It remains the single biggest emotion which dominates human lives and has the potential of de-railing every single one.
Why is this?
Because we still react to life using our reptilian brain. The part that is constantly on the look out for predators and danger. The problem is, we no longer have sabre tooth tigers eyeing us for lunch and most dangers from our prehistoric times are long gone.
But reptilian brain still searches.
It’s why we tend to pick out negative headlines on websites, or even YouTube titles that focus on something negative, rather than positive. We are magnetically drawn to those big, red “DANGER” signs, even when masquerading as “BREAKING NEWS”.
We are driven first and foremost by fear. Some more than others, of course. It’s why you’ll discover, when delving deep enough, that most people who are truly happy and successful, are positive people.
People who don’t let fear take control.
Taking risks is considered, by most, to be dangerous. It scares them. That’s because when we take a risk, we tend to focus on what we could LOSE as opposed to what we could GAIN. Our reptilian mind makes us naturally risk averse.
Humans are creatures of habit – we don’t like change.
Fear of the unknown.
We have our ingrained habits and even though those habits might be destroying us (smoking) or something we hate (anxiety) we often stick with them rather than try to change.
Because we know them.
We become comfortable with them.
They become part of our identity.
Changing them not only requires work but it requires going into the unknown – and that is full of fear. Better the devil you know………..
As a day-trader, I have become used to risk. But it took many years of practice. I was no different to anyone else when I first began to learn the art of financial trading – I was terrible! Greed and fear, the two primary emotions you have to deal with when trading, were way out of control! Like a bucking bronco, you have to hold on for dear life, trying to tame them. Fear though, was far harder to tame than greed.
But I did succeed.
Because I began to realise that risk is all down to how you perceive things. What one person sees as a crazy risk, another sees as a calculated opportunity. It’s the same in trading as in any aspect of life where you have a choice with something at stake. Once you start to take the fear out of risk, it no longer becomes frightening.
THE major thing people are scared of taking a risk with, is MONEY. There’s a psychological term for this:
This states that most humans will do whatever it takes to avoid losing money – even when the odds are more in their favour that they will actually GAIN money!!
But my favourite saying is;
“Risk is the currency of the Gods.”
I believe it was by the Roman philosopher and ruler Marcus Aurelius. What he means is that the Gods will reward those who take risks, with gifts. Whilst I don’t believe in a god, I certainly believe that the universe, that life, will reward those who take chances and go for their heart’s desires.
Because almost everything in life that is truly worth having, is something you have to take a risk for.
But most of us in our easy, Western lifestyles, have got into a comfort zone. We don’t need to take many risks because we already have our basic needs taken care of. We fear losing what we’ve got; the car, the house, the comfortable lifestyle, the regular wage, the mediocre relationships, the average body and health.
Most people are only pushed to take risks when they have no choice; a job loss, a terrible relationship, major debt, serious illness. But this is often the catalyst for that person to create an incredible life. It’s why so many stories of amazing achievement come after experiencing a massive low point or rock-bottom.
If you’ve never had the motivation to take a risk, chances are, you never will. Especially as your habits and life become more set in its way as we grow older. It then becomes more and more scary to make changes.
What I always do now, is risk assessment.
I basically weigh up the pros and cons of any decision and decide on the risk-reward ratio. I work out the percentage upside versus the percentage downside. If the upside is significantly larger, then I’ll take the risk.
For example, one of the biggest risks I’ve taken lately was investing money into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Downside: I could lose all my money.
Was it money I could afford to lose? Yes.
Could I make it back again? Yes, in time.
So my downside was a couple of grand. But life would go on.
Upside: Almost unlimited.
People can and are, making MILLIONS doing the exact same thing as me. So therefore, the reward is potentially, many times greater than the risk.
I felt (after doing due diligence of course!) that it was far more likely I will make money, than lose it. I felt it was worth the risk for me to invest the money because upsides like that don’t come along very often. Crucially, I was prepared to lose my money.
And THAT’S where successful people think differently.
They aren’t dragged back by their reptilian brain. They don’t FEAR losing. They fear MISSING OUT on the potential win, much more.
Now, they might fail.
The negative person who told them not to do it, would laugh at them and trot out the old, excruciating line:
“I hate to say I told you so……..” (Fuck off, you lying knobba, you love saying it!)
But other than that, you should be OK with it.
Because you understand that over time, one of these risks will fall in your favour.
Whilst the whingeing, cautious, negatrons go nowhere in life, their only pleasure having a laugh at others failures, YOU understand that there’s no such thing as failure. That your time will come and when it does, you will be having the last laugh.
Because you can’t win a raffle unless you buy a ticket.
Many people dream about quitting their job to do something they love. Most remain where they are for life, rooted in fear. But the downside isn’t as big as they think.
They think the worst will happen; no job = no money = no house = homeless = finished.
Is that really the downside though?
Actually, what would most likely happen is that they don’t succeed in their new venture and they have to go back to the 9-5. They either get a job in the same industry as before with roughly the same pay or slightly less. Maybe, MAYBE, they have to live in a cheaper house and scale down their lifestyle whilst between jobs or even move in with a friend or family.
They also aren’t giving enough weight to the upside or maybe not dreaming big enough.
You could end up doing something you love EVERY DAY. And when that happens, it’s far more likely you will work at it enough to make it a huge success and potentially financially free, so you NEVER have to worry about being homeless ever again!
To someone who understands risk, the choice here is simple.
This is exactly what I did.
And you know what – I “failed” the first time!
Or rather, I didn’t succeed. That’s how I frame it now. Because I’m back trying again.
I don’t let fear of the first attempt, stop me going again. I had to move back home with my parents. I had debt. But this time, I understand risk-reward better. I have learned a lot from before. The best way to truly learn and grow, is through our mistakes and “failures”. And I also know that there is one thing far worse than failure;
I never want to look back on my life and REGRET not even trying. Living a life of mediocrity. That is one fear that genuinely does drive me, every single day.
My life is changing at a quick pace now and it’s mostly down to taking risks. Starting up this blog, chasing my dreams, refusing to go back to the rat race, moving abroad, investing in my future, putting in time to learn and develop myself rather than partying, dating and slouching around watching TV.
These are all risks.
And I know they will pay off.