In my late 20s, I was going through a painful breakup, and life was naturally miserable. I wanted to climb out of the hole that I had created for myself, but felt powerless. The rational and scientific part of me then decided to do an experiment on myself. I wanted to measure my misery. Was life really that bad? To measure properly, I also needed to measure the opposite. So I found an empty clear plastic box that had two compartments. I rolled up little pieces of tissue paper into tiny balls and thought of all the reasons why my life was miserable, and placed them into one compartment. Then I thought of all the reasons why I should be happy, and placed the tissue balls into the other compartment.
On the first day, there were about seven balls in the “miserable” compartment, and one ball in the “happy” compartment. I repeated this over the next few days. Each day, the number of misery balls decreased only a little per day, while the blessings balls increased more. The final result of the experiment was that the blessings increased to exceed the misery, and the best part was that I didn’t feel hopeless anymore. I reflect much to my own amusement, that the competitive side of me kept wanting to find more good balls to put in. It was as if when I took the time to consider both the blessings and the sufferings in a visual way, it helped me realize that life was still good, and it elevated my mood.
I have thought many times in the past how I could monetize this little discovery of mine (maybe someday!), and to make this into a product to help others when they were stuck like me. We get carried away sometimes by the immediate discomforts in our lives that we fail to see the possibilities and how good our life really is. I was thus pleasantly surprised when I first moved here to America to discover that the most important holiday is built around an entire tradition aptly called “Thanksgiving.” How great it is that the whole nation can pause for a day, to be with family, stuff themselves silly with turkey and pie, watch the game, and remember the wonderful blessings in their lives!
(As I am writing this, I am in Vancouver with my folks and daughter. We met up with my cousin who I have not seen in 15 years, as well as a family friend that we have not seen in 23 years! It was great times exchanging stories of old and new, and learning about all the crazy untold family secrets.)
There is much to be grateful for. The markets have stabilized and have gone up after the election. Markets tend to like stability and certainty. People who I have talked to in the industry are optimistic about the start of a Trump presidency, because it would mean less regulation for capital markets to grow, more spending on infrastructure, and more jobs. I am hopeful that the divide between the rich and the poor will narrow, and that the American dream will be in reach for all. I am also grateful that PhillipCapital is one of 58 FCMs left with active seg funds, and one out of 117 self-clearing broker dealers in the US. The numbers have been dwindling due to the high cost of regulation, increased capital requirements, and low interest rate environment. But we are still here, and will be for the long haul, and that is something to celebrate right?
I know in the age of uncertainty, it is easy to be consumed by fear and hide in the shadows of the glorious past. But we are not to be consumed. We are more than conquerors because we have been given this special gift of life. The best is still yet to be. (This is a slogan at a popular school in Singapore.) May this holiday period give you great joy as you count your blessings.
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