The bull and the bear market

My little sister with a friendly bullock - Summer 1976

We’ve a bit of a soft spot for bulls in my family.

When my little sister and I were young, we used to sit with the sleepy old Herefordshire bull in the field next to our house in Wales, and scratch his curly forehead. My partner, father and brother-in-law are all lovely, steady Taureans. My mother’s maiden name is Bull and through her we’re proceeded by a veritable herd of Bulls (if thats not an oxymoron), reaching back into the mists of time and including my great granddad, William, and great uncle, Peter.

There’s no doubt that in the current global financial meltdown we need a bullish sort of leader, the type who can identify imaginative solutions, and find a way to drive them forward.

So it’s good news all round that we’re about to enter the Chinese Year of the Ox, also known as the Bull or Buffalo.

According to Wikipedia, “the Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work” – something we could all do with right now. It’s also nice to find out that the Ox is “capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint”. Best of all, it comes as a relief to know that the Ox “is not extravagant, and the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes them nervous”.

Hallelujah! Where was this Ox when we needed him?

The prediction website, Go To Horoscope, assures us that: “We’ve got [an] honest, candid and open natured year ahead. As you might guess, [the] coming 2009 year of the earth Ox is dependable, calm and modest.”

Jeffrey J Davis recently pointed out on Stew Friedman’s Harvard Business School blog that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters: 危 (danger) + 機 (opportunity). With that thought in mind, it looks like the symbolic power of the Ox might be just what we need to pull us through.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!