The good Thing about being a Pessimist is that you are either right or you are pleasantly surprised.
Monthly Market Commentary: December 1, 2014
Jeremy McCarthy who is Group Director of Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Group asks his students, “What is worse, a negative employee or an apathetic one?”
McCarthy explains: “Of course, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, and it invariably sparks an interesting discussion. Some will recognize that an apathetic employee can be a drain on the system as they collect a paycheck but contribute minimally to the goals of the organization. Most of my students will say the negative employee is worse, citing, ‘one bad apple can spoil the bunch’ or other fears of the contagious nature of negativity.
But in their new book, The Upside of Your Darkside, psychology researchers Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener say, ‘you need an anxious person on your team,’ because they serve as the ‘canary in the mine shaft,’ alerting you to problems before your more optimistic team members even become aware of them. You need someone who will tell you when you are making a mistake.”
I really like McCarthy’s short essay because he displays a very positive attitude towards “negativity” instead of endorsing “negativity toward negativity.”
Christmas time is a time for reflection and for giving. Winston Churchill opined: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” My regular readers know that I and therefore, also the readers of this report, support the Child’s Dream Foundation, which is headquartered in Chiang Mai, Thailand (www.childsdream.org).
I am also very impressed by Proyecto Mirador (PM) (www.proyectomirador.org), which is a foundation set up by Richard and Dee Lawrence (of Overlook Investments Group fame). PM is a non-profit organisation that sells gold standard voluntary market carbon offsets to pay for the construction of Dos por Tres fuel-efficient stoves in rural Central America. Since 2004, PM has built more than 80,000 stoves in rural Honduran homes (12% penetration), from which 450,000 people have benefited. I am enclosing a recent letter I received from Barry Hoffner. Barry is the founder of the Caravan to Class organization (www.caravantoclass.org). So, in case you have the same problem I usually have around Christmas, which is to find a suitable gift for all your relatives and close friends, may I suggest you make a small contribution on their behalf to a charity of your choice or to one of the above-mentioned ones. In my case, thanks to the strong performance of my “Foundation Account” (+18% in 2014) I made a contribution on our behalf to all these organizations.
At the same time, as Christmas is a time for reflection, it must also be a time for humor and laughter. Bill Cosby opined that, “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it,” Chamfort wrote that, “The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed,” Seneca observed that, “It better befits a man to laugh at life than to lament it,” Ludwig Wittgenstein thought that, “Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world” whereas Ellen Glasgow pronounced that, “First I was an idealist (that was early - fools are born, not made...); next I was a realist; now I am a pessimist, and, by Jove! if things get much worse I'll become a humorist.”
Finally, I am also enclosing an account of a week in New York’s art world by Kenny Schachter.
I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas in company of your loved ones, excellent health, and a Happy New Year.