I wish it didn’t happen.

But it did.

Years ago I worked in a store that sold hockey equipment. (It doesn’t get much more Canadian than that, eh.)

The store was on the main street of town, and it did a pretty brisk bit of business.

And while everything was good in the front, in the back… not so much.

Literally 2 blocks behind us was the city’s ghetto.

Open drug dealing, cars being vandalized, buildings being broken into & set on fire, junkies stepping in front of cars to get hit so they could sue the driver… I saw it all.

Oh, yes, and then there was the prostitution.

We’d regularly have the “customers” dropping the girls off on the main street in front of our store. So they could save the two seconds of driving them back to their corner in the ghetto. Naturally.

It was, shall we say, interesting.

Never a dull moment…

In addition to this, we were regularly harassed by the bylaw officials who came to give us parking tickets.

There was no parking to be had except on the sidestreet beside our store. So that’s where we parked.

But the bylaw lady didn’t like that and would come and chalk lines on our tires.

This way, when she came back in a couple hours, she’d know if we’d moved our car or not.

And if the chalk line was still there, it was ticket writin’ time.

This set off a game of cat and mouse, as we started watching for the cranky bylaw lady.

Once we spotted her (and she was done marking our tires) we’d run outside and wipe the chalk off.

Boom. Problem solved.

But this created a new problem where we had to run out and check our tires once in a while, in case she slipped by and marked our tires without us noticing.

And so one snowy day, I found myself walking outside to check my tires.

There were mushy piles of snow all over the salted sidewalk, so I had my head down concentrating on my next step. I didn’t want to soak my sneakers and spend the rest of my shift with wet feet.

Finally, having tiptoed my way through the slushy snow, I made it to my car.

When I reached the driver’s side door, I looked over to see a hooker at passenger door trying to get in(!)

I was frozen with shock.

“What are you doing?” I stammered as my mind started racing.

In a flash I was thinking of what this would look like if anyone passed by.

It would be just my luck to have the pastor’s wife walk by and see this.

How would I explain my innocence?

Anything I said would sound like the typical excuses of someone caught red handed.

Worse yet, I reasoned, “What if it wasn’t brought up at all, but was instead passed on to others before I had the opportunity to explain?”

If my mom saw me I’d at least have a chance to explain it all.

But if someone else walked by and rushed to a snap judgment I could have countless people talking behind my back!

I could almost hear their judgmental thoughts ringing in my ears: “We always knew there was something about that guy…”

The girl’s response snapped me back to into the moment.

“I thought you wanted me to get in,” she replied.

Thankfully, she saw my shocked look of total bewilderment and left.

I don’t know what I would’ve done if my passenger door hadn’t been locked and she got in the car.

I mean, really, what could I have done? Paid her to leave? How incriminating would THAT look?

I was stunned by the whole series of events.

I was concentrating so hard on not getting my feet wet, that I was unaware of anything else going on.

So much so, that I didn’t even see the girl walking towards my car.

But this story reminds me of an experience a lot of new stock traders have.

(And, no, I’m not talking about a misadventure involving a prostitue. Unless they’re like Jordan Belfort from “The Wolf of Wall Street”, in which case it just might.)

But so often new traders are concentrating so hard on learning the technical stuff, that they don’t see what’s happening around them.

They get so caught up in the mechanics of their trade that they lose sight of where the market’s headed.

And the market moves without them realizing it.

In no time at all, the market’s moved against their trade and they’re standing there completely stunned… not knowing what to do.

And — just like me with the hooker at my car door — they have no idea what’s going on.

“Will the market stop? Will it keep moving against my trade? Will it reverse direction and go away? Should I close my trade? Should I adjust my trade? How the heck do I adjust a trade?”

Being inexperienced and caught off guard can lead to some hectic experiences.

Luckily for me on that wet, snow-covered day, everything turned out OK.

Nobody saw me (at least that I know of!), and nobody else knows about this.

Other than you. (But I’m trusting your discretion.)

But for many new traders, it doesn’t often end well and they lose piles of money.

And the only way to avoid these situations is to go all Liam Neeson and develop “a very particular set of skills, skills acquired over a very long career,” so that you become aware of what’s happening in the marekt.

And this comes with many hard lessons only won through experience.

Of course, you could skip all that and borrow the experience of my trading team inside The Empirical Collective by following our trade alerts here.

Here’s to not getting blindsided!

Have an incredible day!

Your Minister of Capitalism,
Brett Davison

This has been re-posted from The Minister of Capitalism’s email list, where he keeps his best and most ingenious thoughts.

If you’d like to get frequent doses of his dopamine-laced, irreverent ideas, you can sign up below.

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