On the Intangible Essence of Friendship

Jim Woods

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

Friendship. It’s an essential component of any life well-lived. However, it’s also somewhat of a mysterious proposition, because what draws one person to another is often difficult to define. Yet, we all know what a friend is, and who our friends are, and what we like about our friends.


Interestingly, most of us have friends of different varieties. Some are business friends, some are neighborhood friends, some are hobby-related friends, or friends that like the same type of music, or football team or automobile brand. I have a variety of friends like this, as I suspect you do as well.

But then there are friends that you connect with on a slightly different level. Indeed, a deeper, more profound level. Not necessarily on a deep philosophical level (although, for me, this is usually the connection I make), but on a “spiritual” level. Now, when I say spiritual, I am speaking here of the human spirit, or the “sense of life” that a person embodies.

Yet what, precisely, do I mean by a sense of life?


Well, the term comes from the great novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand, who defines sense of life as “a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence. It sets the nature of a man’s emotional responses and the essence of his character.”

This technical definition of sense of life isn’t the easiest thing to grasp. Rather, it’s one of those intangible aspects of another person that just resonates with you. It’s sort of like finding the flame of a kindred spirit among the many faces one encounters during a lifetime, and then recognizing yourself in that fire.

I am fortunate to say that I have found more than a handful of these sense-of-life brothers in arms throughout my 50-plus trips around the sun, and I am grateful for each and every one of you (and because I know my close-knit clan of sense-of-life compatriots are regular readers of this column, I know you are smiling right now, which also makes me smile).

This week, I had the great fortune to be visited by one of my sense-of-life brothers in arms, my friend James “Mr. C.” Here we are outside the ranch with a bottle of “Heaven’s Door” bourbon, musical genius Bob Dylan’s brand of premium whiskey, which I highly recommend.


James is one of the most accomplished guys I know.

He’s an extremely successful businessman who spent more than three decades as an auto industry executive. He’s also a successful entrepreneur, investor, husband, father, grandfather, former Marine Corps officer and all-around excellent man. Yet, all of those accomplishments are in addition to Mr. C’s radiant sense of life, a component of his personality that I was drawn to from our very first meeting a few years ago.

I really enjoyed hanging out with James, as it’s the kind of experience that lets you know you there are others who see the world through a similar lens, and who take on existence the way I think it should be taken on — with love, aggression, wit, smarts, principles and a real sense of fun.

So, my recommendation for you is the following: Take a quick mental inventory of your true friends. The ones whose sense of life you most resonate with. Then, pick up your phone, text, call or write them an email telling them how much you appreciate them in your life.


Or, if you are fortunate to have a platform of the sort that I do here in “The Deep Woods,” you can tell them all, for the whole world to hear, how much you appreciate them being a part of your life.

Doing so will make you feel honored to be alive, and I suspect that doing so will make your sense-of-life brothers in arms feel the same way, too.

P.S. Come join me and many of my Eagle colleagues on an incredible cruise. If you book before Sept. 29, you’ll receive a spend-as-you-wish $250 shipboard credit! In addition, this is all-inclusive — meals, drinks and even the excursions are included in your one-time price! We set sail on Dec. 4 for 16 days embarking on a memorable journey that combines fascinating history, vibrant culture and picturesque scenery. Enjoy seminars on the days we are cruising from one destination to another, as well as dinners with members of the Eagle team. Just some of the places we’ll visit are Mexico, Belize, Panama, Ecuador and more! Click here now for all the details.


The Best and Highest Use

“Gambling is entertainment… Financial markets, what one often refers to as speculation, is really the force by which we move capital to the best and highest use.”


–Kenneth C. Griffin

The billionaire hedge fund manager and Citadel Advisors chief gets it spot-on here with his contrast of an entertainment pursuit versus how investing really works. And while speculation of the sort we do in my newsletter advisory services can certainly be entertaining (especially when we realize huge gains), it shouldn’t be confused with Vegas-style casino gaming (although I’ve been known to realize a few huge gains there, too).

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.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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