This column was originally published on RealMoney on Nov. 11 at 10:40 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

Fascinations with stocks from the past continue to plague those of us who like to think of the future. This week I met with investors who owned, respectively, Dell ( DELL), Cisco ( CSCO), Sun Micro ( SUNW) and Oracle ( ORCL). In each case I told them to sell the stocks. In each case I said these stocks' best years are behind them. In each case I said that they should move on to find the next Dell, the next Cisco, the next Sun and the next Oracle.

And in each case they thanked me and indicated that they would wait for a better time to sell.

Better time to sell. What does that mean? If you have unlimited capital and you can afford to wait, then sure, that's a good response. If you are a fund manager and they are minor positions that you keep on to monitor, then I get it too.

But in every case I am aware of, none of these is the situation. In each case, capital is being tied up in a futile attempt to get back to even, or because of fear that the stocks will ramp the moment you sell them.

I can't tell people ultimately what these stocks will do. I do know that there are so many stocks that are better that it makes no sense to hold them. I keep 25 stocks for the ActionAlerts PLUS portfolio . No more than that, and I can keep a lot of stocks in my head. If you simply adopt the discipline that you can buy no new stock without peeling one off, I think it would help you if you are stuck in this situation.

More important -- I think it is important -- if you are in one of these situations, to recall that you can always buy back the stock if you think something has changed. In the interim, it is time to find and embrace the future, not the past.

If you have to, you can sell small each month until the position is gone, to avoid the remorse of a quick upgrade or a push up. If you do it that way, you are going to have less regret although less reward. That's OK -- anything to get you out of the graveyard.

We are all make mistakes like holding on to the past. It comes naturally. It is one of those mental defects that makes us less effective with our money.

It can't be cured.

It can be dealt with.

P.S. from Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:
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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for ActionAlertsPLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." Cramer appreciates your feedback and invites you to send him an email by clicking here.