The last few years forever changed the socioeconomic landscape and seismically shifted our collective perception of what we do, how we do it, and whom we do it with.
An era of conspicuous consumption became The Age of Austerity.
Despite percolating societal acrimony and emerging class warfare, adversity defined character and brought out the best in those determined to effect positive change.
There were unfortunate hardships and many reasons to lament but many learned to appreciate the little things in life and be thankful for what they once took for granted.
As we look back at the past year and cast an eye ahead, newfound perspective will most certainly go a long way.
These are some of the lessons I’ve learned; many relate to the markets but most apply to life:
- All you have is your name and your word.
- Honesty, trust, and respect are the foundational constructs of any successful endeavor.
- Time is the most precious commodity.
- The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
- What goes around comes around.
- The greatest wisdom is bred as a function of pain.
- Bad times define good friends just as bad seasons define good fans.
- Be good to others and better to yourself.
- Do Something Joel. A random act of kindness is a positive pebble that ripples through the proverbial pond of life.
- Work to live; don’t live to work.
- Time is the arbiter of fate.
- Free will is God’s greatest gift.
- Experience is a close second.
- Opportunities are made up easier than losses.
- Profitability begins within.
- One hand washes the other.
- Just because one yells doesn’t make the message more important.
- Where you stand is a function of where you sit.
- Life is the cumulative sum of your decisions.
- The only difference between genius and madness is acceptance.
- The only difference between intervention and manipulation is communication.
- The only difference between a lesson and a mistake is the ability to learn from it.
- Negative energy is wasted energy.
- Adapt; don’t conform.
- Take the high road; it’s less crowded and has a better view.
- Stay out of debt.
- Be thankful for what you have rather than dwell on what you don’t.
- Balance, and then balance some more.
- The definition of an investment should never be a trade gone awry.
- To appreciate where we are, we must understand how we got here.
- Drugs that mask symptoms aren’t the same as medicine that cures the disease.
- The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy.
- There’s no shame in admitting it’s hard; there’s only shame in pretending it’s not.
- Friction between opinions is where true education is found.
- A dream is only as powerful as those who believe in it.
- Money comes and goes.
- The reaction to news is more important than the news itself.
- Trading Gods have a vicious sense of humor.
- Tomorrow is promised to nobody.
- If you do the right thing long enough, someone will eventually take notice.
- Good traders know how to make money; great traders know how to take a loss.
- Seeing old friends is good for the soul.
- Some of the wealthiest people I know don’t have two dimes to rub together.
- By the time you get to where you want to be, the journey will have already ended.
- Emotion is the enemy when trading.
- When in doubt, sit it out.
- The only difference between being early and being wrong is if you’re there to collect your chips.
- The best way to build a growth company is by surrounding yourself with people who can themselves grow.
- Tenacity, resolve, and perseverance are the hallmarks of success.
- Hope isn’t a viable investment vehicle.
- Stay humble or the market will do it for you.
- Be careful with people who don’t love pets.
- The ability not to trade is often as important as trading ability.
- The Crash didn’t cause The Great Depression; The Great Depression caused the Crash.
- Social mood and risk appetites shape financial markets.
- The leaders coming out of a crisis are never the same as those that enter it.
- The ability to add capacity into a downturn defines the winners on the other side.
- Discipline trumps conviction.
- There is a massive difference between having fun and being happy.
- Gratitude is latitude.
- Society is a sum of the parts.
- View obstacles as opportunities.
- The air of integrity gets thinner with age.
- The meaning of life is a life of meaning.
- Think positive!
These are dynamic times and history will reflect on them with knowing wisdom, learned lessons, and gained experience.
For those navigating the crosscurrents in real-time, however, it’s often overwhelming and sometimes quite scary. There is no script to reference and historical precedence need not apply.
We often say that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. That’s not some flippant off-the-cuff quip; it’s a call to consciousness that each of us, at some level, will shape the present and pave a path for future generations.
If not us, who? And if not now, when? We have an opportunity to affect a positive outcome, teach our children, and leave the world a better place than we found it. It won’t be easy, but then again anything worth having rarely is.
Fare ye well in 2010 and beyond and from our family to yours, may peace be with you.
No positions in stocks mentioned.