Fear Is A Weak Counselor

Nick Murray opines that, “Investing is the age old, never ending emotional battle between fear of the future and faith in the future.”

The future soon becomes the present and from that, we can learn a little.  What did we fear five years ago and now we see how unfounded our fear turned out.  What other fears matured into full blown problems?  Did you keep track.

Fear is a poor counselor in prospect and yet we rely on it.  Mark Twain once wrote, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

On the plus side, fear can focus our thoughts.  If we notice fear and then learn more about the subject that frightens us, we can manage the situation.  Fear that has been conditioned by knowledge becomes respect.  We know the possibility for disaster and we understand the limits withing which it could happen.  We know responses.  It is like karate.  To some extent, courage is organized fear.

Learn the meaning of your fear and the process of management becomes fairly clear.

  • Understand the elements that make you fearful
  • Learn more about them
  • Attempt things that have become not so frightening.
  • Record the outcomes
  • Review outcomes from similar decisions, yours and others, or over time.
  • Revise your understanding of the particular fear/opportunity and
  • Revise your approach based on new knowledge.

Fear is not absolute.  Neither is confidence.  Ignorance is a very good defense to fear, but it tends to have uneven outcomes when confidence supplies the impetus.  The one who does not examine these outcomes will tend to see them as random. Randomness is unmanageable so try not to manufacture it.

Proficiency in life takes a long time to develop.  It takes much longer if you do not learn from your mistakes.  The really skilled learn from the mistakes from not doing something,  as well as from the bad things that happened by their sction.  Diving into the swimming pool from the garage roof is bad.  Failure to invest in a down market is too but not so clear a lesson.

Seeing the things you failed to do is harder.  Pay careful attention to all aspects of your decisions.  Doing nothing is a decision so keep track of those too.

Recognize and accept fear.  Act to understand it.  Keep track of your decisions and their outcomes.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  don@moneyfyi.com  866-285-7772

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