Fear Factor Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

My paralysis was real, or at least it felt real.

Fear is an emotion, and the source of an emotion is complicated and challenging to identify. Logically, I knew if I was going to productively deal with my fear, I needed to do my best to isolate where it was coming from. I started with Del’s often repeated definition of fear: false evidence appearing real.

What was the “false evidence” that was sub-consciously plaguing me? As I considered the possibilities, I could imagine purchasing a house that didn’t cash flow, didn’t have equity, and no tenant would want to live in it, at least a tenant that was willing and able to pay rent. And what about 101 things that could go wrong once I purchased it, like a seized up A/C unit, a roof leak, or a broken pipe behind the wall? All of these images seemed like real possibilities, so were they really false evidence?

I concluded yes. None of these unfortunate realities had ever happened to me, none of them were currently happening to me, but I believed that they were going to happen to me, and thus it was easy to recognize that Del’s definition of fear was holding true. They appeared real; causing me to be certain that the worst of them were going to happen. My solution? Don’t buy a house so that I could insure that they never happened. By doing nothing, it was any easy way to get rid of the fear.

But this resolved nothing. Like most everyone else, I have a strong desire to become financially independent, and I had already wasted too many years implementing this same “solution” over and over again. I needed a better solution.

I began to give more thought to the concept of independence, how important it was to me, and how much I’d like to achieve it. The irony about independence, as opposed to dependence, is that nobody can give it to you; you have to earn it yourself or you really don’t have it. There’s no short cut. It requires focus, effort, and above all else, some level of risk. As I zeroed in on that word “risk,” I had the sense that I might be finally making some progress to deal with my fear.

I flipped the word risk upside down. We usually think of risk as associated with the worst result that can happen to us if we take some initiative. For a moment, I began to consider the worst result that could happen to me if I DIDN’T take some initiative. The paradigm shift I needed suddenly happened. The risk equation needed to be balanced, and my focus had been so concentrated on what might happen, I was not giving proper recognition to what most assuredly would NOT happen: financial independence.

Finding this balance between the risk of taking action versus the risk of not taking action, became the secret to me finally taking action, and ultimately success.

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