Good News and Bad News

Suppose I offered you some good news and some bad news.

The good news, in the words of Sufi poet Attar of Nishapur, “This too shall pass.” 

The bad news, “This too shall pass.”

Could be the market, politics, health, family, war and a job. Nothing is permanent. Neither good nor bad.

Success comes from learning from both success and adversity and taking greater skills to the next adventure. The key is to avoid being caught up in the moment. The moment is transient and being caught up reduces your ability to cope with the inevitable new and changed condition.

Like bad times, good times don’t last. Humility and gratitude arise from noticing the transient nature of good times. Humility and gratitude will serve you well in all aspects of life.

So how does that relate to today?

In politics, Donald Trump may be a colossal failure, a tyrant, a self-serving narcissist or another Abraham Lincoln. It is too soon to tell. Changing how a government behaves is the work of a generation.  Maybe two. Unless you are a grasshopper, eight weeks is not a generation. I expect when we look back at March 2017 from 2030 or so, every article attacking him and every article praising him will seem silly.

All decisions to change have a near term downside and so far people think that is important. The despair curve. The greater the task, the longer the despair. The greater the opposition from powerful forces, the longer still. Rational people should notice the fact and avoid judging prematurely.

In the stock market, effervescence seldom lasts.  A bottle of coke goes flat eventually and so does the market.  That is the norm and we should not attribute any magic to current conditions.

In the world at large, you have choices. Focus on the bad or not. It is easy to find the bad because bad sells newspapers or TV ads or whatever the current model may be. People prefer bad because it makes them feel better. Nothing bad happened to me so I’m good.

Look for the good. Prosperity and order are becoming more common in some places. There are great opportunities in Africa. China and India are just beginning to show their ability. Many of the states in the United States are flourishing. Opportunity is to be found if you look.

I suppose you could adopt the approach that a pessimist is never disappointed, but that fails. It carries no lesson to the future. Life is a giant classroom.  You can choose to do your homework and learn, or you can withdraw and complain. As complexity increases, many will choose to withdraw.

Some though, will look on the world with wonder and they will prosper. Stephen Hawking has proposed the idea that intelligence is just the ability to adapt to change. To understand meaning

Perhaps we should learn the skills required.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

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