An Unexpected Opportunity

I had the pleasure of rebooting our Trader Meetup Group in Boulder last night. This was our first gathering in more than a year since the pandemic started. There’s nothing quite like hanging out with like-minded traders in person and swapping war stories. 

Here’s a great anecdote that was shared with me last night by one of the smart guys in attendance. I’m paraphrasing, but here it goes:

When he was around 8 or 9 years old playing youth soccer, he was the least skilled player on the team. In addition to his lack of physical skills, he struggled to understand proper positioning and game situations.

The roster was full when the season started. But the coach expanded the roster by one for him because he was the hardest worker in practice.

In games, his coach gave him simple instructions:

“If the ball is in the offensive zone, you go to [x] spot. If the ball is in the defensive zone, you go to [y] spot.”

He dutifully followed these instructions — always heading to his assigned spot depending on where the ball was moving.

But then the coach noticed something…

While traveling to his designated spots on the field, the ball would often come right to our little hero. But he’d ignore it and continue running to his mark.

So the coach offered this advice, which now also serves him well in life and in trading:

“Young man, it’s important to have a plan and to follow it as often as possible. But when an unexpected opportunity comes your way, you have to be flexible and adaptable enough to take it.”

“When the ball comes your way — attack it!”

The art of successful trading requires us to make plans. But the true magic is found in knowing when to opportunistically deviate from the plan when the right opportunity presents itself.