What A Wonderful World

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

I was recently at a gathering of musician friends, and one of them asked me what my favorite song was. After a brief pause, I replied with a title that surprised my fellow artists. 

“‘What A Wonderful World,’ by Louis Armstrong,” I answered.

After digesting the surprised looks in the room, I went on to tell everyone why this was my favorite song. You see, this song’s lyrics and melody reflect what I call the “benevolent universe” premise. 

The idea here, in essence, is that despite the peril, pain and struggle of life, the achievement of one’s values in this world is possible. Moreover, success, happiness and a deep sense of fulfillment can be attained — if you have a concentrated mind and a grateful heart willing to fight for it.

Let’s look at the lyrics here of “What A Wonderful World” in detail, and I’ll show you what I mean. 

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The opening verse tells us that nature (e.g., the trees and roses that bloom), are proper subjects of human enjoyment, and that they are there for us to appreciate and admire. That realization right there makes this a wonderful world. 

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

In the second verse, we are reminded that bright days and dark nights, i.e., good times and bad times, are a natural part of the human condition, and thus both should be celebrated.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you”

The lyrics in the bridge are perhaps my favorite, as friendship, human connection and love for your fellow sapiens is one of the most important values one can act to gain and/or keep.  

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah!

In the last verse, we get life viewed with an optimistic tone and sense of wonder about the future, a future that will be better for our children, and presumably better because of things we’ve done. Notice there is no bitterness here about missed opportunity. Rather, there’s a happiness that this benevolent universe will continue to thrive for all mankind.

Finally, and this is very important, there is the “Oh yeah!” at the end of the song, sung so brilliantly by Armstrong. This simple phrase serves as an effusive-yet-subtle affirmation of existence that delivers that message better than just about any line I’ve heard in any song.

It is for these reasons that I call “What A Wonderful World” my favorite song. And it’s a song particularly appropriate for this Thanksgiving week, because when you view the world as wonderful, you become thankful for it. And, as William Blake once mused, “The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”

Now, it’s your turn. What is your favorite song, and why? I’d love to find out, so send me an email and let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesdays Mean Wisdom

Wednesdays are all about wisdom, and that’s particularly true at my podcast and lifestyle website, Way of the Renaissance Man.

This week’s insight was inspired by the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

It has been 59 years since President Kennedy’s assassination, but his memory remains alive in the heart of America.

In this slice of presidential wisdom, Kennedy offers up a thought on gratitude, and the importance of acting on that sublime feeling.

To listen to this JFK-inspired insight, check out this week’s Wednesday Wisdom at Way of the Renaissance Man.


Be A Charming Gardener 

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

— Marcel Proust

Becoming happy isn’t easy. It’s actually hard work. But that work is much easier when you have gratitude, appreciation and love for, as Proust so poetically puts it, “the charming gardeners that make our souls blossom.” So, this Thanksgiving week, be a charming gardener and help other souls blossom. 

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

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