Is bad really bad?

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Over the past few years I have noticed some good coming out of what I first thought was all bad.  When I lost my mom there was at first only loss, but then I recognized some good.  When my dad had a stroke it was at first so horrible, but then some good.  When we lost a mess of traders in 09/10 I felt sick to my stomach for months, but then found some good.  Lately I am starting to feel we now have the best core of young traders we have ever had.  Maybe none of that happens without the bad.  Are things really bad or just a wave we clear before the good?

As traders we experience so much failure.  Like baseball hitters our win rate can be lower than our success rate while overall still being outstanding in our craft.  Is that rip really bad or just a moment before something good?  Is that negative month really bad or just a month of valuable trading experience?  Is blowing up an FX account really bad or just a signal to get better training?  Is failing at swing trading really bad or just an experience providing information that that isn’t your best time frame as a trader?

Below are some examples of bad things before good. As I gain more market experience and get older I find it harder and harder to determine what really is bad.  Perhaps this thought can be helpful to traders as they experience losers.
-Just after becoming a new father, Chris Gardner’s wife left and, despite his circumstances, he fought to keep his son. Gardner earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program but became homeless when he could not make ends meet on his meager trainee salary. In just a few years time he was a top earner at Bear Sterns and eventually started his brokerage firm with $10,000. Today, Chris Gardner is the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. See Pursuit of Happiness

-Will Smith started his career as the MC of a hip-hop duo, which 1988 was awarded the first Grammy in the Rap category. Smith spent money carelessly at this time and underpaid his income taxes. The IRS eventually assessed a $2.8 million tax debt against Smith, took many of his possessions, and garnished his income. Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990, when the NBC signed him to a contract and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him.

-Abraham Lincoln, while best known as one of our greatest leaders, failed to win major political seats for nearly 30 years before he became president. Even just a few years before he was elected, Lincoln was defeated for the nomination of Vice President and twice for U.S. Senate.

-Walter Disney weathered several major financial setbacks in the late 1920s and 1930s, including losing rights to the popular Oswald the Lucky Rabbit character. His company was $4 million in debt by the early 1930s. With barely enough cash to finance the project, Disney released “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1938. The blockbuster movie sprung the company out of bankruptcy and bankrolled the building of a new Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif.

-After his forced resignation from Apple in 1985, Steve Jobs spent the following several years developing NeXT, a computer workstation for educators. But with a high price tag and reports of numerous bugs, sales never materialized. The company burned through hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Apple announced it would buy NeXT in 1996, bringing Jobs back to the company as interim CEO.

-In 1955, a newly built interstate bypassed Corbin, Ky. where Harland Sanders had cooked up chicken in his restaurant and motel for two decades. After selling the location and settling debts, Sanders was broke. By that time, he’d already started franchising his chicken restaurant concept. He took to the road full-time to sell franchises and within five years had 190 franchisees and 400 Kentucky Fried Chicken locations.

-Isaac Newton never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.

-In May of 1913, The Rite of Spring, a ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky, was premiered in Paris. Shocking audiences by breaking away from the classical norms, the premier involved one of the most famous classical music riots in history. Yet, it was this very work that changed the way composers in the 19th century thought about music and cemented his place in musical history.

-Akio Morita, founder of Sony Corporation, first product was an electric rice cooker. It only sold 100 cookers because it burned rice rather than cooking. Today, Sony is generating US$66 billion in revenue and ranked as the world’s 6th largest electronic and electrical company.

-In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused the Vietnam War draft and was stripped of his titles. When he returned in 1971, Joe Frazier delivered the first loss of his professional career. By 1973 Frazier had lost his title to George Foreman, but the rematch was keenly anticipated anyway. Ali won a unanimous decision. In 1974 Ali went on to beat Foreman and regain his title in the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight. In 1978 he won the world heavyweight title for a then-record third time.

-In 1968 Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M, created a high-quality, “low-tack” adhesive that was ideal for use with paper. After five years of trying to pitch it; he couldn’t find a marketable application for it. Art Fry, a colleague at 3M working in the product-development department, heard Silver and became interested. Fry sang in his church choir, and the paper bookmarks he used to mark his spot in the hymnal were constantly slipping out. He realized that Silver’s adhesive offered a solution. The samples he passed around the office were a hit, and 3M introduced the Post-it nationwide in 1980.


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