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; at least for some, in this increasingly asymmetric world.
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 numerous reasons to lament but we learned to appreciate the simple pleasures and be thankful for what they once took for granted.
As we look back and cast an eye ahead, new-found perspective will go a long way. With that in mind, I humbly share this cumulative list of 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.
- Anxiety is the friction between where you are and where you feel you should be.
- Keep your chin up, not your chest out.
- 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.
- Be able to look yourself in the eyes each day when you brush your teeth.
- Bad times define good friends and bad seasons define good fans.
- Be good to others and better to yourself.
- Do Something Joel: A random act of kindness motivates others to do the same.
- 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 and profitability begins within.
- One hand washes the other.
- 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.
- Be thankful for what you have rather than bummed about 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.
- The 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.
- 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 but great traders know how to take a loss.
- Seeing old friends is good for the soul.
- Some of the wealthiest people 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.
- 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 dig 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 and problems as possibilities.
- 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, it’s often overwhelming and sometimes quite scary. There is no script to reference and historical precedents need not apply; these are indeed interesting times.
We sometimes say that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. That’s not some glib off-the-cuff quip, it’s awareness that will shape the present and pave a path for future generations.
We have an opportunity to affect our outcome, teach our children, and leave the world a better place than we found it. It won’t be easy, but anything worth having rarely is.
Fare ye well in 2011 and beyond. And from our family to yours, may peace be with you!
No positions in stocks mentioned.