IT’S OFFICIAL: Banks In Europe May Now Seize Deposits To Cover Their Gambling Losses; CITI: Cyprus Set A Bad Precedent, And Is Long-Term Negative For The Euro

IT’S OFFICIAL: Banks In Europe May Now Seize Deposits To Cover Their Gambling Losses

Henry Blodget | Mar. 25, 2013, 4:38 AM | 1,761 | 12

As expected, Cyprus and the EU reached a new late-night bailout deal last night that will reduce the chance that Cyprus’s financial system and economy will completely implode. The new deal is better than the last deal in one key respect: Deposits under 100,000 euros will be protected. That’s very important. Those deposits were ostensibly “insured.” To seize them, the way the last bailout deal would have, would have been grossly unfair and would have set a truly alarming precedent. Now, small depositors in European banks can breathe more easily. At least in this case of gross malpractice on the part of reckless bank managers, their life savings have been preserved. Alas, the good news ends there.

Although deposits under 100,000 euros will be spared, deposits over 100,000 euros will be seized and subjected to an as-yet undetermined haircut–with the confiscated money going to bail out the gambling losses of the aforementioned reckless idiots who run some of Cyprus’s banks. This seizure, needless to say, will dampen the enthusiasm of rich depositors for keeping money in banks that get themselves into financial trouble. And because many, many banks in Europe have gotten themselves into financial trouble, this will create a general state of unease among rich depositors throughout the Eurozone. And it should wig out some bank lenders, as well. After all, never before in the history of this global financial crisis has a major banking system allowed depositors to lose money, no matter how reckless and stupid and greedy their bank managers have been. And only rarely have bank lenders–those who hold bank bonds–been asked to pony up. In this case, however, the depositors will lose money. Perhaps a lot of money. And if there had been big bank debtholders in Cyprus, they probably would have been socked with losses, too.

It’s possible that everyone will just laugh off Cyprus, viewing it as an exceptional one-off. After all, the Cyprus banking system was notorious for being the offshore money-laundering arm of many Russian oligarchs, so many folks will likely view this asset seizure as a case of “just desserts.”  But this optimistic view of the Cyprus horrorshow overlooks one key fact: The main reason that Cyprus depositors will lose their cash is because it has become politically difficult (impossible?) for leaders in Germany and other rich European countries to bail out their brethren in the “periphery” without taking many pounds of flesh. And it is that precedent, in addition to the fate of big depositors in Cyprus, that should spook Europe’s big bank depositors and lenders. If Germany is done bailing out countries and banks without having those countries and banks cover some of the cost, it’s not clear why Germany will relent next time Spain, Italy, Greece, and other countries in near-desperately bad financial shape come rushing to the EU with their hands out. Read more of this post

Valuation-Driven Profit Transfer Among Corporate Segments; the desire to achieve higher equity valuations induces conglomerates to manipulate their segment earnings; simple sum-of-the-parts valuation with multiples tends to overestimate the enterprise values for conglomerates

Valuation-Driven Profit Transfer Among Corporate Segments

Haifeng You Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) – Department of Accounting

March 11, 2013

Abstract: 
This paper investigates whether the desire to achieve higher equity valuations induces conglomerates to manipulate their segment earnings. I extend the Stein (1989) model to a multi-segment setting and show that conglomerates have incentives to transfer profits from segments operating in industries with lower valuation multiples to those with higher multiples, even if the market is not fooled in equilibrium. If companies engage in such manipulation, segments with relatively high (low) valuations should report abnormally high (low) profits. The empirical tests confirm this prediction and further show that the relation is stronger for firms with more dispersed segment valuations. Finally, this paper also demonstrates that the simple sum-of-the-parts valuation with multiples tends to overestimate the enterprise values for conglomerates, and the measurement errors increase with segment valuation dispersions.

China Will Have 300 Million Android Users by the End of 2013 (INFOGRAPHIC)

China Will Have 300 Million Android Users by the End of 2013 (INFOGRAPHIC)

Mar 25, 2013 at 09:58 AM by Steven Millward, in GamingMobile
Let’s start Monday morning with some big numbers. Now that smartphones account for73.2 percent of all mobiles sold in China, and with many locals opting for Android devices across a variety of price-points, it’s not too big a surprise that China is an Android nation. As neatly outlined in this brand-new infographic, China had 224 million Android users at the end of last year (already three times larger than the number of US fandroids), and is on course for 300 million by the end of this year.
Read more of this post

Selling-Price Estimates in Revenue Recognition and Earnings Informativeness

Selling-Price Estimates in Revenue Recognition and Earnings Informativeness

Anup Srivastava Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

March 15, 2013
Review of Accounting Studies, Forthcoming 

Abstract: 
Revenue is one of the largest and most value-relevant items in firms’ financial statements. Based on the “realizable” and the “earned” criteria of SFAC No. 5 (FASB 1984), revenues should reflect both selling price and timing of delivery. Of those two aspects, selling-price estimates are required for revenue recognition when standalone selling prices for products and services are not available. In this study, I examine the effects of such selling-price estimates on the contracting and informational roles of financial statements. Particularly, I examine the setting of SOP 97-2 (AICPA 1997), which removed software firms’ flexibility to recognize revenues using selling-price estimates. I find that the extent to which firms use revenue accruals to manage earnings declined after SOP 97-2 was implemented. Yet, the overall frequency of earnings management did not decline, indicating that firms shift to alternative modes of earnings management when constrained from using revenue estimates to manage earnings. In addition, I find that the value relevant information contained in earnings declined post-SOP 97-2 implementation. Yet, this information was not entirely lost from financial statements, because the deferred-revenue accounts now contain more value-relevant information than before, and a firm’s topline performance is now better ascertained by analyzing both revenue and deferred-revenue accounts. This study shows that SOP 97-2 implementation did not improve the contracting role of earnings; however, its implementation partly shifted the informational role of financial statements from income-statement to balance-sheet components.

One lump or two? Indonesian “sugar samurai” serve foreigners sparingly

Published: Monday March 25, 2013 MYT 11:19:00 AM

One lump or two? Indonesian “sugar samurai” serve foreigners sparingly

JAKARTA: White sugar prices hit a record in Indonesia last summer and further spikes are expected this year even though the world is awash with the sweetener. The main cause, say critics, is a small group of traders known in the industry as sugar samurai.

There is no evidence the samurai are doing anything illegal but they buy most of the crop through an auction system that works in their favor, say the critics, who include industry officials, government advisers and other traders. Some of the purported samurai firms deny the auctions are unfair.

The system, which some samurai helped establish, gives them the right to buy sugar at the expense of other traders under certain conditions. The samurai also run most distribution and retail networks, giving them almost total control over the market and the retail price of sugar, the critics add.

That has made it virtually impossible for foreign commodity firms or other local players to enter one of Southeast Asia’s largest white sugar markets, said Indonesia’s commission for the supervision of business competition, an independent body that looks into unfair and monopolistic business practices. Read more of this post

Mango Mirroring Zara Challenges Europe’s Wealthiest Man; Mango’s revenue hit 1.41 billion euros in 2011; Isak Andic is the founder, chairman, and owner of almost 100 percent of Mango

Mango Mirroring Zara Challenges Europe’s Wealthiest Man

Two years ago, Spanish retailer Mango could barely convince its employees to wear its dresses, skirts, and blouses, which many workers — and customers — thought were too formal.

Today, Mango has ditched the glitz in favor of more casual attire like that from Spanish rival Inditex SA (ITX), the world’s biggest seller of apparel and owner of the Zara brand. The change has helped Mango outpace Inditex in Spain’s 16.2 billion- euro ($21 billion) clothing market.

“We had gone way too far with our focus on clothes for parties and events,” said Enric Casi, general manager of the Barcelona-based retailer. “Not even our employees wore Mango.”

The casual push wasn’t the only lesson Mango took from Arteixo, Spain-based Inditex as it sought to address a decline in profit of almost 60 percent in the two years through 2011. That year, Isak Andic, the founder, chairman, and owner of almost 100 percent of the company, stepped back into a stronger day-to-day management role to help reformulate strategy.

Since then, Mango says, the chain has cut prices by about 20 percent across the board, bringing them closer to Zara’s. And the company has stepped up expansion outside of crisis-weary Spain and placed more emphasis on the fast-fashion model that has helped Inditex prosper. Read more of this post

China’s swap market is signaling interest-rate increases for the first time since 2011 after inflation accelerated to a 10-month high and the housing market defied government cooling efforts.

Zhou on High Alert Prompts Swaps PBOC Rise Signal

China’s swap market is signaling interest-rate increases for the first time since 2011 after inflation accelerated to a 10-month high and the housing market defied government cooling efforts.

Two-year contracts that exchange the People’s Bank of China’s 3 percent savings benchmark for a fixed payment rose eight basis points this month to 3.03 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The swap had been lower than the one-year PBOC deposit rate for 16 months. Of the 27 economists surveyed this month by Bloomberg, 13 predicted higher rates in 2013, with Credit Agricole CIB, Daiwa Capital Markets and Nomura Holdings Inc. forecasting two increases.

PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on March 13 the government should be on “high alert” after consumer prices jumped a more-than-forecast 3.2 percent in February. Data last week showed new home prices last month posted the broadest advance since December 2011. China’s 10-year bond yield is 38 basis points higher than inflation, compared with a similar U.S. real yield of minus 8 basis points.

“The rising inflation trend and upward pressure on home prices will continue, forcing the central bank to tighten,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist with Credit Agricole in Hong Kong. “Main lending rates will be hiked to reduce inflation expectations.”

Inflation will probably quicken to 4 percent in the second half, a level that will “really concern” the central bank, said Kowalczyk, who accurately predicted the February consumer- price gain. He forecasts two deposit rate increases after June to 3.5 percent to protect returns on savings. Read more of this post

Free Tires for Malaysian Cabs Expose Budget Risk Before Vote; “It’s not in a proper way, it’s like rasuah,” Ramachandran said, using the Malay word for bribery. “I want to change the government and see what happens for the next five years.”

Free Tires for Malaysian Cabs Expose Budget Risk as Vote Looms

Malaysians like cab driver Ramakrishnan Ramachandran are getting used to handouts from the government as the next election looms. The budget deficit is set to show the strain regardless of who wins the vote.

From rebates for smartphones to household subsidies for electricity and higher wages for civil servants, Prime Minister Najib Razak has gone on a spending binge to woo voters ahead of polls that must be held by late June. In 2012, he announced a 35 million ringgit ($11 million) voucher program to help taxi drivers pay for new tires.

“The government simply throws the money,” Ramachandran, 54, said as he waited for passengers outside a Kuala Lumpur shopping mall, adding that the 520 ringgit he received for the wheels won’t deter him from voting for the opposition for the first time. “Whatever the government gives, I take.”

The opposition, attempting to break the ruling coalition’s hold of more than five decades on power, is also prepared to be generous as it promises free university education, lower fuel prices and the elimination of toll fees. Any fiscal deterioration from persistent largesse could raise the risk of capital outflows should the U.S. shift to tightening monetary policy, triggering a reversal in the flood of cash into emerging markets in recent years.

“No one will be overly alarmed by whether Malaysia can pay for its spending now but its fiscal trajectory is not a pretty thing,” said Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. economist who has covered Malaysia for seven years. “Should investors start pulling money out of emerging markets, Malaysia is not at the top of the hit list but the sustainability of the fiscal situation is a concern for longer- term investors.” Read more of this post

Norway Becomes Petro-State as Investors Balk at Hidden AAA Risks

Norway Becomes Petro-State as Investors Balk at Hidden AAA Risks

Norway, home to the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, is betting it can afford to ignore investor outrage.

After shocking global credit markets in 2011 by pulling support from the once AAA and now junk-rated lender Eksportfinans ASA, the government unveiled plans in January to cut tariffs on gas transport by 90 percent, sapping income for those funding the venture by as much as $7 billion.

Investors are now asking themselves how much risk they’re willing to accept to gain access to western Europe’s biggest oil and gas reserves. And while Norway boasts a stable AAA rating and the world’s smallest default risk, the government’s decision to ride roughshod over investors is starting to resemble actions seen in less stable democracies such as Venezuela and Russia.

The planned tariff cut “undermines Norway’s reputation as a stable and predictable country for investments,” Solveig Gas Norway AS and Silex Gas Norway AS, two of the companies backing the pipeline network that charges the tariffs, Gassled, said in a March 15 letter. It “represents an unauthorized intervention in the infrastructure owners’ legally protected rights and expectations,” they said. Read more of this post

Hong Kong’s Real-Estate Brokers Feel the Chill; Hong Kong is home to more than 6,000 real estate offices, whose numbers eclipse even that of the city’s 7-Elevens and McDonald’s

March 25, 2013, 6:24 AM

Hong Kong’s Real-Estate Brokers Feel the Chill

The armies of young real-estate agents that flood Hong Kong’s shopping malls on weekends could see their ranks thinning out in the coming months, the chief analyst at Hong Kong’s largest listed real-estate broker says.

Thanks to the government’s latest round of cooling measures, transactions across the city have dropped dramatically, Midland Realty’s Buggle Lau said Thursday. Since late February, when the government doubled the stamp duty on most property purchases, transactions on the secondary market at the city’s 10 most popular housing estates have plummeted to as few as four or five on recent weekends, Mr. Lau said. By contrast, a year ago, there were closer to 100 transactions per weekend, he said.

As property prices have ballooned by 120% in recent years, Hong Kong’s real-estate offices have become even more common a sight than the city’s 7-Elevens and McDonalds, as thousands of salesmen have jumped in on the bonanza. There are more than 6,000 such offices in Hong Kong, with 300 of them opening their doors in just the past year. Read more of this post

Singapore’s ex-HDB CEO: During my time, HDB flats were 3X median annual salary

ex-HDB CEO: During my time, HDB flats were 3X median annual salary

March 24th, 2013 |  Author: Editorial

ex-HDB CEO, Dr Liu Thai Ker

At a lecture on the Singapore Public Housing Story, organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities on 20 Mar, Dr Liu Thai Ker, who was the ex-CEO of HDB and URA, made the call for Public Housing to return to the basics. Dr Liu said the end goal should be affordability. Dr Liu’s call was also backed by former Senior Minister of State and HDB Chairman Aline Wong, who reiterated that the purpose of public housing is to “provide a shelter over everybody’s heads”. Dr Aline Wong said, “The asset part comes along because … property appreciates over a long time. But that is not our primary objective. People make money, accumulate savings … but we cannot promise that they will not lose (value in their property), depending on the property cycle.” Dr Liu said, “Maybe we should go back to the basics in the sense that we should not, say, emulate condominiums — that require more expensive materials, extra this, extra that … go back to basics, keep housing prices affordable, let residents embellish the houses, embellish the interiors.” He reiterated that the “core mission” of the HDB is to “provide affordable housing”. “And in the process of providing that, we try to use whatever budget available to create the biggest possible floor area for the people and with minimum frills, minimum decorations and so on. By minimum decorations, it doesn’t mean that the buildings are not beautiful … if the buildings are well-proportioned, they are beautiful.”

Dr Liu added, “When I was CEO, we looked at the per capita GDP (gross domestic product) growth, the sector of people eligible for public housing, their income … and then matching that to our selling price and to our flat sizes. It was really a very detailed study.” Dr Liu noted that in those days, flats typically cost about three years of an owner’s annual salary. Read more of this post

Prices of Chinese medicine in Yunnan province have increased over 10-fold after four years of persistent drought

High heat and speculation set Chinese medicine prices ablaze

Staff Reporter  2013-03-24

Prices of Chinese medicine in Yunnan province have increased over 10-fold after four years of persistent drought, which has severely limited the scale of Chinese herb and tea production. Increasing demand for the disappearing herbs has only added upward pressure.

Low rainfall, high temperatures and strong wind in the spring have affected the production output of multiple tea-producing cities, especially Pu’er and Dali. Prices of green tea, pu’er tea and dianhong black tea have surged by 10%, 20% and 30% respectively since last spring, according to Chinese-language Henan Economic News.

The droughts have also driven up the prices of Chinese medicines such as dong quai, pseudo ginseng and other plants that belong to the genus panax. Dong quai fetched a market price of 34 yuan (US$5.4) a kg in Aug. 2012 but now goes for 90 yuan (US$14). The pseudo ginseng also doubled from 300-400 yuan (US$48-64) a kg in 2012 to 700-800 yuan (US$112-128) this year. Other panax plants have increased by 40% to around 400 yuan (US$64) a kg.

Chinese medicine businesses said speculators in recent years have caused herb prices to fluctuate and are using some medicines as their investments tools. Some Chinese medicines practitioners said the value of a prescription has gone up from a dozen yuan a few years ago to up to 400-500 yuan (US$64-80) now. Read more of this post

Former PetroChina chairman detained for corruption: Boxun

Former PetroChina chairman detained for corruption: Boxun

Staff Reporter 2013-03-24

Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of PetroChina, China’s biggest oil producer, has been detained by central discipline authorities for corruption, reports Boxun, a citizen journalism website that often makes claims that are difficult to prove.

According to Boxun, a “reliable source” inside the Commission for Discipline Inspection claims that Jiang, who was also the former general manager of PetroChina’s state-owned parent China National Petroleum Corporation and a former vice governor of Qinghai province, was placed under “double regulation” shortly after stepping down as PetroChina chairman last week.

Under the Communist Party’s investigation ordinance, double regulation is one of several strategies disciplinary authorities may employ when conducting an investigation into a government official, and requires that the subject appear at a specified time and location to answer allegations of misconduct.

The source added that the chairman of state-owned oil and gas giant Sinopec, Fu Chengyu, and the company’s general manager, Wang Tianpu, are also being targeted by authorities for corruption. Read more of this post

“Poison rice incidents” have led to surge in closures of 70% of rice mills in China’s Hunan province; “毒大米”事件引发湖南米厂停工潮

“毒大米”事件引发湖南米厂停工潮

担忧后期卖粮难,部分农民考虑弃种

2013-03-25   作者:记者 周勉 白田田/长沙 北京报道  来源:经济参考报

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全国最大的水稻主产区湖南省正遭受“毒大米”事件影响。《经济参考报》记者近日调查了解到,受不久前关于湖南上万吨大米重金属镉含量超标的事件影响,湖南省米厂出现“停工潮”,在湖南最大的米市“兰溪米市”,当地企业反映已有70%的米厂停工。 Read more of this post

“Egg-house” resident finds his new home outside Beijing

“Egg-house” resident finds his new home outside Beijing

2013-03-23 06:10:01 GMT2013-03-23 14:10:01(Beijing Time)  Global Times

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After years of living in humbler dwellings, Dai Haifei, 27, finally owns his own house, joining tens of millions of Chinese who are paying off mortgages. But Dai is not your average new homeowner. Back in 2010, he drew headlines nationwide for living in an egg-shaped house of his own design, a move which many took to be a silent protest against skyrocketing housing prices, but Dai says that’s all nonsense.

For many, Dai’s ovular abode, and its relative the “capsule apartment,” represented the struggle that the average person on the lower strata of society must face, and the memory that his famed homestead has imprinted on millions of Chinese has long outlived the two months he actually lived there. Read more of this post

The end of Indian IT staffing as we know it; India’s IT outsourcers are promoting “mini CEOs” capable of running businesses on their own, while trimming down on the hordes of entry-level computer coders they normally hire as they try to squeeze more profits out of their staff.

Analysis: The end of Indian IT staffing as we know it

By Harichandan Arakali and Tony Munroe 5:22pm EDT

BANGALORE/MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s IT outsourcers are promoting “mini CEOs” capable of running businesses on their own, while trimming down on the hordes of entry-level computer coders they normally hire as they try to squeeze more profits out of their staff.

The shift by Infosys Ltd and others is symptomatic of a maturing industry that wants more revenue from its own intellectual property instead of providing only labor-intensive, lower-margin information technology and back-office services.

For young graduates who see the $108 billion IT industry as a sure pathway to modern India’s growing middle class, the transformation is unsettling. Read more of this post

Warren East is leaving UK tech success story ARM and Simon Segars is taking over. “Failing on the way towards success is seen there as a credible path to success. Failing once isn’t something that dooms you forever.”

Sunday Interview: ARM’s Warren East and Simon Segars

Warren East is leaving UK tech success story ARM and Simon Segars is taking over. They speak to Andrew Cave about how the firm will stay ahead in chip design

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Warren East (L) is stepping down as chief executive at ARM after 12 years at the helm. His replacement is to be Simon Segars (R), who is moving up from president and had been at ARM for even longer than East.

By Andrew Cave

9:30PM GMT 23 Mar 2013

Last Tuesday, staff and shareholders of ARM Holdings received a surprise. Warren East the chief executive, announced that he was stepping down after 12 years running the British technology darling whose computer chip designs are in almost all of the world’s mobile phones.

His replacement is to be Simon Segars, who is moving up from president and had been at ARM for even longer than East.

Segars was employee number 16 when he arrived just four months after the company was spun out from Acorn Computers in November 1990.

“The day I joined, my boss was soldering together a computer for me to use,” he laughs. “The company had only just been formed.” Read more of this post

The Index Liquidity Riddle: More Is Less

Updated March 22, 2013, 1:27 p.m. ET

The Index Liquidity Riddle: More Is Less

By JUSTIN LAHART

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You would think that the whole point of a stock index is to be, well, an index of the stock market’s performance.

But thanks to the popularity of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, stock indexes have in recent years been doing double duty as investment vehicles. At the same time, there have been subtle but important changes in the way indexes are constructed.

Bottom line: The indexes aren’t measuring exactly what they used to.

It is a lot easier to manage an ETF if the stocks that underlie it are easily traded. If, instead, the stocks are illiquid, there is a risk their prices will get artificially inflated when money flows into the ETF. The opposite can happen when money flows out. Read more of this post

While many business people see the economy as badly performing and badly managed, our econocrats see it as having performed quite well and better than could have been expected. Why such radically different perspectives on the same economy?

State of economy all comes down to perspective, really

March 23, 2013

Ross Gittins

While many business people see the economy as badly performing and badly managed, our econocrats see it as having performed quite well and better than could have been expected. Why such radically different perspectives on the same economy?

Partly because business people – particularly those from small businesses – view the economy from their own circumstances out: If I’m doing it tough the economy must be stuffed. By contrast, macro economists are trained to ignore anecdotes and view the economy from a helicopter, so to speak, using economy-wide statistical indicators.

A bigger difference, however, is that business people are comparing what we’ve got with what we had, whereas the economic managers are comparing what we’ve got with what we might have got, which was a lot worse.

Business people know everything was going swimmingly in the years leading up to the global financial crisis of 2008-09, but in the years since many industries – manufacturing, tourism, overseas education, retailing, wholesaling – have been travelling through very rough waters.

The econocrats, however, have a quite different perspective: whereas the rest of us love a good boom, those responsible for managing the economy view them with trepidation. Why? Because they know they almost always end in tears and recriminations. Read more of this post

Malaysia’s Mahathir steps out of the shadows

Malaysia’s Mahathir steps out of the shadows
Posted: 24 March 2013 1109 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR: Four years after leading a charge to oust Malaysia’s previous prime minister, ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad is making his sizeable influence felt again as a close election looms.

Mahathir, who towered over Malaysia for 22 years with his grand development projects and hard-nosed politics, is 87 but has peeled back the years to step from the shadows and whip up support for the long-ruling regime he moulded.

Through his blog and visits to key constituencies, Mahathir has sounded off in typically blunt style, warning that a loss by the 56-year-old government would bring chaos.

In shades of four years ago, he told AFP that Prime Minister Najib Razak could face a ruling-party leadership putsch like his predecessor if he does not improve on a 2008 polls setback that shocked the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition. Read more of this post

My favorite quotes from Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” with Brene Brown, author of “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Lead”

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Full-Episode-Oprah-and-Brene-Brown-on-Daring-Greatly-Video

Brene Brown: “… perfectionism is not about striving for excellence, or healthy striving, which I’m for. It’s a cognitive behavioral process, a way of thinking and feeling that says this: ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect, and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame, and judgment.”

Oprah Winfrey: “Perfectionism is the ultimate fear… that the people who are walking around as perfectionists, who have to have everything so perfect, that they are ultimately afraid that the world is going to see them for who they really are and they won’t measure up. It’s fear. It’s very different from trying to be excellent and working hard and doing your best.”

Brene: “I call perfectionism the 20-ton shield. We carry it around thinking it’s gonna protect us from being hurt. But it protects us from being seen.”

Oprah: “I love cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness. A lot of people are numb to life… the key element that you discovered from people who are successful or not, who live a whole-hearted life or not, is that they feel a sense of worthiness.”

Brene: “That is the absolute bottom line… they engage the world from a place of worthiness.”

Oprah: “… the cultivation of joy and gratitude is the way home. There is no joy without gratitude.”

Brene: “If you ask me what is the most terrifying, difficult emotion that we experience as humans, I would say ‘Joy’… When we lost our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes forboding. I’m not gonna feel you. I’m not gonna soften into this moment of joy. Because I’m scared. I’m scared it’s gonna be taken away. The other shoe’s gonna drop. And so what we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try beat vulnerability to the punch. I interviewed a man who told me, ‘My whole life, I never got too excited, too joyful about anything. I just kind of stayed right in the middle. That way, if things didn’t work out, I wasn’t devastated. And if they did work out, it was a pleasant surprise.’ He said in his 60s, he was in a car accident. His wife of 40 years was killed. And he said, ‘The second I realized that she was gone, the first thing I thought was I should have leaned harder into these moments of joy. Because that did not protect me from what I feel right now.’ In a culture of scarcity, we’re all chasing the extraordinary. When I interviewed people who went through horrific things.. the loss of children, genocide, violence, trauma.. And I talked to them about what’s the hardest loss. They never talked about the extraordinary things. They said, ‘I miss the ordinary moments. I miss hearing the screen door slam and knowing my husband’s home from work. I miss hearing my kids fighting in the backyard. I miss the way my wife set me table.’ And those are the moments that are in front of all of us every day that we could stop and say, ‘God, I’m grateful for this.””

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