No No No No!

Should I plan as if I am going to live forever, or like I’m living on borrowed time? None of us really knows how long we will be allotted on this planet, but economic reality tugs at us to plan for something.

In business if you feel threatened every day by incoming storms, you look at everything short term. Liquidity is of the utmost value and you accept just about any offer thrown at you.

If you feel bulletproof, you make grandiose long term projections and arrogantly reject most propositions as unworthy of your big plan.

Glass Half Empty

Most of us play somewhere between these poles. An owner or manager needs to understand his risk tolerance but find associates who can argue him off his tendencies.

When I was growing up in the machinery business, I saw my father swing from highly optimistic to dreadfully fearful over the course of a week. His partner Aaron Pinkert’s role was to balance my dad’s moods and behavior. Both men understood the drill. My dad’s energy was offset by Aaron’s sobriety and his fear mollified by Aaron’s cheerful views. My father always had the deciding vote, but Aaron could talk him down from the ledge or remind him he needed a parachute.

But what if pessimism and negativity become your default position? What if darkness is all you see in the tunnel, and you know deep in your bones you are correct in your downbeat view of the future? Just look to the financial markets and read the bearish blogs, and you find a lot of smart people holding the “world is going to end soon” position. Gather your gold and your guns and find a defendable cave because the Visigoths are down the road.

That may be right. But before the conflagration, there may be a lot of money to be made and fun to be had. And that interim period could be a long time–maybe decades. If you go to the dark side you may survive the invasion, but look what you’ve given up.

One of the riddles of life: Do you feel safer if you know your glass is half empty?

Question:  If Romney wins the republican nomination, November’s election will be Harvard Law vs. Harvard Law. Does that bother you?

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11 thoughts on “No No No No!

  1. Val Zanchuk

    The half empty view is static. It doesn’t allow for creativity, invention, initiative, changes, or unexpected growth. It is the same concept as the one that states the economic pie is fixed in size and we have to redistribute wealth to be fair. I prefer the observation that the glass is not sized properly for the amount of liquid in it. This information allows you to objectively plan for modification or replacement of the vessel as the liquid level changes. You can maintain enthusiasm for all aspects of this plan.

  2. Todd Miller

    No. What bothers me is the obscene amounts of money necessary to pay for advertising in running for the presidency, Congress, and statewide office. This dynamic makes winners beholden to special interests and keeps a lot of highly-qualified individuals from running. With few exceptions, what we get from this corrupt process is a bunch of Type A scoundrels who are in a perpetual state of campaigning and care little about making policies that benefit average people. The answer is to prohibit or severely curtail the amount of money individuals, corporations and PACs can donate to campaigns and let candidates disseminate their messages through unpaid placements online, and in print and broadcast media. Unfortunately, with the Supreme Court’s rulings that permit the formation of SuperPACs, we’re headed in the wrong direction on this front.

  3. Ed Gnifkowski

    At 80, I’ve learned that to be passive is to waste away. A person has to be willing to fail in order to succeed. That does not mean that the full speed ahead thing is right but to keep pushing the envelope and trust in your self and your higher being.

  4. Matt Klecka

    In that scenario, I would surely vote for Romney. But does it bother me that each candidate is a Harvard Law grad? Absolutely. As my father always says, “I’m sick to death of Harvardites and Yalies telling me how to live my life!”.

  5. john Otto

    A centrist is better than a Socialist who is away all the time. Just think of what we could save in jet fuel!

    The last time I was scared about the future Jimmy Carter told us the bad economy was just the way it was and we just had to get use to it. I bought a house for $68,000 with a 16.5% Mortgage rate. Then
    came Reagan – you remember, the media portrayed him as stupid but the Hostage came home, and the economy roared – even with the Democrats spending money (yes even then) like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave.

    Anyway time to get off the soap box and back to work.

  6. Jim Wright

    The doomsayers have always been with us. If they are not predicting Jesus’ return, they are predicting we will run out of food. The Heaven’s Gate cult thought that a spaceship was hiding in the Hale-Bopp comet. The 1929 market crash convinced several wealthy people to end their lives. WWI was originally referred to as “the war to end all wars”. Global climate change will now destroy us sooner rather than later.

    There is a lot of money to be made in saying that the sky is falling. Just look at the movie industry – they crank out at least one end-of-the-world flick a year.

    Yet somehow, we humans manage to survive. I am an optimist, and I think we will not only survive, but thrive.

  7. Joe Landry


    Yes it bothers me greatly. Lawyers and salesman have had the leadership roles in this country for decades, and they have proven their incompetence. Here is a question for you: Why do we keep electing people with the same education and work experience, and then expect different results from them?????


  8. Bruce Renwick

    I agree with some of the others about folks claiming the end is near, whether it be an economic collapse or a global catastrophe, I have heard it all my life. Romney, Obama, center or Marxist the US economy will recover and rear its might head again. I do hope another great leader like Reagan or Clinton will emerge soon. For now, it is what it is.

  9. Dan

    1. The glass in the picture is 2/3 empty not 1/2.
    2. The cat needs a longer tongue or smaller head.
    3. A larger glass would be even more empty.


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