Back in 1999, when the Internet bubble was in full swing, my investment firm announced plans to open the world's first Internet-based global trading website.

Investors would have the ability to buy online virtually any stock, traded on any exchange in the world, 24 hours a day. On this exciting news, our stock - which had been trading in the basement - shot up more than ten-fold.

That was both good and bad. Good, because in the company pension plan, I owned more shares than anyone outside of the executive suite. Bad, because the company Chairman, who was also a good friend, refused to let me sell them.

This bothered me, to put it mildly. Especially since I knew there was no way that website was ever going to fly.

You see, making a market in a foreign stock when the local market is closed is a risky business under the best of circumstances. To even offer a valid quote, a market maker generally has to have a dialogue to find out whether the trader is a buyer or seller, how many shares he wants, and so on.

This isn't what most people imagine when they envision making an online trade.

In addition, foreign companies often make major announcements - in dozens of different languages - after the market close. Offering shares to investors - or buying theirs - before knowing the local market's reaction to that news can send you to the poorhouse quick.

Furthermore, our firm had so far done no more than hire a webmaster. We didn't have a functioning website yet. We didn't have online clients. The wild run-up in our stock - like so many others at the time - was based on sheer speculation.

It confirmed my view that the investor mania for all things Internet-related was nothing more than hysteria and wishful thinking. Technology traders had simply come unhinged. And I really, really wanted to unload my shares while buyers were in such an optimistic mood.

But my friend, the company chairman, adamantly refused. "The only way you can sell those shares," he chided me, an employee of 14 years, "is if you leave the company."

So I left.

That didn't improve matters. My old firm sued me, dragged its feet, and still wouldn't distribute my pension shares. My attorney threatened legal action for breach of fiduciary duties.

After several months, I finally got my shares. By then, the world's first global trading website was a publicly acknowledged flop. And the stock, of course, had plummeted, coming to rest at a dollar a share.

To say this ate at me would be an understatement. I was angry about the lost opportunity. Angry, especially, at my former friend and colleague.

Someone once said it's easier to forgive your enemies than your friends. I think that's true. (After all, you don't expect much from your enemies.) But, for your own sake, it's better to forgive them both.

In my experience, keeping old scores makes you less than what you are. It makes you bitter, keeps you angry. It creates burdens that none of us need to carry.

Occasionally, I'll hear an irate friend or neighbor say, "I'll forgive him. But I'll never forget." But what's the point? That's just another way of saying you're still packing your resentments around with you.

"But the S.O.B. doesn't deserve to be forgiven," a woman once said of her ex-husband. Perhaps not. But it does no good to dwell on it. Why keep the embers alive?

As William H. Walton said, "To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee."

For my part, I let go of my anger against my friend years ago. Today it just seems like "one of those things," a misunderstanding that ballooned into something more a long time ago.

Frankly, I wish I'd been wise enough to reach that mindset a lot sooner. After all, none of us can change the past. And, in my view, you can't really be free until you've put your grievances behind you.

If you still find yourself feeling resentful about something that happened long ago, do yourself a favor. Let it go.

You may believe that some behavior is simply inexcusable. And in some cases, of course, it is. But even then, you don't have to forgive someone for his sake. Do it for your own.

As Confucius told us 2,500 years ago:

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

Carpe Diem,

Alex

Author's Bio: 

Alexander Green has just launched Spiritual Wealth (www.spiritualwealth.com).

What is “Spiritual Wealth,” exactly?
According to Alex:
"Anything that can be measured in dollars and cents, I call material wealth. Everything else – the love of our families, the health we enjoy, the time we spend doing things we enjoy or working on things that really matter – I call spiritual wealth."

Alex is also the Chairman of Investment U, where his actionable investment ideas are published three times a week. He’s the Investment Director of The Oxford Club, as well, where he’s beaten the S&P 500 nearly 5-to-1 over the last five years.