Fear is whispering.
It’s in your ear. And it’s getting louder.
“You can’t quit your job,” the fear whispers. “You’ll never find another one.”
“Don’t invest,” it says. “You’re not smart enough.”
“You shouldn’t travel,” it insists. “The world is dangerous and lonely.”
Hogwash. Baloney. Pfooey.
Fear is wrong. But the vast majority of people keep falling prey to its siren song.
How do I know? Because Afford Anything readers email me with their fears.
Of course, they don’t phrase the email with the words, “I’m afraid.” Fear works best when it’s cloaked as a more palatable emotion. It disguises itself as “reason” or “prudence.”
Here’s an email I got recently:
“My parents are so against (quitting my job & traveling) and say I wont get a job that pays well when I come back!”
“How do you explain that gap on your resume?”
And a final one:
“As a single woman, is it really safe?”
These are common questions, but they’re focused on the wrong thing. These questions are preoccupied with negative “what if’s.”
- What if I can’t get a job?
- What if I run out of money?
- What if I’m gunned down in a dark alley and no one ever finds my body?
No one ever asks me about positive “what if’s.”
- What if I discover a new opportunity that catapults my career and income?
- What if I meet the person I end up marrying?
- What if I transform into a stronger, savvier person who is more equipped to take on the world?
Most people search for roadblocks.
Here’s a line from another email I received, this one from a reader who is thinking about buying a rental property:
“Do you have any tenant horror stories?”
I get this question at least once a week, and it blows my mind. Why does everyone ask that? No one has EVER asked:
- Did a tenant ever inspire amazing change in your life?
- Are you more kick-ass at business, money and life in general as a result of lessons you learned from landlording?
- Have you deepened relationships with brilliant people as a result of your rental investing?
(The answer to all of those questions is yes.)
Unfortunately, no one is asking those questions. No one is thinking about the possibilities, the opportunities, the infinite potential.
Instead, everyone is too caught up on the what-if’s:
- What if the tenant doesn’t pay rent?
- What if the tenant punches the drywall with a sledgehammer?
- What if the tenant throws meth-fueled orgies?
(None of the above has ever happened to me.)
You are what you think, and your mental space is limited. Fill it with the myriad of reasons why you’re at the best point in human history to embark on a new adventure (whether that’s travel, career change, or a new business or investment).
We live in a world filled with cheap air travel, ubiquitous Internet, effective vaccinations and relative global peace. We have a job market that’s more flexible, entrepreneurial and skills-based than any point in world history. We benefit from long lifespans, a strong global currency and the widespread use of English around the globe.
What more do you want?!
If that’s not enough for you, nothing is. Nothing but your own inhibitions is stopping you.
True Story: Entrepreneurial Risk
Dietrich Mateschitz wasn’t the type of guy you’d expect to run a major global brand. In fact, it took him 10 years to finish college.
But in 1987, during a trip to Thailand, he noticed a popular Thai energy drink and thought to himself: “Hmm, a little rebranding could help that sell in Europe.” He formed a partnership with a couple of Thai locals and began promoting the energy drink in his home country, Austria.
The name of the drink? Originally, it was called Krating Daeng. He rebranded it into “Red Bull.” The rest is history.
And it all started with a flight to Thailand, a mind open to possibility, and a willingness to try something radical.
True Story: Ditch Your Desk Job
My friend Amy (name changed) worked at a boring desk job in Denver. She commuted 30 minutes each way in hellacious traffic, earned $20 per hour, and dreamed of escape.
She and a friend agreed to quit their jobs together and backpack through South America. They set a deadline and quietly began making plans.
One month before their escape date, her friend backed out. Amy was alone.
She could have continued working at her boring desk job. After all, it paid the bills. It offered health insurance. “I could build some savings,” she thought, “and pay for grad school.”
Amy quit her job and ran off to the Himalayas without any particular notion of where she might go next. While she was there, she met a good-looking French dude. They hit it off right away, and spent the next few years exploring Tibet, Vietnam and Australia together. They married in the Caribbean two years later, and continue to live on a gorgeous tropical island today.
True Story: Rental Property Magic
“This will never work,” my partner Will said.
We were scrutinizing the numbers on our very first rental property, and each new number was scarier and scarier. The property taxes were outrageous. The water bill was egregious. And the house was in such disrepair that the rental income was consummately low.
We were taking a massive risk, and we knew it. Buying your first home is always nerve-wracking, but in our case, that “home” was a 101-year-old fixer-upper in a crime-ridden area, and we were attempting to “add value” by renovating it into a beautiful space.
If everything went according to plan, this project would be insanely profitable. But in the meantime, we were scared sh**less.
We could have talked ourselves out of it. We almost did.
But like a climber clinging to a rock, we channeled fear into a re-commitment. Every worry was an impetus to work harder.
Today, this one rental property alone brings us $15,000 in net passive income. We’ve celebrated by buying several others.
To close, I’d like to share a line from the most honest, self-aware email I’ve seen in months:
“I have been reading for years and need to take action.”
THANK YOU! Hell yes!
You are what you think. Ruthlessly cultivate the thoughts in your brain.
Focus on possibilities.
Nothing is stopping you — other than yourself.
Thanks to Flickr / Sam Jolly for the photo.