You know those serendipitous moments when you’re in a public space, cranking on your work, caffeine flowing, Spotify in ears and something happens between songs that steals your attention?
That was this morning for me. I found myself listening to two nearby neighbors in between sips of coffee. They were a couple of seeming successful business guys in casual Friday attire, talking golf and tennis and stocks.
Sidenote: I swear there are two of these morning guys at every Starbucks I know. One of them just stepped away to take a call or do a trade or something. He was on the phone when he was ordering his coffee too.
Well here’s the aha: Moments before, the more retired of the two was all smug about some pharma-stock he’d killed it with recently. He bought at $29 and it was trading now at $120. He was holding.
The other guy (who’s on the phone right now), was giving him the business on why he needs to sell. Smiling, more-retired-guy says, “You told me to do that back when it was at $44.”
Then, on-the-phone guy drops this one on him, “Do you know why its on the rise or are you just gambling?” More-retired-guy fessed up that he was just lucky. He went on, “You should have sold at $44… or figure out the fundamentals… you’re on borrowed time.”
It does seem that if you wait long enough, everyone gets lucky once in a while. But staying up all night to get lucky when you don’t know how things work just isn’t smart. I know that some people sure look perpetually lucky… but they aren’t. Those Midas Touch folks are real because they know fundamentally what they’re doing.
What gets me nervous, regardless of whether things are going up or down, is when I don’t know why. I’m pretty convinced that holding smugly is not a strategy.