Todd Harrison: We've been moving so fast, let's just stand still
The Nasdaq clocked in at 3,000 points this week for the first time since Dec. 11, 2000.
Since that milestone more than a decade ago, we've seen booms and busts in real estate, China, crude and alternative energy, and we've witnessed corporate malfeasance, domestic terrorism, insider trading and the deterioration of the middle class. Americans have been wedged between the lifestyles of the rich and a struggle to exist. And capitalism - once worn as a badge of honor - is tainted with the perception of profiteering.
There was also tremendous innovation: Social media emerged, genes were sequenced, Facebook and Google were born, Apple rose like a phoenix, and Twitter captured our collective imagination in 140 characters or less. They say the greatest opportunities are born from the most profound obstacles, and that indeed proved true once again.
As we tickle this historical milestone - by the way, the Dow also touched a level it hasn't seen since before the financial crisis - it provides an opportunity for us to pause and reflect. What have we learned in the last 11 years? Is it the difference between net worth and self-worth and the perspective that time is the most precious commodity? Or are we scarred and scorned, reticent to believe that our best days remain ahead?
The takeaway - for me, at least - is that the answers should remain independent of our financial condition. As soon as we peg our happiness to outside influences, be it money, politics or geopolitical conditions, we've lost our most important assets: free will, innovation and the ability to be proactive.
If society is truly the sum of the parts, then we hold the future in our hands - and that is a trade we should all be willing to make.
Todd Harrison is the author of "The Other Side of Wall Street" and the founder and CEO of Minyanville, an Emmy Award-winning financial media platform. Read him daily at www.minyanville.com.