Being In The Present

However dark, foreboding or uncertain the future appears, it doesn’t affect us when we are in the true-present, the timeless space before now and all that follows.

In late 1985 I was married with one child, unemployed, had little money saved and started a hedge fund managing the funds of a small group of investors. Soon after, in the Spring of 1986, I became embroiled in an “insider trading” scandal. The related investigation made the newspapers and shadowed me everywhere. I was at risk of losing overwhelming sums for legal fees, fines and penalties as well as the prospect of going to prison and being permanently barred from running a hedge fund which was my only viable means of earning a living. The investigation lasted for three and a half years by which time I had two more children. Then I was indicted. The trial concluded in late spring of 1990. I was found guilty. After two years spent on appealing the verdict, I was sentenced to 18 months in prison, fined $1.8M and had the prospect, pending appeals, of losing my license to continue managing money. I had also up until then paid roughly $2M for legal representation. I went to prison in January 1994. In January, 2000 I lost the appeals and was permanently barred from managing other people’s money.

With the attention I needed to give the investigation and trial and the dire consequences hanging over my head for eight years, investors and friends were astonished that I was able to continue running my hedge fund successfully without a care. My view was that beyond managing the hedge fund I had nothing to worry about one day to the next. The circumstances were what they were and I would deal with them as they unfolded. I wasn’t dying of cancer; things could have always been worse.  In fact, I was grateful for my circumstances. I was happy. Simply, I was in the present and focused on whatever next was going to be in the now.