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Losing Out to Fear

May 5, 2017 by  
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I am totally convinced that most people don’t end up making big money–especially when you are talking millions of dollars—not because they aren’t smart enough but because of their fears. It is a fear of failing and/or the fear of losing what little money they may have. Believe me, I totally understand those fears because that is exactly what held me back for a long time.  But that’s when my wonderful friend and mentor, Larry Rosenberg stepped in and gave me the courage to overcome my fears or at least reduce my level of fear. At the same time, he showed me exactly how to do the big deals and reduce the risks which, of course, reduced the amount of fear I had.

Don’t get me wrong there are always risks but even so, Larry convinced me that if I wanted to hit it really big, I would have to take some bigger risks. At that point, I reasoned with myself and agreed with that old saying, “Better to try and fail than never to try at all.”  I never forgot being told repeatedly when I was young, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

There is no question that when you use financial leverage on a purchase that you increase the risk to yourself.  Like that old example I’ve used over and over—if you put 10% down on a $500,000 dollar property, you could lose all your money if that property dropped in value by 10% and you had to sell it. That’s $50k gone just like that.

That kind of risk is scary but on the other hand, if that property increases in value by 10% then you’ve just doubled your money or made a 100% return. Remember what huge numbers 100% returns do to your money over time–just one penny compounded at 100% a year grows to well over $10 million in just 30 years! That’s the great power of compounding. Of course, you can reduce your risks, big time, by using your brain and your brawn to fix up a property which greatly increases the chance of raising its value and greatly reduces your risk.

If you want to reduce your risk even more, you may want to do what one of my long time students did early on in his acquisition of property. I’m talking about Dell Loy Hansen who now owns properties valued in the billions. He started from scratch after he read my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. How did he reduce his risk?  He went out and found partners which allowed him to buy property with much bigger down payments, so they went into these investments with a lot more equity and hence less risk. That, of course, reduces the possible return on the amount invested but, for Mr. Hansen, it greatly increased his leverage and allowed him to buy bigger and bigger properties, hence his multibillion-dollar portfolio.

So remember, if you want to hit it big, be prepared to take some risks and if you want to cut those risks a bit, go find some good partners to share in the initial down payment. Just be sure to take good care of those partners.

 

 

Writing Down Your Fears to Defeat Them

October 7, 2016 by  
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Last week my blog was all about our great brains and what they can do for us, almost automatically, if we take time to write down our thoughts, goals, and ambitions. It’s a way to tap into our subconscious so it will release and make known to us what we really need in our lives. It can then help us set course and push us to keep plodding along to reach our objectives. And we can do all this simply by using a pad and pencil.

The author of the book Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser, goes deeper into this thing of writing down what you want, saying we need to write down everything including the bad stuff such as our fears and anxieties because “writing things down can make ‘feelings’ speed bumps not roadblocks.”

I’ve never read anyone suggesting that writing down the negative stuff can be a good thing but this author says exactly that.

She points out that it can be very liberating and beneficial to the human brain if in addition to writing down our dreams and goals we also write down our fears because as she says “writing is a good way to force negative emotional reactions into words and not stomach churning.” She used a friend’s apprehension about traveling to Europe which was overcome by writing her fears down, as an example. “Writing down your fears,” she explained, “takes negativity and anxiety out of the gut … she conquered her fears by writing them down.”

It reminds me of all that self-talk we do and how people who study the ‘chatter box’ in our head are always preaching and teaching us to push back and change the negative self-talk to positive chatter. Now we find that there is an additional way, and maybe a more powerful way, to do that simply by writing down our fears or basically having a place to park your worries.

She goes on to say “Writing separates the dream from the fear. Writing about your anxiety makes it an entity existing outside of your goal. Writing down your fears takes away their hold on you; writing out the reverse of your fears (and upping the ante, making the opposite statement not just the fear in reverse, but something even more attractive) empowers and energizes you to start thinking differently, to attract the kind of answers that, rather than keep you tied down, go with a worldview of solutions.”

Discovering this strategy of writing down the negative, the anxiety, the fearful thoughts really got to me and I’ve begun to put it to the test to see if it really works. My wife began planning for a trip to South Africa to do an African Safari. After setting it all up I began to worry about so many things that could go wrong–from catching a disease to getting stomped by an elephant to those small airplanes in a country that is not exactly into precision and safety checks. Plus, there were thoughts of getting mugged or robbed in some of the cities that are known for very high crime rates.

Writing down my fears and anxieties in addition to talking through my negative thinking with other people is beginning to make a difference. In fact, the very next day after I wrote down my fears and anxieties I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night with worry as I had been doing ever since we set up our African trip.

Wow … that was fast and it worked! It’s like taking worries out of your brain and putting them in a box. It really is that easy. Try it yourself!

 

Forging Past the Fear

October 9, 2015 by  
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Well I did it! I gave my one-hour presentation to the MBA students at Utah State University on ‘How to Make Millions by Wise Investing’. If you recall from last week’s post, this speech had caused me some fear and anxiety. But after 5 or 10 minutes the fear and anxiety that had been gripping me diminished and finally totally disappeared. The students were great, as was the professor. They asked some great questions and it all went quite well. Yay! I guess I acted out the title of Susan Jeffers great little book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

It’s fascinating to me that a huge percentage of people don’t step outside their comfort zone when it comes to investing as a direct result from that thing we know as fear. It might be fear of the unknown, fear of losing their money or sometimes just plain fear of taking any risks at all. I look back at my younger years (now called “my warrior years”) and remember how quite a few of my peers, people that were just as smart as me and sometimes a lot smarter, knew what I was doing and how I was doing it and, yes, knew that I was having some very big financial gains. However, they didn’t dare step up to do the same thing I was doing. I’m pretty sure the reason was primarily because of fear.

Looking back now I’m pretty sure I didn’t share with them that I had huge fears myself. The thing is, I forged ahead anyways and took the risks and it paid off. I wish I could go back in time and share those fears that I felt with those friends. I think if I had done that then many of those people might have taken a few more calculated risks, pushing past their fears and ending up with the kind of success that I experienced.

I think you would agree that many of our fears come from us thinking  things like “Oh, what if I fail? What will my friends and family think of me? What if I lose all my money?” But like I told the MBA’s, everyone fails from time to time! The key is to learn from your mistakes and be sure not to beat yourself up. It’s okay to fail. No human is immune to failure but if you pick yourself up and keep trying, your success, in investing to create your fortune or just about any part of your life, will far outweigh your failures.

Battling Fear in the Great ‘Right Now’

October 2, 2015 by  
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Fear and anxiety is something all of us experience from time to time in our lives—sometimes more often than we care to admit.  We fear and stress over big things that might not, and usually never, happen. They are these little things that can get stuck in our brains day after day that bug us and don’t let go. As a matter of fact I am experiencing a bit of fear and stress right now over something that logically shouldn’t bother me, something I’ve been through many, many times and logically I shouldn’t have any fear at this point. That fear and anxiety is all wrapped up in my head over a speech I’ve been asked to give to a group of MBA students at Utah State University.  Even though it’s not scheduled until next week and I’ve given many hundreds of presentations and seminars on the same subject over the years, I’ve still been worrying myself into a bit of a frenzy.

Part of the problem is that I haven’t given any speeches for a very long time  That shouldn’t bother me since I know my financial subject backward and forward and I’m sure none of the kids (Oops! I mean the MBA college students!) don’t have near the experience or knowledge of the subject I’ll be presenting.  So I really shouldn’t be stressing.  But of course our fears and worries aren’t necessarily logical or based on any facts. And furthermore I’m almost positive, based partly experience, that when my presentation is all finish I will think back and laugh at myself for being so uptight.

For most of us normal and average human beings it’s the same story–we fear things that may happen in the future even though most of what we fear never happens. So what is the lesson to be learned from all this?  It’s an old subject, an old lesson but one that we need to constantly be vigilant in observing and monitoring–that self-talk or negative chatter box inside our head.  We need to keep directing that self-talk to bring our thoughts from future thinking to thinking and living in the great ‘right now’!

Just taking time to write about my fear and anxiety over next week’s speech has already given my brain a calming feeling and the worry and stress has dropped considerably. Wow … I guess that is another lesson to learn! If we open up and talk or write about the fears and anxiety that we have in our heads, sharing it with others, that sharing can act as a kind of magic cure.

Well, I think I better get to work and outline and practice my presentation for the MBA students next week–that also reduces stress and anxiety.

 

The Missing 777 and Overcoming Fear

March 21, 2014 by  
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Have you heard anyone say recently that they are not going to take any trips by airplane, because of fear since the 777 Jet went missing?  I’ve only heard one person allude to that, but I’ll be watching to see if airline ticket sales drop because of the fear factor since the Malaysian jet disappeared.

Fear is a very interesting human reaction hooked to so many things in our lives.  Much of the time it has little or no basis to reality or logic.  As you may know the fear of flying is one of the more common human fears although it is statistically extremely safe.  If you were to choose, at random, a commercial flight every single day for the rest of your life, guess how long it would be (statistically) before you got on an airplane that crashed? And, drum roll …would you believe it would take 19,000 years? Yes, that’s right, nearly 7 million flights/days until your statistical chance would be up!  I’ve talked to many people and gave them these numbers and they are STILL afraid of flying.  They know the numbers but their fear trumps the facts.

Fear holds so many people back from fulfilling their big dreams and goals for what are often illogical reasons. Many years ago I wrote a book titled The Courage to be Rich. In my book I talk a great deal about using “courage” to overcome fear.  Building up your courage to be rich, to give a speech to 1000 people, to write a book, to travel to a distant and strange new country or to be super successful in anything  requires you to identify what fears are holding you back and replacing those fears with positive thoughts and actions.

One of my favorite tricks or ways I overcome fear is to use the IGDS philosophy.  Quoting from my Courage to be Rich book, “What is IGDS?  It is accepting the truth that “I’m Going to Die Someday”……so why not really live life now?  Why not really go for it? What have you got to lose?”   I am not saying you should take wild crazy, life threatening risks but I am saying to face your fears and go after what you want with all you energy, zest and strength. Take some calculated risks realizing that you’re going to die some day and you don’t want  to have to say to yourself what Henry David Thoreau said many years ago, “Oh God, to have reached the point of death, only to find that you have never lived at all.”

 

Asking for Courage

February 7, 2014 by  
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In last week’s blog I promised I would give you my definition of  ‘Courage’ so that we can look into what it can mean to you and how you live your life.

Courage is going against the odds or against popular opinion.  It’s doing what most people are unwilling to do because of the criticism and lack of support they know they will receive from family, friends, or even strangers.  Courage is living your life for you.  It’s setting your own rules and policies and taking full responsibility when you fail or stumble. It’s resisting other people’s attempted manipulations of you.

Courageous people do not accept traditions, conventional wisdom, or pat answers without close scrutiny and severe questioning.

I came up with that definition in 1983 when I was 39 years old,   for my book The Courage to be Rich and I think it holds true today.  (Side note … Susan Orman used that title later for her own book which I found out, to my disappointment, is totally legal.) But sometimes it’s hard to know what you are accepting without question or not. So let’s ask ourselves a few questions.

Before reading this list of questions that can help build your courage, let me suggest you make a list of the areas in your life that you might want to focus on, areas you think would benefit from a big dose of courage.

Did you write those down? Good. Now, ask yourself,  Do I want to have …

The courage to be rich?

The courage to be famous?

The courage to be the very best in my field?

The courage to be super generous?

The courage to be super healthy?

The courage to be totally physically fit?

The courage to write a great book or give super speeches?

The courage to love and be loved without conditions?

The courage to help others to the max?

The courage to win at the game of life?

This is not a complete list. If you have other things you want or think you want, add them. And keep asking yourself, what do you want courage for?

It is not just a matter of asking yourself about your courage. You have to act in a courageous way. Here are a few keys items to help you obtain and keep that courage.

1.  At first take small steps in areas that you want to build courage, especially if you have great fears.

2.  Repeat those small steps over and over again.

3.  Slowly begin to take larger steps.

4.  Use plenty of “self-talk” or “positive affirmations” and always be aware of what your internal voice is saying so you can direct it towards your positive courage goals.

5.  Involve allies to help you stay on course.  Be sure to pick those that will fully support your objectives and goals.

7.  Practice confronting your fears and then analyze the reasons for those fears.

One last thought….I just read this line in a novel and thought that it was very profound……”The more you learn, the less you fear.” Arm yourself with knowledge, primarily the knowledge that you can and will face and overcome your fears.

 

Small Risks Take on Big Fears

January 24, 2014 by  
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Fear. It’s something we all deal with on some level. Some fears are good for you and can save your life such as the fear of falling off a cliff so that we keep a safe distance from the edge or the fear that pushes us to panic a bit, to hide, run or climb a tree depending on what dangerous animal or person we suddenly run into.

But there are those illogical fears that really don’t help or protect us; in fact many fears keep us from enjoying a much more rewarding life. Probably the biggest fear that holds us back is the fear of trying something totally new. It could be anything from giving a speech to a large group of people, playing a brand new sport or traveling to a faraway foreign country for the first time.

Why do we have such life constraining fears and what can we do about it?

I think the “why” is because we think we may fail and/or make a fool of ourselves or, in the case of flying to a foreign country, we fear all the unknowns, like whether the people are mean and dangerous or whether we might get lost or if the plane may crash. (By the way, the fear of flying is one of the biggest yet more illogical fears people have. I read sometime ago that if you were to fly on a commercial jet every single day, statistically you would fly for 29,000 years before you got on a plane that crashed.)

So what does a person do to overcome the fear of doing or trying something new? Susan Jeffers suggests in her book Feel the Fear and Beyond that you try “expanding your comfort zone”. And if you set about doing what she suggests on a regular basis you will gain a ton of confidence and greatly reduce your fears.

She says “one way to easily expand your comfort zone is to take a little risk each day.” When she’s talking about taking risks she’s not talking about physical risks but rather the risk of facing your fears and trying something new. The first step, as she advises, is to come up with thirty risks you could do in a month and write them down. Then each night, pick one to take on the following day and add it to your schedule by placing it on your calendar or daily planner just as you would a doctor’s appointment. As you do this, you will begin to slowly expand the size of your comfort zone and your world and then will be much more likely to face and conquer much larger fears.

So why don’t you sit down right now and see if you can list thirty risks or fears that you want to overcome in the next month? Like I advise with anything, break it down into small manageable steps and you will be able to take on anything.