“If the game is up, do I want to keep doing this?” a former colleague said to me.
People on Wall Street can be so dramatic. An overdue market correction and not only is the sky falling but even the battle-hardened are collapsing under its weight.
“Will the market tank? Are we headed for another crash?” Desperately asking these unanswerable questions wasn’t helping him, but I knew what would.
“It’s not a matter of where the market is headed. It’s a matter of—Why are you there?”
“Bubbles burst, running bulls tire, and if you are there to make bank then you might need to adjust your expectations. Who knows, we might be headed back to 2008 levels and it might take you a decade longer than you imagined.”
His sigh could have melted the smiles of a billion children.
When I was based in Menlo Park in 2000 many people thought tech was dead FOREVER. It took years for the Nasdaq to recover yet the heartbeat of technology was always pounding.
“Are you saying I should be going into tech then?” my friend asked.
“No. No. That’s the opposite of what I’m saying.”
I didn’t leave tech and move to fixed income because I perceived that was a better bubble to float. I left tech because I was focused on a bigger question.
I wasn’t focused on whether I could make more money here or there in any given year. I was asking the only question that matters—What do I want my life to be?
What do I want to do every day? Who do I want to be surrounded by? What topics do I want dominating my thinking?
These questions transcend whether the market is up or down. They transcend whether your bonus is cut in half or doubled.
When you get to the end of your life, do you think your 2016 bonus will matter? All that matters is—Have you lived the life you dreamed?
“But what is that?” my old friend said to me. “What life do I dream to live? What truly matters to me?”
“Exactly, now you’re asking great questions.”