In this letter, we examine the history of market declines. Bear markets are disheartening and even the most patient and disciplined investor may begin to question the merits of staying the course. Studying financial history and how markets have emerged from declines can help us put our current situation into perspective. It is because of bear markets that we expect a higher rate of return from the portion of our portfolio exposed to equity risk. Without the risk of loss and the unpredictable declines of markets on occasion, there would be little return premium over safer investments like treasury bills. Ultimately, studying market history can keep us grounded in a rational decision making process that will help lead to the best long term results.