One of my favorite stories of all-time is from University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant used to greet all of his Freshman players with the same question on the first day of practice (so the story goes):
“Have you called your folks yet to thank them?” Most of the recruits returned a puzzled stare. Coach Bryant followed up this by telling his players, “No one ever got to this level without the help of others. Call your folks. Thank them.”
I’ve never forgotten that simple story because it reverberates through much of life. No one ever achieved anything without the help of others. We don’t live on our own. We don’t learn on our own. We don’t succeed on our own. When people help you accomplish something (no matter how simple it might be), they deserve the simplest of recognition – thanks. And I like to think, if nothing else, that what we’re creating at pragcap is a great learning environment. I don’t pretend to know everything. And I make tons of mistakes. But I also learn from the mistakes through the help of what I believe is the most intelligent and thoughtful readership in the entire financial blogosphere.
I am hard on the readers here sometimes. But that’s not because I am arrogant, cruel or spiteful. It’s because I believe that many of the topics we discuss here are of the utmost importance. And when I take the time to write something thoughtful I offer the comments section to the reader as a place where they can their provide their own thoughtful comments (even if they vigorously disagree!). That’s healthy and productive. In the end, we are all winners if we can increase the overall knowledge and understanding of those around us. And in a small way, this helps us to overcome the enormous burdens that smother the global economy (emphasis on small).
This is complex and important stuff we discuss on a daily basis. We certainly don’t find all of the answers and we run into a lot of roadblocks and disagreement along the way. Famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden was fond of saying that it was the journey that he found pleasure in rather than the destination (I must have sports on the mind!). And I view this site as a place where we’re all able to walk together in a journey that hopefully leads to some greater destination. I am enjoying the journey for now and I hope you are also. I owe that in large part to the readers. It’s an incredible learning environment and remains a place where respectful and thoughtful discourse is helping to shed light on some overwhelmingly confusing subjects.
So not to belabor the point. Thanks.