Most investors do not succeed in investing because of FEAR. Fear of course is imaginary, but it is REAL for the person experiencing it. So when an investor tells me he/she is scared of investing, I do not laugh at it, I acknowledge that it is plaguing him. If it did not plague him/her would they even mention it to me?
How can you conquer fear?
First step to conquer fear is to know what is fear, how it is caused, and how it can be countered.
We are from the same genes of people who were “safe rather than sorry”. When they saw an animal they climbed up a tree – and then found it to be a deer. However, they were happy about climbing up the tree.
Why are we fearful about investing? It is not exactly like hunting, right?
Well first of all accept that FAILURE is all right, and it is ok to fail.
At least in India we have a big problem against failure. When a person does a business, we don’t see it as a failure of the IDEA. We see it as a failure of the PERSON. This should go. If an investment idea fails, it is not the person’s failure. So first of all accept that your investment idea can fail. Start a small experiment and try it. If it fails, learn from failure.
There is another problem too. The fear of success. Most of us are afraid that if we succeed we will leave our current friends and relatives and will have to go to a different place. We are not sure how we will handle success. Most of the businesses I see are done by people WHO ARE PREPARED for failure more than being prepared for SUCCESS. Your mind likes status quo. It does not like change. It knows that change brings stress – and it wants to protect you from stress. So it does not like success, just as it does not like failure.
One amazing way the mind makes you stop doing this is by using the amazing ‘Procrastination’ bug.
Conquer one fear at a time: Speaking or Singing in public!
Even if you put a gun on my head I cannot sing. However it was a friend who introduced me to public speaking – teaching in an MBA college/ grad college is the easy way to start. I started with 14 students. Some of them are in touch even today – 20 years ago. The biggest size of crowd that I have addressed is about 800 people. Now having addressed doctors, IFA, common investors….public speaking is no longer a fear. Remember, there was a first time, as always!
Fear of looking Dumb TO YOURSELF, your family, friends. I have seen many smart, brilliant people – including CFO, who are NOT willing to do their own personal financial planning! They will manage Rs. 30,000 crores of their companies money, but not Rs. 10 crores of their own money. It will sleep in savings bank account.
Fear of being Judged by others: your broker, your banker, your adviser – the second round of people who will know about your investing skills. I still remember clients who were my talisman – they could lose money even in Colgate or HUL because of timing the market. Of course people will know about your transactions – but that should not bother you. Relax all of us have our failures, it is just that we hide is more smartly!!
I need to do more posts on Fear I guess!!
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