You ever notice how sometimes when things go bad, everything seems to go bad, and when things go well, everything seems to go well? I wrote that same opening line to a Movie Quote Thursday almost exactly four years ago in reaction to the stock market going bonkers for a few weeks, just like what it has done again in the last couple of weeks. I don’t retread Movie Quote Thursdays very often, but I’m making an exception due to the parallels between 2011 and today. Many leading indicators are very different than in 2011: earnings, unemployment, price to earnings ratios, and more. Several indicators are similar: GDP, short-term interest rates, fear and noise over upcoming presidential elections, and so on. But, similar to this time of the year four years ago, the markets are very volatile. Up crazy one day, down crazy the next. It’s kind of like life when you measure it day to day…
You can have days where your hair just works on the first try, the apple you eat on the drive to work is perfectly ripe, there’s no traffic and you make all the lights all day, your biggest client gives you a referral, the meeting you were dreading gets cancelled, everybody you encounter is in a good mood, you accomplish the major items on your to-do list, your dinner is timed perfectly, and you end the day feeling fresh and productive. How awesome are those?
But, then the next day, you find out that you picked out one blue and one black sock in the early morning darkness, you try to be extra quiet, and then stub your toe and scream loud enough to wake the baby. You leave extra early to not be late for an important meeting, then every lane you get in slows down and you frantically arrive just in time, only to find out that particular appointment was actually scheduled for the following day. You find the shortest line at the grocery store, only to have the coupon queen in front of you argue that the price of red seedless grapes should be $1.69 and not $1.89, and as you curse her and her .20 cents and your ability to pick the wrong line, you realize you left your wallet in the car. You rush home and prepare the chicken, put it in the oven, go for a quick run to get the stress out, and then return only to find out you forgot to actually turn the oven on.
One day up, the next down. When things go right, you feel fresh as teenager and when they go wrong, you feel like a numb, tired, over-the-hill gang member by the time you hit the pillow. Most days aren’t so extreme, but wild swings can happen sometimes.
In life, as in the stock market, it’s best to not give in to those occasional, wild, day-to-day swings. When the ups and downs take us out of our normal rhythms, it’s okay to take a step back, reassess and make changes if needed, but generally, we need to look beyond the short-term noise and continue down the path. For most of us, that path has been secured by proper planning, consistent execution and long-term vision. There are always bumps in the road, especially on the road of life, but worrying about each step and each bump detracts from the experience. It certainly limits the views. Ups and downs are the way of life. Some days feel better than others, but to be in the game is what matters.
With that in mind, please have a safe, calm, and happy Labor Day weekend.
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” – Bill Murray in Groundhog Day
“Money itself isn’t lost or made. It’s simply transferred from one perspective to another.” – Michael Douglas in Wall Street
“Completely unpredictable.” – Michael Ironside in Top Gun
“There is no normal life, there’s just life. You live it.” – Val Kilmer in Tombstone