Forgetting Faux Stress Tests, Reclaiming Experience and Possibly Ourselves

Today was some day.  While I’m on vacation, the release of the European bank stress tests was a big enough event for me to at least keep tabs on while I was away…

And then came the leaks.  What was stressed.  What wasn’t stressed.  How much.  How little.  The reaction to the test was a given at that point.

So while I was sitting in the cottage reading “Flow,” I was struck by this sentence on Reclaiming Experience:

There is no way out of this predicament except for an individual to take things in hand personally.  If values and institutions no longer provide as supportive a framework as they once did, each person must use whatever tools are available to carve out a meaningful, enjoyable life.

This is about finding happiness wherever you are, no matter what your predicament.  There was nothing any of us could do about the construct of the stress tests, we just had to choose how to react and figure out how to trade in markets after it was announced.  There’s nothing we can do about unemployment numbers or Fed interest rate decisions or even if we get fired from our jobs.  Ours is simply to choose how we will respond.  Even sitting back and watching reactions is a reaction, after all.

To be honest, finding a sense of contentment (I won’t even go so far as to call it happiness because what is that, anyway?) and balance has been problematic for me over the past three or four years.  I don’t think I’m alone in saying that.  So I’ve been on a quest to reclaim a part of me, or perhaps a better version of me, even if it only existed for a fleeting moment.

So when my wife got this picture…

I was thrilled.  You see, I call this guy “The Dude.”  Do I know if he bowls and has an eye for carpets that pull a room together?  No.  But this is actually a formal photo of the man.  Usually he’s just in swim trunks and sunglasses, sometimes with a boogie board under an arm.  Riding around barefoot and shirtless, he epitomizes contentment.  He could spend his days shoveling poop when he’s not visiting friends and family in the hospital, nursing home or cemetery for all I know.  The point is, when you see him, whatever bad events may be going on in his life don’t get him down.  That was a choice.

We had been trying to get a picture of him for four years now.  This time we got him.  So maybe there’s hope for us. Maybe Paradise isn’t lost.  Maybe we can get back to that place in our minds we once knew and we felt good.

Before the Dark Times.  Before The Deleveraging…

At any rate, I’m choosing to believe I can get back there.



Filed under About me, government, Markets, Way Forward

5 responses to “Forgetting Faux Stress Tests, Reclaiming Experience and Possibly Ourselves

  1. Pingback: TEACHER’S STRESS IN RELATION TO JOB SATISFACTION | Uncategorized | Information about Careers

  2. Rom

    Thanks PP for the insight. The great thing about the markets is that it will always be here while life’s precious moments may not. Balance is elusive for many of us (and for me especially). In this business, it is easy to always look torward the future and to not see the present. While we know that the sun will always rise tomorrow, we rarely take the time to go and see it. So enjoy your time away and your vacation.

    Warm regards,


  3. Awesome that you are reading Flow. That is in my top 5 books. So many people could benefit from reading a book like that as a teenager. And the book, Cradle-to-Cradle.

    Global financial system are awash in their own post-graduate mathematical constructs. Surfing sounds like a better way to spend a vacation… or life.

  4. Andrew

    All those stress tests are just a big waste of time. Instead, lets just end the Federal Reserve.

    “There’s nothing we can do about unemployment numbers or Fed interest rate decisions or even if we get fired from our jobs.”

    There is something we do about the unemployment numbers: once again, end the Federal Reserve, end Keynesian economics and go back to free-market economics.

    The unemployment rate is roughly 20-25% and this happened by accident?

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