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Jewish World Review Oct. 9, 2002 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word

(A Lesson From "Black Monday") | You might say that the stock market did not fare too well this past September. And my guess is, other than a rare (temporary), 300 point blip, not too many brokers and traders are looking forward to October. There's a strong possibility that things will get worse. Certainly there's enough historical data to substantiate more bad news. October is Stock Market Crash month with the week of 10/14 being the15th anniversary of "Black Monday." Are you ready to par-tay?!

The largest stock-market drop in Wall Street history occurred on October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 508.32 points, losing 22.6% of its total value. That fall far surpassed the one-day loss of 12.9% that began the great stock market crash of 1929 and foreshadowed the Great Depression. The Dow's 1987 fall also triggered panic selling and similar drops in stock markets worldwide.

But there was an important lesson that came out of the '87 crash.

Investors who sold, took a bath. Those who held on to their stocks and continued a disciplined and systemic approach received the rewards. In fact, the bad news wouldn't have been all that bad, if (A RATHER LARGE "IF"), investors would have held on for the ride. In other words, those who stood strong would have discovered a wonderful Bull hiding inside that hideous ole Bear, trying to get out.

It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to stay the course when the walls are crumbling down while all about you compatriots are jumping ship. But that's the message brokers need to pass on to their clients. It's what makes heroes out of common men and women. It's the least they can do for their country. In my book, "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success" I spoke with a host of celebrated successes, including John Wooden, Erin Brockovich, Johnny Unitas, Jane Goodall, Teddy Pendergrass, Dr. French Anderson and many others. They all shared one common notion: that from their failures and adversities, came lessons and possibilities that they would have never received on a smoother path. As Albert Einstein once mused, "Within each difficulty, lies opportunity."

I claim no magic seed that will grow into the answer to the Market's woes. What I see is much more an attitudinal adjustment than a market correction. Results will follow. What I'd like to see is that those who are wheeling and dealing, buying and selling; those who are the soldiers on the floor, not blindly follow minute by minute trends, but instead, be leaders. Take every bit of bad news and unearth the lesson within. Become innovators. See those problems as rungs on the ladder, stepping stones, to success. Until answers are revealed, maintain a conviction that answers will be revealed.

It's not false hope nor denial at work here. It's the work ethic that begets in the bigger, better result. Though we may not get what we expect, we receive what we need. You see, failure has gotten a bad rap. There's just too much historical evidence in every part of our lives to think otherwise.

Steve Allen was fired at CBS and the door opened for a little job at NBC that became "The Tonight Show." Norm Pattiz was fired at a small L.A. television station and used what he had learned to create the billion dollar business of radio syndication. In 1928, by mistake, scientist Alexander Fleming left some bacteria samples he was working on by an open window. When he returned later he found that mold spores had contaminated one of the samples. Fleming noticed the mold was dissolving the bacteria. Fleming's botched experiments became the remedy for many an infection.

That failure became Penicillin. There's any number of other seemingly nasty moments that ended up providing something greater than what would have if there had been no disappointment.

Stuff happens, but if Allen, Pattiz or Fleming had chosen to just sit in the...stuff, instead of persevering, nothing would have developed except for a whole lot of resentment .

So, I implore those of you investing for yourself or investing for others, utilize Mr. Einstein's edict. Dig in your heels and dig for better ways. If I might add a rather grisly visual: find a way to slice open that big, bad Bear, let out the bodacious Bull within and use yesterday's failures as today's steppingstones to success.

(In his small part to help turn the economy around, Steve Young can be found on Wall Street, Tues, 10/15 (8-10AM) handing out FREE copies of his book, "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful," to stock brokers/traders. Website:

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success". His website is Comment by clicking here.

10/01/02: Merriam-Webster Needs To Rethink the "F" word
09/25/02: Held up in the passing lane ... and life's other positive curve balls
09/23/02: Shrinking the waist problem: Using Good Old American Failure To Lose Inches
09/17/02: Earth to Florida: No more elections
09/11/02: The humor will return. Just not yet
09/09/02: Bush coalition on fast track
08/30/02: N'Sync's Bass gets NASA okay: Former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn form boy band
08/21/02: Insider's a good thing
08/05/02: America goes Madison Ave.: The Selling of America
07/29/02: ROCKIN' RENO: The Newest Political Strategy For Filling The Coffers
07/23/02: Is Wall Street the enemy? No, but that's where the enemy hides
07/10/02: Cooking the books
06/27/02: Apocalypse now!?
06/14/02: Coulter for the defense?
05/21/02: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS SELF! NO ONE ELSE INJURED! Inept bomber is refused entrance into Paradise. 72 Virgins breathe sigh of relief
05/19/02: Hey world! How about trying the shoe on the other foot hypotheses
05/13/02: AM Radio and Enron
05/03/02: "Deep Throat" to Be Revealed ... But will America Swallow It!?
04/29/02: Britney Spears next in line to blast off into orbit
04/22/02: Former Liberal Seeks Conservative Book Deal
04/15/02: If you truly care about America, you'll read this column
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie
03/27/02: The Fightin' Righties
03/20/02: Woody Allen refuses to cast self...
03/18/02: The Realies
02/19/02: Greenspan Announces Lower (Television Network) Interest Rates
02/15/02: Ken Lay sells soul to the devil: Beelzebub loses life's savings
02/12/02: Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts
02/06/02: BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere
01/24/02: "I'M THE ONE!"
01/16/02: Goodbye "Rincoln Continental," we hardry knew ye
01/14/02: "But He Was Such A Good Boy" gene, found to be defective
01/04/02: PLAY BUZKASHI!
12/31/01: Come on war. You can do better!
12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2002, Steve Young