2012: Things I've Learned
Reflections and observations.
Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on our Buzz & Banter.
The last few years forever changed the socionomic landscape while seismically shifting our collective perception of what we do, how we do it, and whom we do it with.
Following the prolonged and perpetuated period of conspicuous consumption, An Age of Austerity has emerged, at least for many who remain mired in our increasingly asymmetric world.
Despite the percolating societal acrimony and emerging class warfare, we had to go through it to get through it and we’re going through it now, and that is on the margin constructive. Adversity has not only defined our collective character, it has brought out the best in those determined to effect positive change.
2012 was an eventful year — from heart surgeries and hurricanes to multiple moves and a marriage — but in the end, our experiences shape who we are and our decisions map where we’ll go. Through it all, we try to remember that the purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
This year, there were poignant and painful reminders of the vast difference between loss and loss, and it should never take something bad to make us realize how good we’ve got it.
With that in mind, I humbly share my cumulative list of lessons learned. Many relate to the markets, but most apply to life; in no particular order:
- Honesty, trust, and respect are the foundational constructs of any successful endeavor.
- Anxiety is simply 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.
- What goes around comes around.
- The greatest wisdom is often 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 just as 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.
- Profitability begins within.
- If you are unhappy with anything in your life remember you are the only one who can change it.
- One hand washes the other.
- Where you stand is a function of where you sit.
- 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 lament 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.
- The only difference between being early and being wrong is if you’re there when your ship comes in.
- 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 like animals.
- 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 rarely the same as those that enter it.
- The ability to add capacity into a downturn helps define 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 simply 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!
For those navigating the crosscurrents in real-time, it’s often overwhelming and sometimes scary. There is no script to reference and historical precedent need not apply; we indeed live in 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 an awareness that shapes the present and paves 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 2013 and beyond and from our family to yours, may peace be with you!
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Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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