Unless you’ve chosen to be on a very remote island it would be difficult to elude the global credit crunch and bailout fiasco which has dominated the media. This is not the place to provide the financial theory behind this all but more to articulate some fleeting thoughts on surrounding issues.
One thing to mention early on is that many investment bankers and hedge fund managers are awesomely intelligent, have created wealth and opportunity for countless others and can be fantastically generous,
But this whole episode does take me back to the very first principle I ever learnt in finance – high risk can lead to very high returns (which it did for a while), and can potentially lead to disaster (which It has). It also takes me to another principle I have learnt via observation – that success is addictive and can make individuals both arrogant and oblivious.
Described by one commentator as ‘fantasists in porsches’ some of these guys illustrate the vulgarity of our society. All these risks for what? greater and greater returns, and why?
Too many people in our world define their lives through earnings, possessions and appearances; this can make people miserable as it impedes their ability to meet their fundamental needs. Fundamental needs? What are they, it’s a tough one but this is what me reckons:
Emotional? Being at ease with oneself and one’s situation, it’s always too easy to compare and want – ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife’.
Material? Okay, I have discussed the evils of pointlessly seeking ‘greater and greater returns’. However, to an extent money is definitely important, important for the whole ‘food, water and shelter’ thing, but also for fulfilling another need – the pursuance of passions.
I guess this can mean different things to different people and contradicting my last point, enjoying them can be free but for me it definitely means money - Arsenal FC and street dance (Danceworks: £6 members/£10 non-members)
Friends and family:
As for friends, not talking the fickle FaceBook type but those who we genuinely can trust, share with and look out for. And as for family, I needn’t say more…….
A feeling of competence and self-worth:
We all have gifts and most of us need a level of recognition, even a feeling of authenticity.
Masters of our own destinies:
A feeling of some control over our lives and our futures, an ability to pursue our needs (as opposed to our wants).
So here I am, preaching about happiness and fundamental needs? I’ve got it all sussed right, always as happy as a sand boy? How do I currently rate on the ‘happiness index’?
Well, I am still on a Ramadhan-high (for those readers who don’t know, this holy month has just ended in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset). This level of sacrifice does give one a new perspective and convinces me (not that I needed convincing) that spirituality (of any kind) goes a long way….
However, my luxuries have become my regular needs (one session with my trainer could feed a family in
Okay, so I’m nowhere near, but who in our world has stumbled upon the elusive secret to eternal happiness? That’s a hard one and I’m not sure anyone knows the answer, but I do want to refer back to my last blog re my work with Restless Beings, when describing the street children I encountered at Kamlapur train station (Dhaka, Bangladesh) I did describe how disgusted I was at their situation and I am not too sure how many ‘fundamental needs’ they meet, but something I did go on to say:
‘It is wrong to generalize the whole community as distressed, many of the kids seem happy with their own ‘habitat’ and are perhaps emotionally richer than many of us in the West.’
1) But some of these street kids would be so much happier if we could provide them with a rehab centre.
2) Whilst writing this, am pursuing another passion, namely X-factor (watching, not performing). My fave’s Laura, a cheeky Northerner with a real unique tone, and Daniel Evans (in particular his life story) will bring a tear to your eye every time (guaranteed)...