You’ve probably noticed me mentioning this blog a few times: How I Will Be Rich, by Matt Wolfe – the author of today’s guest post. I think he’s got a terrific blog, and like me he’s moved a bit in the direction of motivational writing after starting his blog with the intention of writing about personal finance. I agree with him completely that the two are so closely interrelated as to be inseparable. Matt’s a young guy, and he’s got some very interesting things going on in his life. I highly encourage you to check out his blog and/or subscribe to his feed.
Fear is all in your head. You’ve heard that line before. So maybe fear is all in your in head but it still affects you, right? When you are about to go in front of a large group of people to speak, that little piece of advice does you absolutely no good. Being scared is all in your head but that doesn’t change the fact that your body and mind still struggle to make it through it. You don’t want to hear someone tell you that it’s all in your head. You already know this but you’re scared nonetheless.
I studied investing and the stock market for years and years and never invested a single cent. I was so fascinated by the whole concept and the wealth it has created for so many people. Why didn’t I ever just set aside some time, open an account and jump in? I was scared. The fear of putting my hard earned money at risk scared the living daylights out of me. My dad had invested some money in the stock market right before the tech bubble burst and lost quite a bit. He didn’t lose enough to really harm our family but he did lose enough to scare me away from investing. My dad, himself, didn’t even steer clear of the market. He got back in there and invested more. I thought he was crazy. How could he be risking more money in the market that had taken so much away? It made no sense. When I asked him about why he would risk more money in the stock market he told me that he didn’t see it as a risk. He saw his loss as a learning experience and now he knew what not to do. He wasn’t afraid of losing money in the market. It had already happened. He knew what it felt like.
I was convinced. I had to give this whole investing thing a try. I set aside some time one day after work and opened an account with E-Trade. I transfered $500 in to that account and immediately invested the whole wad in to TIVO. I read a “great stock tip” on the internet somewhere that it was going to explode. The truth was that it went up a few cents here and dropped a few cents there but never really did anything crazy. I couldn’t believe that this is what I was scared of. It seemed like no big deal. Even the days when it went down a little, I was relatively unaffected mentally. I sold TIVO a couple weeks later and did some more studying on proper investing techniques. I learned to diversify. I learned to read income statements and balance sheets. I got over the fear by just acting upon it. Once I got over my fear, it cleared the way for me to really dig deep in to how to do it properly. I’ve had some down months and some up months but for the most part I’ve been fairly successful. I would have never known what I was capable of if I let the fear keep me from ever trying.
Action is what cures fear. You will never get over your fear if you don’t confront it. It will be scary when you first get going but it does get better. The motivational speakers and investment gurus that speak at seminars weren’t always great speakers. They were scared to death the first time they got on stage in front of a crowd. They fought through it, sweaty armpits and all, and now, what they once feared, is now one of their biggest strengths. If you can manage to fight through your fears and suffer through the hard beginnings, the things that you once feared will become your biggest strengths. They will become such great strengths because other people will still fear them. You will have a skill that other people are scared to death to do.
Understand that fear is all in your head but also understand that conquering that fear gives you the advantage over all the people who fear the same thing but never confront it.
(photo by Sam UL)