Blinded By The Light

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

He was just blinded by the light

Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night

Blinded by the light

Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun

Whoa, but mama, that’s where the fun is…

–Bruce Springsteen, “Blinded By The Light”

You might find this hard to believe, but Bruce Springsteen never had a number one record. Well, sort of. You see, Bruce’s childhood memoir masterpiece, “Blinded By The Light,” did reach number one on the charts, but not in its original form (find out the real story behind the song and its unconventional lyrics straight from Bruce).

The song actually first appeared on Springsteen’s 1973 debut album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” Yet, it was the 1976 cover version of the song by British rock band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band that reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in February 1977.

So, why I am bringing up rock history here this week in The Deep Woods?

Well, aside from the fact that the subject is fun to discuss, the meaning of the song, and its history on the Billboard charts, can teach us some important lessons about the markets, investing and life.

First, when Bruce wrote his story about being “blinded by the light” of the new and the unknown, and wanting to, as he puts it, “do things I hadn’t done and see things I hadn’t seen,” he didn’t envision the song being covered by a band across the pond. He also didn’t think that song would become a number one hit.

Yet, that’s the thing about life, most of the time we don’t know where our choices will lead us. Even seemingly pedestrian choices can have giant ramifications for our lives, and we never really know which of those everyday decisions will end up morphing into life-changing circumstances. So, the lesson here is to always choose wisely no matter how seemingly insignificant your decision may be, as you never know the causal significance it could have.

Second, when Bruce wrote about his desire to do things he hadn’t done, see things he hadn’t seen, and allow himself to look into the sights of the sun (because that’s where the fun is), I doubt he realized that this would be a profound lesson for investors. Let me explain.

You see, in February and March of 2020, many investors were “blinded by the light,” and not in a positive way. In fact, many were blinded by the market turmoil occurring during the beginning of the pandemic, and many pulled their money out of the market and went to cash. Now, this was a smart move for several months; however, the pernicious, COVID-19-inspired selling in markets blinded many an investor into staying on the sidelines well into the big rally and economic rebound that’s still going strong today.

So, the lesson here for investors is to not allow yourself to be blinded by the often-intense light of fear in markets.

Indeed, one of the biggest problems I encounter when talking to investors is not that they are too aggressive with their money, but that they aren’t even in the market because they want to avoid experiencing another Q1, 2020 sell-off. Some investors are even still on the sidelines as a result of fear of another 2008-2009 financial crisis.

In this case, you don’t want to be blinded by the light of fear. Instead, you want to move toward the light of future possibilities, and you want to put your money to work in the investment vehicles best suited to serve your particular circumstances and goals.

So, if you are still leery about getting in this market, I implore you to shed that fear of a tired bull. Allow yourself to look into the sights of the sun and the brightness of opportunity and embrace the potential upside — because as Bruce told us, “that’s where the fun is.”

If you would like to find out how you can stare into the sights of the sun and embrace opportunity, I invite you to check out the full palette of offerings that is my newsletter advisory services.

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Putting One Fake Foot in Front of the Other

Some men, when faced with overwhelming, life-shattering adversity, choose to embrace the circumstance. And in doing so, they live a life of epic inspiration.

In the new episode of the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast, I speak with just such a man, former Army soldier and retired police officer, Steve Martin.

Steve is an Afghanistan war veteran whose battlefield injuries cost him both of his legs.

Yet rather than allow that to stop him, Steve chose to overcome his personal battles, conquer his inner demons, and live a life that we all can aspire to.

From overcoming pain medications and becoming one of the first double-amputee field police officers in the country, to becoming an athlete whose participation in high-profile competitions has elevated awareness for life after amputation, Steve is a man whose mindset we all can learn from.

If you want to be motivated by a real-life hero and learn about his new adventure with an organization that I am proud to sponsor and support, Friends of Freedom USA, then you will really enjoy my inspiring conversation with Steve Martin.

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Fight For Your Right To Party

Don’t step out of this house if that’s the clothes you’re gonna wear
I’ll kick you out of my home if you don’t cut that hair
Your mom busted in and said, what’s that noise?
Aw, mom you’re just jealous it’s the Beastie Boys

You gotta fight for your right to party…

–Beastie Boys, “Fight For Your Right”

Fighting for your right to party might seem like just a humorous rap music refrain, but the wider issue is far from funny. You see, for more than a year, and basically since the pandemic lockdowns were implemented in about March 2020, the country has been waiting to unleash the party beast within and finally celebrate without masks, social distancing and fear of a viral planet.

Well, this past weekend, I experienced this sentiment, as I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, visiting friends and doing some work on the “Way of the Renaissance Man” podcast. And I must say that I fully exercised my right to party, and did so at a birthday celebration, at a sumptuous dinner and at Sunday brunch. Those celebrations came complete with red wine, champagne, whiskey, tequila, fine cigars, steaks and decadent desserts. The celebration was also mostly without masks, social distancing and worry over becoming sick.

Now, I am not suggesting that a party weekend of this sort is recommended on a regular basis. After all, consistent overindulgence is anathema to a life in balance. However, after more than a year of quarantine conditions, the world deserves to exercise its right to party. So, get out there and let yourself celebrate the indulgences you love most, whatever they might be. I strongly recommend it.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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