Apr

11

 There are times that financial markets can make you feel like a mythological character. One in particular that I think of when things are going particularly difficult is Sisyphus .

Sisyphus was a king who promoted navigation and commerce, but was avaricious and deceitful in his killing of travelers and guests — in violation of the laws of hospitality. As a punishment from the gods for his trickery, he was sent to the underworld and was compelled to roll a huge rock up a steep hill, but before he reached the top of the hill, the rock always escaped him and he had to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for Sisyphus due to the mortal's hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus.

However if we end there, and focus exclusively on Sisyphus, there in fact would be no reason to get up in the morning and climb out of bed to face the challenges of the day: Fast forward to modern times and we are introduced to a Sisyphean character of a different sort and one who has a happy ending.

Enter Daniel Ruettiger, one of my all time favorite characters. Daniel is the inspiration for the movie Rudy . Rudy is the classic story of a nobody from nowhere without exceptional intellect and with apparently no physical talent but with a lifelong dream to attend the University of Notre Dame.

He has a few things that stand in his way. He comes from a middle class family in Joliet Ill., the third of 14 children. He is also 5'7" weighs 165 lbs., has no money and suffers from dyslexia. After a stint in the Navy, he attends Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend In.. After two years and three rejections he is finally accepted at the University of Notre Dame. He works his way onto the football scout team and in the final game of his senior year he gets to dress for the game, makes one tackle and is carried off the field by his teammates. Not even Joe Montana was accorded such an honor.

Daniel's life includes all the aspects of a captivating story. It has pathos, tragedy, death, discouragement perseverance and ultimate victory. It also provides inspiration for all of us who tend to get absorbed in our own challenges and problems, and serves as a reminder that most of success in life is showing up for work every day and "pounding the rock". And if we stay the course and never yield and keep swinging, eventually the rock will yield and break up and victory will be had. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if we do not quit and no matter the challenge, success is far closer than we think it is.


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