been a fan of a quote that I read inside of a fortune cookie, and I have tried to integrate its meaning into my business and athletic endeavors. The quote reads, "You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first!" For the traders and investors out there, this means that in order to take risks and make money, you can't second-guess your strategy or thesis, even if the trade seems uncertain.

I have worked with many traders who have initially felt that they were not making a good enough living because they were not getting involved in fast-moving trades and thus, were sitting on the sidelines during a huge opportunity to take a strong position. Many of them feel angry that they are watching others make money after having taken a big risk. The best traders, of course, take risks, and are so competitive that they would never be caught sitting on the bench starring at his or her P/L during a fast money making opportunity, no matter how uncertain it may be.

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