You might find this hard to believe, but the iconic New Jersey rocker 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 am I bringing up rock history here 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.
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”
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.
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, despite the rocky first quarter of 2022, is still going today.
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 the 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.”
You know, with his outlook on life, and his famous work ethic, I think Bruce would make a great fund manager.
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When Silence is Lying
“We hold our heads high, despite the price we have paid, because freedom is priceless.”
The Polish statesman, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is a pivotal figure in the history of Europe, as he was the first democratically elected president of Poland since the 1920s. His fight for freedom and autonomy over communist forces should be an inspiration to us all, especially in light of the current events in Ukraine. And as Wałęsa reminds us, whatever the cost, freedom is priceless.
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,