BatMy friend and stock market mentor Omar Sheriffe Vernon el Halawani loved cricket in addition to the stock market. We watched many a Wall Street Week together. I saw him through his last two years of cancer, and although he was disappointed that the treatments didn’t take hold, he never once complained about his lot, or his suffering. Yet this was a man who would rail against taxes all day and haggle over the price of a cup of coffee.

One of his dying wishes was to have his ashes spread on a cricket pitch in each of Canada, England, and Jamaica — the three places where he spent most of his life. His cousin and I did Canada, and I won’t say when or where because this is quite illegal, and the location is particularly high-profile — we put him in the wicket holes.

Sheriffe was a high school teacher for his whole career, but became a millionaire by buying a little real estate — but mostly from shrewdly trading stocks. He took his lumps early like the rest of us, but was a very quick study. He had a deep understanding of eonomics, and from that and sheer native intelligence, became a great stock picker. “George, the Canadian banks are a license to print money.” So he bought Bank of Montreal and held it for 20 years — split after split after split. His annual dividend income was well north of 20% on his original investment.

In his later years he also used to tell me “George, why bother to sell? Remember Peacock!” Peacock was a character in Edwin Lefebvre’s biography of Jesse Livermore’s “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator,” and when brokers would harangue him to take profits, he would apologetically whine “but it is a bull market and if I sold I would lose my position — then where would I be?”

Williams Tower / HoustonSo Sheriffe bought Corning at $2 in 2002, and Williams Companies for not much more, and watched them rise tenfold. He bought Transcanada Pipelines at $10 to watch it triple and re-instate its dividend, and so on. This man knew how to sit.

Tonight I scored my third goal and set up my second in four playoff soccer games. We won the final. I’ve been playing soccer in this league for over five years and have never once scored a goal. But because I played indoor last season, and also on Sundays throughout the year, I finally developed enough stamina and a little skill to run up and and down the field consistently and with confidence, and the past four games were my personal little breakout.

Immersion. Loving what you do. Doing it over and over again. This breeds success.


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