If predictions are like baseball, I’m bound to have a bad year in 2019, given how well things went the last time around. And given how my own interests, work life, and physical location have changed of late, I’m not entirely sure what might spring from this particular session at the keyboard.
But as I’ve noted in previous versions of this post (all 15 of them are linked at the bottom), I do these predictions in something of a fugue state – I don’t prepare in advance. I just sit down, stare at a blank page, and start to write.
Cleaning the dishes. Raking the leaves. Writing that email to a colleague. Preparing dinner. Visiting our parents. None of these take place without our intention and action. They don’t happen on their own. These parts of our lives are more or less under our control. Sure, some plans fail. Sometimes our desires go unfulfilled. Sometimes there are unintended consequences — things happen that we did not intend. But a good chunk of our life is about making things happen that we desire to see happen.
Then there are things that are out of our control but that happen on their own through a natural process no human being intends or designs. Breathing. The healing of a paper cut. Staying attached to the earth rather than floating off into space. We don’t have to lean into the curve as we go around the sun to keep the earth on orbit. No human being is in charge of making sure the sun comes up tomorrow. When it rains, we may be frustrated if we had hoped to go on a picnic in the park but there is no one to blame. And if it’s an especially beautiful day, we may thank God or simply be glad to be alive. But there is no person we owe thanks to.
Nearly all of what happens in business is too small and ordinary for Wall Street to care much about. Same goes for investors, business reporters and politicians. Even economists don’t pay much attention. What they see are the waves and weather on the surface of the world’s economic ocean, when what matters most is the mass of water below.