Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Define Success and make it your Big Picture



"To laugh much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded."

__________Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Emerson gives us this model to consider in defining success beyond the tenets of fame and fortune given us by our Consumer Society. People often find chasing money and the approval of others rings hollow once aquired. Particularly during an economic contraction like is taking place now. America is staring at a $700 billion bail out of a financial system gone awry.

I do not believe there is a pundit alive today who can tell us how this is going to turn out.

Uncertain times offer opportunities for great wealth creation for a few people like Warren Buffett, who already has more cash on hand than some 3rd World countries. But the majority of middle class Americans face financial ruin.

The whole way of life in America is about to change much more than a simple recession would cause. This is a catastrophic situation requiring leadership by a government that sat by and watched the problems escalate. Permission, patience and cooperation is being asked of a populace that is angry and tired of platitudes and lies from their politicians.

For instance, the War about WMD's that turned out to not exist. A fake war declared by a fake president (chads in FL)said documentary maker Michael Moore.

The lack of a plan for withdrawal. Enron undermined confidence in business leaders in general. Ken Lay, who contributed to Bush's election campaign, was the son of a preacher, was cause for cover ups and lies regarding campaign funding. Ken Lay often quoted the Scriptures in asking for the trust of his shareholders and employees who all suffered grievous financial injury by his actions. Crooked lobbyists who recently left jobs at the Whitehouse. The Savings and Loans debacle. Disillusion, discontent and outrage is the mood of an America with 40 days left for the Bush Administration. Does this all seem too cynical. After all, George is a Christian who prayed for guidance from his God before going ahead and bombing Iraq back into the Stone Age.

All this tells me to live day-by-day and to enjoy each day. We live in an uncertain world. What is happening in America and the World are beyond my ability to affect or fully understand. I am certain I am not alone in this helpless feeling. George Bush has lost all credibility as a leader and his potential replacement will not be able to perform a miracle to overcome the problems they will inherit in 40 days. Long term structural damage has been done to credit markets worldwide. There is no escaping this conclusion which also raises the specter of a Worldwide Depression!

I have a friend who taught me to believe we'll muddle through some how. Turns out even he is Bearish this time around.

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