Financial markets, weather, and life all have seasons. We can't control markets or weather, but we can influence the seasons of our lives.
In the middle of a cold Northeast winter, seasons (and the fact that some are better than others are) have been on my mind. Weeks of freezing temperatures always put a damper on things, but I hope this serves as a reminder that we have more agency than we think.
You cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. Therein lies the opportunity to live an extraordinary life – the opportunity to change yourself.
- Jim Rohn
When I wake up in the morning, I put on a sweatshirt before sitting down at my desk. For a week or two at a time, I'll wear the same sweatshirt every day until I get tired of it, or it gets too dirty to continue wearing.
Around the same time I switch my sweatshirt, there are other changes going on in my life. After spending a few days writing a blog post, my focus will shift to drafting a new edition of this newsletter for the coming week. Similarly, different themes or focuses arise when I return from traveling or finish a big project at work.
These spurts of singular focus remind me of the weather. It's relatively the same for a few days at a time but fluctuates frequently. These short-term cycles stay top of mind for most people and the seasons slowly change in the background, getting steadily warming and then steadily colder again.
Life moves through similar seasons that outlast the cycles of short-term projects. One season could encompass training for a marathon, and another grieving the loss of a loved one. There will inevitably be positive and negative seasons in life, but the trend over time is more important than any local minimum or maximum.
The image above from Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, shows a simplified chart of long-term market cycles however, it also serves as an excellent illustration of life’s cycles, seasons, and trend.
The biggest difference between financial markets and our own lives is control. Markets are random, but we can steer the seasons and cycles of our lives towards a trend of growth over time. Regardless of your current season in life, you choose what the next cycle will hold. Each time you choose to take the next right step and commit to something difficult or empowering your trendline notches a few degrees upwards.
At the highest of highs and the lowest of lows your next decision still has the same impact. Seasons come and go but the opportunity to change yourself always remains.
What is defining my current cycle and season in life? Did I intentionally choose these commitments?
Are the people I surround myself with impacting my perception of the seasons in my life?
What can I commit to today that will help me trend in the right direction?
The Defining Decade - Meg Jay
An easy read about the importance of your 20s. Like a cross country flight, beginning your life a few degrees off track will leave you hundreds of miles from your destination.
17 Hours - Chris Nikic (ESPN Featured Story)
Chris used the mantra of becoming 1% better each day to become the world’s first Ironman finisher with Down’s Syndrome.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.