Victory Or Defeat

I was reading Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “Story of My Life.”


And there is this quote that I really like attributed to Kipling in it:

Victory or defeat: learn to accept both with equanimity since both are deceptions.

I just thought this is profound.  


We never really fully win or lose. 


Everything is on a spectrum. 


And where we think we are on that spectrum is often not even nearly correct. 


You think you won that one, but guess what someone else has outsmarted you and you don’t even know it yet. 


Also, wins can be easily followed by loses and vice versa.


Things can turn on a dime and who’s up becomes who’s down–as the wheel of life turns and turns again. 


Recognize that you don’t control everything–actually, the only thing you do control is how you react and behave.


Everything else is a test to teach you and help you grow. 


And as I heard from a speaker yesterday, “you can’t make up in space, what you have lost in time.”


Victory or defeat, both are deceptions. 


Only how you choose to act is the real win or lose. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Stability Comes Instability

Buddha 3

I remember hearing the phrase (not sure from where), “everything and the opposite.”


I think it refers to how within each thing in life are elements of the exact contrary and opposing force. 


Similar to the interactions of ying and yang, the world is an interplay of opposites–males and females, black and white, fire and water, ebb and flow, good and bad, optimism and pessimism, and so on. 


Everything has a point and it’s counterpoint.


It was interesting to me to see this concept expressed in terms of the financial markets (Wall Street Journal), where bull and bear contend in terms of our finances.


But what was even more fascinating was the notion from the economist, Hyman Minsky, who noted that the very dynamic between stability and instability was inherent within itself.


So for example, Minsky posits that a stable economic market leads to it’s very opposite, instability.


This happens because stability “leads to optimism, optimism leads to excessive risk-taking, and excessive risk-taking leads to instability” (and I imagine this works in reverse as well with instability-pessimism, retrenchment and limiting risk to stability once again).


Thus, success and hubris breeds failure, and similarly failure and repetitive trial and error/hard work results in success.


It is the interflow between ying and yang, the cycle of life, life and death (and rebirth), the seasons come and go, boom and bust, and ever other swinging of the pendulum being polar opposites that we experience. 


The article in the Journal is called “Don’t Fear The Bear Market,” I suppose because we can take comfort that what follows the bear is another bull. 


But the title sort of minimizes the corollary–Don’t (overly) rejoice in the bull–because you know what comes next.


Go cautiously and humbly through life’s swings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)