I use to be one scary guy.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t scary in terms of being the big bad bully – no, I’m talking about I was afraid of just about everything! Rodents. Airplanes. Change. Public Speaking. Horror Movies. Heights. Heavy Metal Bands. Insects. Dogs (the big ones). Dark Alleys. Sauerkraut. Clowns. Trains…and so much more.
Thankfully with maturity and the help of Warren Buffett, I was eventually able to get over my fears. It wasn’t until I really started to learn about investing in companies and studying the best in the business did I noticed that when it came to fearing the stock market, Mr. Buffett was providing advice that was just as valid for everyday life.
Here’s three strategies I learned from the financier that helped me overcome fear:
1. DON’T BE AFRAID OF SHORT TERM SITUATIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES. I’m on planes a lot. After fifteen years of constantly traveling the United States I’m finally at the point where I can say that I am comfortable with turbulence. Not because I like it but because I realize it’s just temporary. Typically that’s the case in most areas of our lives where we experience the majority of our fears.
Maybe it’s an illness, a hiccup in our relationships, a horrible job, that spider in the laundry room – all are uncomfortable situations but like Mr. Buffett reminds us when we step into his world, things will go up and down and the key is to always remain cool, calm and collective or you’ll end up making a permanent decision out of a temporary situation.
2. BE OPEN MINDED TO OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. I remember calling several people asking for their advice about a situation I was dealing with on a job. I was close to losing it – not the job, but my cool (and my freedom). So when one person advised me to do one thing, and another gave their direction, then another said something all together different, I have to admit I was just a little perturbed.
But what I didn’t realize was that all of their advice, though it was an array of different outcomes, was a blessing in disguise. It provided different points of view that gave me a much better perspective on how to handle the situation. Mr. Buffett is constantly advising this same concept in his world to help curtail fear. He calls it diversifying and credits the concept to his overwhelming success. Even the bible speaks on this concept in Proverbs.
3. LEVERAGE FEAR WITH PROTECTION. I’m thankful for my big brother – especially when we were growing up and it came time for me to back up my tough talk with a punk at school. I needed that protection and knowing he would provide it made my fears a little easier to deal with. Everyone should have a big brother or something/someone they can lean on for protection. Mr. Buffett also thinks this is important as he laments to always having protection in growing your assets.
He stresses the importance of never risking more than you can afford to lose. That’s true in life as well. Maybe your fears will never completely go away but they will greatly decrease if you know that no matter how much turbulence you’re experiencing on that flight or how terrible your start up business is losing money, that if you have a backup plan in the form of insurance, multiple streams of income, or foundation of faith – your fears will be a little more at ease.
Learning to confront and handle your fears are important aspects of everyday life. Check out this funny but good video below on how to overcome fear and remember, you don’t need to be a stock genius like Warren Buffet to overcome fear, you just need to be intentional!
Shawn Dorrough – The WealthShift Strategist