Why do we admire the cold executioner? Maybe it's a Darwin thing -- maybe on the grasslands, it was the unflappable stalker who bagged the game. But I doubt it.
Are you an "unemotional" investor?
Maybe you'd like to think you are. But frankly, I'm not even convinced there are such things. And if they do exist, I'm not convinced they beat those of us who let emotion cloud our judgment. I think it's just the opposite.
I'll tell you why, but first a confession: I grow attached to things. The result is a wardrobe disaster and a yard littered with British cars. (Which explains why, when I left for my cousin's wedding one day, my "pal" Danny quipped, "So your cousins are finally getting married?" Ha.)
It was also Danny who told me to dump my Midway
Is it time to sell?
I'm not sure I can do it now. Over the years, I've made the cerebral case for not getting too cute and jumping into and out of stocks. Today's plea is from the heart. The thing is, I've been through a lot with Midway over the past five or so years. You might even say we understand one another.
OK, so familiarity may be a lame reason to hold onto a stock. In itself. But it sure as heck doesn't hurt. Honestly, what do you get when you buy a stock? A piece of paper? Of course not -- you're buying a tiny piece of a company. And the more you know about that company, the better off you are.
And brace yourself, because I'm going to take that one step further. The more in love you are with a company -- that is, the more deeply you care about its products, its people, its history, and the crosses it has to bear -- the more likely you are to know about it.
You may be a Fool .
When I discovered The Motley Fool years ago, I fell in love with Rule Breaker investing. After all, here was this fellow David Gardner who actually bought AOL (now part of Time Warner
Back then, these stocks didn't hit valuation screens. You couldn't find them by searching Bloomberg or Baseline for companies that met certain fundamental or technical criteria. To get in early enough to really make a killing, you bought companies like this on faith . youfell in love with them.
And investors who didn't get whipsawed by these tigers are the ones who stuck with them in sickness and in health. (Trust me on this. I know you are picturing a towering 10-year chart for Dell
The only reason David's original real-money Rule Breaker portfolio ended up 20% per year -- and that's over 10 years that included the bear market -- was because he stuck with his winners.
Do you have the guts to make real money?
Ask yourself that question honestly. Because that's what it takes to really crush the market: guts. And "guts" is 95% emotion -- at least. Others may disagree, but fancy spreadsheets and black-box models didn't keep folks invested in McDonald's
Love hurts. Look no further than my affair with Midway. I rode that sucker from $10 to near $20 to almost zero. But a funny thing happened along the way. I got in the habit of buying more whenever it clunked to around $4 (one time, just 20 minutes before Bill Mann wrote an upbeat column on Midway -- almost had some 'splainin' to do that time!).
As a result, I've got a Bell performance exhaust and a set of Panasport wheels riding on Midway. I may even have to let some go (as soon as I'm cleared under the Fool's strict trading guidelines, that is). Baby needs a new set of wheels! I'll probably sell it directly to Sumner Redstone. What do you think, Danny boy?
Talk about the passion
Seriously, you don't have to fall in love with your stocks, but do fall in love with investing. I joke about Bill Mann and the other clowns around the office, but there is no doubt that great investors do it out of love. Just like great wrench turners love their cars, and great dancers gotta dance.
This is a big part of the success of The Motley Fool and of services like Rule Breakers. And while I admit I'm not much of a "discussion boards" guy, I see those Rule Breakers types online chatting endlessly about their stocks. I know it makes them better investors. (I think they may even be falling a little in love.)
Moreover, even if I don't take advantage of the "community" as much as you would, I do talk stocks more than my share around the office . and on the phone . and via email. Heck, I even talk stocks in bars. No wonder I'm single.
Need someone to talk to?
If you think there is the tiniest grain of truth in anything I've said today, you might want to check out David Gardner's Rule Breakers service. I mean it when I tell you these folks love their stocks -- which isn't so surprising given some of the home runs they've hit just this year.
Best of all, David will let you try the service out for 30 days for free. That way, you can verify everything I've said, and find out for yourself if Rule Breakers investing is the thing for you. If not, it's better to have loved and lost (though this time you can't really lose). Click here to see what the fuss is about.
All picks and results are posted on the Rule Breakers website. Paul Elliott owns shares of Midway, but no other companies mentioned. Amazon.com, Dell, eBay, and Time Warner are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Motley Fool isinvestors writing for investors.