Ask the Readers: Conquering Fear

Today, I tell you about why I beat the crap out of some kid in the 4th grade. First though, I have a question:

Just kidding. I promise to stop with the Airplane quotes after this post. Maybe…

While I’m sure at least one of you knows how to fly a plane, the real business we must get to is last week’s question when I asked you about your net worth. I didn’t expect anyone to answer. Boy, was I wrong. The post had more responses than any other I’ve ever written (over 100 just from readers!). Here are my favorites:

Joe from The Well-Examined Life:

At the time of this writing our investments hover around 225k without our (nearly paid off) primary residence.

In some ways I’m proud of this number. I’m a high school teacher and my wife is a commercial photographer. Our earning potential from our careers is capped. We own a rental property with a healthy cash flow, have less than a year on our primary, and stuff money into investments.

Still, while we seem to be on much more solid footing than even our high-earning peers IRL, I feel behind in the FI community. We’re in our early 30s and have been thinking aggressively for fewer than five years (I spent most of my 20s in unhappy careers, bouncing between low-paying jobs).

We’re making up ground fast, but damn I’m jealous of some of you out there.

I think Joe is doing wonderful. The average family has under $100,000 saved, so Joe will be just fine.

Congratulations Reader Cash Collector on closing in on the Double Comma Club. The first million is always the hardest:

Closing in on the first million. As of January 1st, net worth was $966,532. Zero debt of any kind.

Gentleman of Leisure:

I am more concerned with the amount of passive income my savings and investments are able to generate. Depending on the type of investment, a $500,000 net worth could generate massively different levels of passive income.

This is a great comment that was echoed by several others! If your passive income generates enough money to pay the bills, net worth doesn’t matter. I have a big nest egg because my investments don’t generate income.

Mr. Tako has a big one:

We’re worth a little over $2.5 million these days, and $2.1 million of that is in liquid assets (stocks, bonds, cash, etc).

tilMan is well adjusted, not like this guy:

I’ve found that FI isn’t about the money at all. My path to FI has increased my happiness by helping me discover what really matters to me. A true exercise in self-awareness

Hey Brian (Debt Discipline):

Reader SusieQ has the biggest egg:

$5M to add to a $1.5M recent inheritance. Retired 6 yrs (54 & 64). Monthly income $18K (pension & deferred comp $ payout).

SusieQ, may I borrow some money? Just kidding. Maybe…

Finally, some readers expressed sadness that their net worth wasn’t so great or that they were struggling. I thought a lot about some of these comments over the weekend and this is what I came to: If you’re one of the ones who is doing fantastic, never forget to be grateful for your position in life. And if you see an opportunity to help someone who hasn’t done quite as well, grasp it. An hour of conversation could change someone’s life. I’m doing just that in a couple weeks which brings me to my question for today.

 

How do you Conquer Fear? (and the Time I Beat the Crap out of Someone)

The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right. –Neil Gaiman

When I was a young child, I loved public speaking. In the first and second grade, I remember looking forward to show-and-tell and other chances to speak in front of the class.

About the time I hit the 3rd grade, it all changed. As a kid, I stuttered. Then, the orthopedic doctor prescribed leg braces like young Forrest Gump. It was during that time that I learned that kids love to torment the stutterer with the goofy leg braces. I also learned that beating the hell* out of one tormentor quickly shut the rest of them up. However, the damage was done. I receded inside myself.

I wasn’t so social after the 4th grade, even when the braces came off and my speech got better. I hated talking in front of others from that point on. The last time I gave a speech was when I was about 20 and had to take a public speaking class in college.

However, I wanted to push my comfort zone, so the Frugalwoods and I volunteered to give a talk at the FinCon conference a couple years ago. When we were turned down, I was a little disappointed, but much more than that, I was relieved. I told myself that I’d never speak in public again. Not so fast…

About a month ago, I received an email from someone at Colorado State University inviting me to come and speak. Here is part of it:

I was terrified and excited all at the same time. Sure, I dislike public speaking, but I love the chance to help some college students out. If I can just get through to one of them; just convince him or her to save instead of spend when they’re young, I could change that person’s life in a huge way. I quickly knew that I had no choice but to accept.

And then the terror of public speaking filled me. None of the typical advice has has ever worked:

  • Imagine the audience is in their underwear
  • Concentrate on one person

Blah blah blah, all of that is useless for me. Then, I read something in the Tools of Titans book (full disclosure: I’m currently obsessed with this book). It’s on page 137 where Tim Ferriss interviews Dr. Adam Gazzaley. Dr. Adam had this to say about advice he would give to his 30-year-old-self:

…have no fear. I mean, you’ve got one chance here to do amazing things and being afraid of being wrong or making a mistake of fumbling is just not how you do something of impact. You just have to be fearless.**

This went right to my heart. The thought I had was this:

It’s completely ridiculous to be afraid of this presentation. Fear is dumb and will inhibit my performance. Grow a pair and stop worrying dumbass.

Whenever the fear comes back, I think of Dr. Adam’s quote and tell myself to knock the shit off. I just won’t allow myself to be scared. And it’s worked so far. I realize the proof will be in how well I do at the presentation, but I’m feeling pretty good about it now.

So how about you Readers? Tell me of a time you’ve been fearful of something and overcame it.

 

*I don’t advocate any forms of violence. Stupid people fight, smart people find ways to avoid fights. With that said, I hope you learned your lesson after school that day kid.

**Mrs. 1500 note: One of my favorite quotes – the one that I think of when I need to put my fear at bay – is from Coco Chanel who said,

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.

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74 Responses to Ask the Readers: Conquering Fear

  1. Divnomics says:

    I believe fear has some real damaging power here. And found out that the biggest fear, is the fear to fail. Fear is something that can hold you back, and it makes you say: see, it didn’t work out. And sometimes you don’t even know it when it happens…

    Very recently I experienced this myself as well. I’m working on getting my motor drivers license. And in the lessons I take I wanted to perform at my best. I started to get scared of minor things (because it didn’t always went well) what made it worse. And by letting go of the feeling that everything had to be perfect, my fear was also gone.

    There are many reasons which can make you afraid to fail. But without failing you will never truly succeed as well.

  2. Team CF says:

    All the best with the presentation, you’re going to knock them out (figuratively, of course) 😉
    Team CF recently posted…January 2016 Savings RateMy Profile

  3. I couldn’t be happier to be reading this post this morning! All day yesterday (no, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Gasp!), I spent making a one sheet that I intend to use to try to book speaking engagements at local colleges about my personal finance story. We’ll see how it goes, and if anyone even takes the bait. I just feel like I need to expand my horizons and push myself to do something that makes me a little less comfortable. I will definitely be picturing any audience – naked!

    As for net worth, that is an awesome question and something I love reading about. As with everyone else, I like to see where we stack up. I’m just a little too gun shy to share ours online 😉

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • “I spent making a one sheet that I intend to use to try to book speaking engagements at local colleges about my personal finance story.”

      Wow, that’s really great! I look forward to hearing how it goes!

  4. Chris says:

    Glad you are working past your initial fear to give the speech! I’m sure those kids will appreciate it.

    Fear of failure is my biggest weakness. I hate being wrong, always have. I constantly have to coach myself through the concept that being wrong isn’t actually failure. I try to take the scientific method approach. “I was just testing a hypothesis”. Takes the bite out of being wrong. Sometimes the emotion wins. Sometimes the logic.

  5. “Failure is just another form of learning”. One of my favorite quotes. Analyze your failures and use them to come back stronger for the next round. One of my biggest fears use to be job interviews. I felt like if they didn’t go well I wouldn’t get ahead. After every interview I ever had in the past I was told I looked nervous, though people did take a chance me despite this. I conquered this by fixing the two things causing the fear:
    1) lack of experience. I’m now demonstratsbly the expert in my field so there are less stumbling blocks. 2) becoming financially independent. So if I don’t get that job or promotion it’s less impactful to my overall life. My last interview was July, I have the job and if anything I might have come off as cocky, but everyone said I was confident.
    FullTimeFinance recently posted…The Secret to My Financial SuccessMy Profile

  6. Jacq says:

    In some ways a very small middle school meant very little mocking / bullying in general. Because we all had to present, I guess I always figured if I was nervous so were my classmates and to cut them some slack. Very rarely are we in a position where we can’t correct ourselves. Even teaching yoga, ‘did I say left foot? We just did that, let’s all switch to the right foot.’ A bonus with certain things in yoga is its impossible to lift the left foot and then also the right in a standing balance, so gravity / physics helps out sometimes on the impossible things.
    You’ve got this!
    And I’ve got envy I didn’t have someone like you come visit my college.

    My fear story: I used to horse back ride when I was younger. I fell off and hit my head, (but no one is sure what exactly happened) ended up with a concussion and short term memory loss which went away. Months later when I was cleared to ride I was assigned the horse I fell off, and promptly bailed, but was assigned him again the following week. My aunt was there and talked me into giving it a try and I had one of the best rides! Proved I can do pretty much whatever I put my mind to.

    • “Very rarely are we in a position where we can’t correct ourselves.”

      I like that a lot. If I botch something up, I’ll just take a breath and start over. No big deal.

      And nice work getting back on the horse!

  7. The 1500s go back to college! Sweet, man. And a free dinner, too.

    I don’t necessarily fear public speaking, but my body responds in typical fashion with the butterflies and racing heartbeat, no matter how relaxed I feel. Years ago, I was given metoprolol (beta blocker — prevents rapid heart beat) before presenting research at a big conference, and it worked wonders. It doesn’t affect the mind at all, but calms some of the physical manifestations of anxiety. Just an FYI. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AnxietyTreating/story?id=4664846

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  8. Brian says:

    I had a similar fear of public speaking/reading in front of the class when I was young. I always dreaded it. I was always fearful I would make a mistake and afterwards be made fun of.

    Over time I learned to deal with the criticism, and use it to help make my next speaking event even better. I would seek out opportunities to learn. I took a public speaking class in college too. I read books on the topic. As I got older and had more opportunities to speak the fear when away.

    I still go into any speaking event a bit nervous, but always do my homework and prepare as best as possible. If I do screw up I can use that to improve for the next time.

    Good luck with the upcoming talk. So great you’ll get a chance to impact these college kids lives.
    Brian recently posted…Net Worth Update: January 2017My Profile

  9. Good post 1500. Fear is the root cause of many self-inflicted problems, and the modern world makes it tough to escape the fear psychosis – Like you, I am doing a small part to help quell it: http://tenfactorialrocks.com/stop-the-fear/
    Ten Factorial Rocks recently posted…Dividend Investing vs. Indexing – Part 4My Profile

  10. Interesting topic, as I just wrote about Fear last week. When overcoming fear, I prefer to examine the experience as a learning opportunity, realizing that even if I fail, I can still gain some value lessons which should help me to succeed next time. I also try to understand what the worst possible result could be and then decide if I’m willing to live with that result. Usually the worst possible scenario isn’t that terrible, but if it is, then maybe its not a chance that I’m ready for yet. Either way I can move forward confident that I can tackle the project, or knowing that it was good to walk away. Sometimes our best investments (decisions) are the ones we don’t make.

    • “I also try to understand what the worst possible result could be and then decide if I’m willing to live with that result.’

      That’s a wonderful way to look at it. Usually the worst never happens and even if it does, it isn’t that bad.

  11. I think I’m a conservative risk taker. I analyze, determine whether it’s a good choice and then plunge/bulldoze ahead with a decision.
    Considering I have a mom who is afraid of her own shadow and is somewhat paranoid, I have come a long way.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted…Focusing on my health in 2017My Profile

  12. Tim says:

    I used to have a fear of needles / medical stuff. I remember in the second grade I had to leave the room when a parent came to give a presentation about being a nurse. When I decided enough was enough I would give myself small doses of the fear by giving blood as often as possible. It wasn’t easy and I passed out at least 3 times. The positive action of giving combined with the body getting used to the fear led to me getting over it all. So for you I recommend telling jokes as loudly as possible in public places. The next time you go to the grocery store announce yourself in line or better yet over the loudspeaker.

    • I love how you got over your fear. I think that deep down, this is what I’m doing by volunteering for this talk.

      And do you think the grocery store would ban me if I told a fart joke over the intercom?

  13. I’m in the middle of reading that book. It’s going to take me awhile. Whew! I used to be afraid of flying, but I did a ton of research on planes and flight history and whatnot, and that eventually I let go of that control and have learned to fly totally fine. I basically also convinced myself that I, Tonya, am not the type of person who is afraid of flying. I became that person…if that makes any sense.

    • Yes, Tools of Titans is massive. You could use that book as a weapon!

      I understand what you’re saying and I’ve been trying to play the same Jedi mind trick on myself: “Hey Carl, you’re not stupid and you know the material. There is no reason for you to be scared…”

  14. Brian says:

    I have a couple thoughts to help ease your mind about public speaking:

    1 – By and large your audience is rooting for your success. As I’m sure you’ve seen from your own experience it’s far more enjoyable to be an audience member when the speaker is at ease. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of people you’re speaking to – everyone in the group is an individual just like you.

    2 – You’ve been asked to speak about an aspect of your own experience. You are the world’s foremost expert on your own experience. It is simply impossible for anyone to know the material better than you. Be honest about your own experience and you can not fail.

  15. Joe says:

    You’ll have a great time! It’s a small group and I’m sure they’ll love your talk.
    Fear? Preparation makes a big difference. If you’re prepared, then you can react to the problems that could arise. Also, sometime you just have to go ahead and do it. I find that I’ve been able to get through these situations without too much trouble. Even if I didn’t do a great job, it’s been okay…

  16. Very cool going back to school to speak with those kids. I wish someone like you had spoken to me….would have saved me years!

    I think you are also not alone Mr. 1500, most people dislike public speaking! Myself included. But I think you have the right strategy… you just have to push through it!

    Good luck!
    Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes recently posted…The Rechargeable InvestmentMy Profile

    • ” I wish someone like you had spoken to me….would have saved me years!”

      I know, right? I wish that I could go back in time and talk some sense into my high school self. I’d have at least $500,000 more today…

  17. Ms. Liz says:

    I so get this! One of the thoughts I had when I retired was that I wouldn’t have to do any public speaking ever again. Now I’m on my homeowner’s board and a neighbor is trying to pull me into a session similar to your CSU session but with local high school kids.

    I’m terrified but will think of Mrs. favorite quote when I’m up there! Thanks for the inspiration! And I know you’ll do great!
    Ms. Liz recently posted…Retirement or “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore”My Profile

  18. I used to be fearful of meeting people, and maybe I still am, but I’ve managed to deal with in one way or another.

    The way I do it is to just keep doing it. Eventually it won’t be as bad as I think. Sure, it would suck for the first few times, but I’ll get used to it.

    • Yeah, I don’t like meeting people either. I’ve developed coping mechanisms to make is easier, but in no way am I a natural at it. Keeping at it is the only way to get better…

  19. The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself 😉

    I can do fine with public speaking if I prepare well ( or convince myself I have prepared well). So if you prepare well in advance, and rehearse your speech in front of the mirror, you should do fine.

    Just make sure the speech doesn’t sound rehearsed 😉

    Good luck with your talk!

    DGI
    Dividend Growth Investor recently posted…3 Dividend Stocks Trading At A DiscountMy Profile

  20. You’ll do just fine! I agree with the others, the more you do it the easier it gets.

    I always experience a little fear when faced with a public speaking event. I found that preparation is key and I like to use the age old trick of writing key talking points on the palm of my hand as a back up. If I’m expected to answer questions, I like to have a few people I trust ask random questions so I can practice formulating my answers.

  21. Ms. Montana says:

    Good luck! I’m excited to hear how it goes.

    My one piece of advice about fear is to focus less on you and more on them. If I am just worrying about if I sound smart or funny, or inspirational then my nerves go through the roof. But when I really focus on the audience, adding value to them, and helping them the nerves fade away. Because it’s not really about me. It’s about them.
    Ms. Montana recently posted…The Highlight ReelMy Profile

    • “But when I really focus on the audience, adding value to them, and helping them the nerves fade away. Because it’s not really about me. It’s about them.”

      Nice point! Worrying about yourself is selfish.

  22. Danny says:

    My parents’ main hobby is that they both enjoy performing in amateur musical theater. From their experiences I’ve learned two main things about public speaking:

    1) As long as you are fearful, it means that you deeply care about your subject matter. Use it to your advantage.
    2) Consistent and quality preparation can overcome fear.

    A few years ago my father was asked to be an understudy for the main role in a professional production of an original musical. The producers of this musical were putting on a showcase to attract investors, hoping it would eventually lead to Broadway. Ed Asner was asked to take on the main role. Even as an understudy, my father only had a week to prepare before he met with the rest of the cast. He was extremely scared. My father only does amateur theater, and was now being asked to be in a professional production with the intent of attracting cash investors. So, every night that week my father and me would read through his lines of that script. By the time he met with the rest of the cast, it became quickly apparent that my father was better prepared to take on the main role. By the time of opening night, the producers made the difficult decision to remove Mr. Asner from the main role and give it to my father instead. All and all it ended up being an excellent show, and led to other opportunities like this one for him.

    My point of this story is that this is a wonderful opportunity you have with CSU to potentially do some great things. Wishing you all the best of luck this weekend!

    • Holy cow, that is a great story!

      And thanks so much for the tips and encouragement. The talk isn’t until the 15th, but I’ll definitely report on the experience. I’ll probably film it and post at least a part of it on the blog too.

  23. Dang, I didn’t know you had it so rough as a kid. Sorry about that. It’s interesting because many FIRE bloggers were the underdogs growing up. Maybe we’re made of tougher stock. 😉

    I’m also terrified of speaking in front of people. That’s really weird, actually, because I did a lot of theatre in high school and college. But speaking as yourself and speaking as another person are two different things in my mind.

    A traumatic middle school experience made me terrified of speaking to large crowds. Naturally I still had to do that both for theatre and my damn Speech major in college (I guess I love to torture myself or something).

    To get over my crippling nervousness (seriously, sometimes I would throw up), I played a character. I put on a persona of the person I wanted people to see, and I acted. I had nothing to fear because it wasn’t *me* up there; it was a character. Even if they criticized what I said, I still didn’t feel like it was *me*, so I wasn’t as afraid.

    Hey, it’s weird, but it’s a system that still works for me. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend!My Profile

    • “Dang, I didn’t know you had it so rough as a kid. Sorry about that.”

      And perhaps even worse was that my one of my parents struggled with alcohol. It was quite terrible, but I survived and am in an awesome place now. Life is good and maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today without those experiences.

      I love your idea to get into a character. I’m going to channel Tony Robbins!

  24. There are not that many things that really put fear in my heart, but…

    http://www.donebyforty.com/2015/11/as-i-accelerate-towards-earth.html

    I love that quote at the end of your post. If you really want to make a difference, working from a mindset of fear is not the way to do it.

  25. Mrs. BITA says:

    Good for you for sucking it up and doing this for those kids despite the fact that you are afraid. That is courage right there. You are going to blow them away.

    Kids can be right bastards some times can’t they? I spent my early years in Botswana, and then moved back to India. I started studying Hindi after I moved back and could never (still can’t, unless I’m paying close attention) pronounce one of the consonants quite right (there is no English equivalent, so I can’t quite describe the sound). One day when I stood up in class to answer a question the teacher had asked a bunch of kids made fun of the way I pronounced that letter. They kept it up for a few days before they got bored. From that day forth I never volunteered an answer again – I would only stand up and speak if a teacher demanded it.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…On the path to financial independence: January 2017My Profile

  26. Awesome opportunity to speak to and hopefully change the life of these lucky college students. I remember in one of your posts mentioning going to some financial seminar while you were in college which had a huge impact on you. You can be that person to these kids. There’s nothing to fear because you have such an interesting story to tell.

    • “I remember in one of your posts mentioning going to some financial seminar while you were in college which had a huge impact on you. You can be that person to these kids.”

      YES, I was totally going to incorporate that!

      Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  27. SpacemanFry says:

    I’m going to echo what others have said: preparation is key to overcoming public speaking fear. I think what we fear most about public speaking is making ourselves look foolish, and that can be overcome with preparation. When I first started having to present academic papers at conferences back in grad school I was terrified, primarily because I was talking before experts in the field and I felt I knew nothing. But my advisor at the time was a slavemaster when it came to preparing for the talks and he gave brutally honest feedback. It was painful at the time but it made our talks go off spectacularly and it taught me the importance of preparing and rehearsing.

    The other thing I would say is to take your time and not hurry during your presentation. Bring a bottle of water and take some sips in between slides (if there are any) or talking points to force yourself to slow down a bit. I find that nervous speakers rush through their presentation. I know from experience this is because your mind is racing so much that you feel time moving at different speed than the audience.

    I would give yourself at least a few days to rehearse the presentation out loud and maybe even in front of your wife. A mirror and/or video tape is also good. Remember, feat is overcome through mastery and mastery is attained through practice and preparation. If you start giving more of these you will notice you need less and less time to prepare and it becomes easier and smoother.

    Good luck! I wish I had had someone like you speak to me when I was in college. I would be retired by now 🙂

  28. “I am more concerned with the amount of passive income my savings and investments are able to generate. Depending on the type of investment, a $500,000 net worth could generate massively different levels of passive income.

    This is a great comment that was echoed by several others! If your passive income generates enough money to pay the bills, net worth doesn’t matter. I have a big nest egg because my investments don’t generate income.”

    I love this thought process, I know a lot of people who have hoarded case for years and have had essentially no passive income because of this. It used to be viable to have a CD ladder, but unless the Fed moves meaningfully in the near future, we may not have this during a lot of our younger working lives as an option.

    • I still remember when my online back account paid like 5%! The good old days.

      So my strategy is to get a property for passive income. We’ve also been doing hard money loans and private equity with fine results. If none of that pans out, I’ll just sell investments.

  29. Steven says:

    Best of luck with the talk, please record this and send to me via youtube so I can make sure to analyze this entire experience;)

    JKJK, I’m sure it will be fun, plus anyone who is there probably wants to actually hear what you have to say rather than some random lecture or conference.

    Also I fear nothing, not sure what you are talking about sir.
    Steven recently posted…Should I invest in my 401 (k) company match or Pay off Debt?My Profile

    • Ha ha, I am going to record it. Whether I post it is another story…

      You fear nothing!? Wait until you see my bulging biceps in tomorrow’s post! You will fear them. Oh wait, you’re laughing? Your laughs are just a coping mechanism, right? Right??

  30. Dee says:

    I feel it’s how you harness the fear, do you take a deep breath and say “yes this is scary but I know I can do this and look back at it and be proud” or do you sit in the corner rocking back and forth, too scared to even attempt it.

    I was terrified of telling my husband that I wanted to end our marriage. It was the most difficult conversation I’ve ever had and it’s still the toughest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and we are both happier for it. There isn’t a difficult conversation I can’t handle now 🙂

  31. Comtnadventure says:

    I’ve been a lurking reader of this blog, but this particular post struck a chord because it went to the heart of my drive for FI..fear… of not having enough to live on. Growing up it seemed like we were a paycheck away from being on the streets. I don’t even know if that was true, since my parents never talked about finances with the kids, and we never really were on the streets, but there was this ever present ‘dark cloud’ that led to the deep seated fear of not having enough money.I squandered multiple opportunities to be involved in ‘start-ups’ notably Amazon in 1994 because I wanted a steady paycheck direct deposited to my bank.

    Fast forward, my life was turned upside down because of changes in personal circumstances, the stock market melted down, layoffs were the order of the day. Everything that I had worked for seemingly vaporized in 12 months. Fear was a cold clammy hand that clutched at my insides like a vise.

    Something snapped inside and I decided to go out on my own and stop being afraid of not having enough. I had an education and swore I would never be under a bridge in a refrigerator box, so I would be fine and so would my kid, because the one thing I was never afraid of was hard work. My fear had made me my own worst enemy leading to poor decisions. No more, I still make bad decisions but it is not out of fear.

    Years of socking away into investments, including bullion and I’m finally getting to the point where I’m changing the mix from purely growth oriented investments to passive income investments and creating different streams of income that aren’t correlated. I trust my spreadsheet because the numbers on them don’t lie and I know exactly what assumptions I am making about the future, the past is irrelevant because you cannot change it.

    The way I see it conquering fear comes down to believing in yourself, and developing the confidence more than anything else that you have the ability and discipline to deal with whatever is thrown at you.

    Public speaking is all about that…if someone wants you to speak it’s because they believe you have knowledge that others don’t. That should be a confidence booster..not make you nervous. Most of the audience knows less than than you, someone WILL know more than you, and it’s okay to acknowledge THAT person as knowing more than you, and keeps them from turning into a heckler.
    Like others have mentioned, it’s about preparation and practice..

    From the Fool in King Lear, which that applies to FI and to speaking in public and so much more

    Have more than thou showest,
    Speak less than thou knowest,
    Lend less than thou owest,
    Ride more than thou goest,
    Learn more than thou trowest,
    Set less than thou throwest,
    Leave thy drink and thy whore
    And keep in-a-door,
    And thou shalt have more
    Than two tens to a score.

    • Lots of golden nuggets here, but this may be the best:

      “The way I see it conquering fear comes down to believing in yourself, and developing the confidence more than anything else that you have the ability and discipline to deal with whatever is thrown at you.”

      And this is something I’ve been thinking about lately:

      “My fear had made me my own worst enemy leading to poor decisions.”

      I fear fear. It’s bad enough that fear means feeling shitty for a while. But like you mentioned, fear itself causes issues.

  32. LadyFIRE says:

    I first read / watched Dune back when I was barely double digits, so this has stuck with me my whole life:

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    It never intentionally became a thing, but I find myself muttering it when I’m about to step out and do something terrifying and exciting. The biggest thing I take from this quote is fear is a sign you’re about to do something that will lead to personal growth. Embrace it, move through it, and once it’s done make sure you analyze how it changed you (hopefully for the best).

    • Dune! I saw the movie when I was a kid and have been dying to read the book. That quote is killer and makes me want to read it even more, Thanks for the advice!

      • LadyFIRE says:

        But which movie? I loved the three-parter, and then the three-part Children of Dune that followed it. But when I tried to watch the 1984 David Lynch version it was stripped down far to much. If you can find a high-def version of the three-parter (from 2000) I strongly advise it. My DVD copies have aged terribly.

        I’m also a big fan of the books, but I have to admit they’re heavy reading. How pre-teen me managed it I have no idea!

        • I only saw the David Lynch one. Like you, everyone who I know who has read the book, dislikes the movie.

          How are the follow up books? A good friend is a big sci-fi fan and he said that the series gets weird after a while.

  33. Mr. SSC says:

    Until my junior yr in highschool, I was short, had a high voice and my name rhymes with gay, so yep, I understand getting picked on mercilessly. I never got to beat down anyone that picked on me but I threw down a couple of times. I didn’t win, but I don’t think I lost either, lol. Not that I recommend that approach…

    My biggest fear after I left home was not being good enough or feeling good enough, whatever the hell that meant. I equated a lot of it to finances since we were so broke growing up. For me saying “I can’t afford it” equated to “I’m failing at life” which is the drumbeat of “not good enough”. It took years to overcome that and realize they’re not necessarily related.

    In fact, being able to admit you can’t afford something is the best thing you can do to become successful in life. I could’ve saved myself thousands in CC debt if I’d realized that sooner.

    Good luck on the speaking engagement, I’m sure you’ll do great! If it starts going downhill or you lose your pace, just take a breath and say, “Man, looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue”. Although they might not get it and may think you really do have a glue problem. 🙂 Either way, it would break the tension in your head, you could explain the line and then get back into your talk.
    Mr. SSC recently posted…January 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?My Profile

    • I’m sorry to hear you had bad experiences in school too. I hate stories like this.

      Tragically, I just found out today that a student at my daughter’s school passed away over the weekend. And it was most likely suicide. I have no idea if he was bullied, but it would surprise me. I hope you’ve found you peace Isaiah.

      Thanks for the encouragement with my talk! I’m kind of looking forward to it now, so maybe it won’t be so bad…

  34. Laurie says:

    My fear story is a little different. My husband and I are pretty much opposites. I tend to be the jump first, ask questions later type, while he plans, thinks, and worries. I’m all for early retirement, but he’s more fearful (in a good way; he’s inevitably kept us on the sensible path when I’m off wandering into Timbuktu). Anyway, as we plan for, save for, and prepare for RE, he’s really fearful of two things: healthcare costs and college savings for our kiddos. We plan to have about $200K for two kids socked away by the time they’re college bound, in 9 more years. But we still have healthcare costs to think about. What do you guys do? Any advice? Thanks in advance!

  35. Working Rachel says:

    The best advice I’ve ever read on fear is the book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” It’s a relatively quick read–two key points:
    1. All fear basically boils down to “I can’t handle it,” and to conquer fear you need to figure out that you CAN handle it.
    2. The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow–thus, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

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