Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2002 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The market rallied 378 points on October 15! Thank you very much...sort of. But I digress.
At the beginning of October, I watch helplessly with the rest of America, the stock market continued to head south and with the nightmares of the crash month of October and the anniversary of "Black Monday," I felt something had to be done.
So, on Tuesday, October 15, I took my book "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," braved the cold, the bomb-sniffing dogs and the Ak-47 armed guards and stationed myself at the corner of Wall St. and Broad to pass my message of "Finding The Bull Within The Bear" to sleepy-eyed traders.
Looking like a preacher with a personal communiqué from G-d, many investors cut a path that kept a good football field distance between me and my message. Meanwhile, others, who did seemed to carry a message from somebody or something shouted what seemed to be unrecognizable expressions of support. I really bonded with the guy who blamed bacteria on aliens from North Dakota.
But other stock exchange workers took Great Failures..., pledged to do their best "find the bull within the bear," and signed my petition to urge Merriam-Webster to amend their definition of failure to include, "a steppingstone to success."
The night before I appeared on CNNfn to tell those more wise than I how to turn around their fortunes. Seemingly not the brightest booking. I admit that as my lack of capital dramatizes clearly that I don't have a flying idea of how the market works financially, but I do know how success is attained. It is accomplished not so much by overcoming adversity as much as using it to move ahead.
Ask any scientist who learns from every failed experiment. Ask any basketball star who becomes a better shooter from hours of missed shots in daily practice sessions. Ask any Broadway actress who warbles off-key in weeks of rehearsals. It's all about putting in the time and learning from our mistakes. Why should the market or life itself be any different?
Now all that might not be enough to change the downward course of economic events and I would agree, IF, what happened next did not occur.
Just prior to the opening of the market, Stock Exchange chief, Richard Grasso, sauntered outside the exchange, I gather, to find out what the hub-bub was all about. Y'know, it's not every day that hundreds of inspiring books begin to show up on the famous financial floor. But that's exactly what was happening.
The next few moments may just go down in history as some of the greatest in economic history. Mr. Grasso and I huddled for what seemed like hours (but was probably more like seconds.). I asked him to establish the affirmative message from my book as the work ethic on the floor. That, as Albert Einstein once said, "Within every difficulty lies opportunity"; that failure is our most neglected resource and the market could find the answer to their conundrum wrapped in the conundrum itself.
If you've read my book or heard me hawking it on TV and radio you know I spoke with a host of celebrated successes in all fields; sports, science, politics, sociology, entertainment, etc. and they all shared one common belief: that from their failures and adversities, came lessons and possibilities that they would have never received on a smoother path.
I knew that Richard (we bonded) would understand. He's just that kind of guy. Just look at his smile when he stands atop the Exchange floor at the beginning of every session next to that day's bell ringer. Better yet, check out Grasso's winning smile even at the end of a losing session. I knew he would appreciate the benefits of failure and the market certainly had plenty of failure from which to mine prosperity.
So, did my passing out my book and my meeting with Grasso succeed? As reported modestly at the top of the column...yes.
Now I'm not saying that I was totally responsible for the upsurge in the Dow, but I'm going to take most of the credit. I had to leave New York the next day and the Dow fell 200 points. You do the math.
Now, how do we help keep the market from dipping dramatically again? Just a thought. If you all purchase "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful," you will discover that you too can find the bull within your own bear, and as a fringe benefit, I'll be able to afford to stay in New York even longer.
10/09/02: Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word