Habit #6: Take action, even when it’s scary
We discussed the importance of keeping your goals in front of you. But there’s no point in keeping your goals in front of you if you are too scared to go after them.
You have to take action, even when it’s scary.
That’s another habit you need to master.
Successful Traders take action. Period.
If you’re going to have any success in trading, You must take action. Period.
Every successful trader you look up to started with the building blocks that got them where they are today. Whether it was picking up a finance book or learning how to read charts. Everything they did was a small action towards their success.
And you must have that same work ethic and mental shift.
It’s good to have an end goal or dream in mind. But you must remember your “why” and make a mental shift towards that.
Remember, you are a person who gets things done.
Fear of Taking Action is Understandable
Fear is natural and healthy. It protects us from doing stupid stuff (if you have common sense) That’s why you won’t jump off a cliff or walk up to a lion in the wild.
That’s because our brain immediately rejects anything that is absurd or ridiculous. We avoid ridiculous claims, especially ones without proof.
We won’t click on an ad just because it says “there are thousands of single ladies nearby ready to have sex with you.”
Dismissing the absurd saves us a lot of time and money.
Unfortunately, Fear can also mess with your brain and project the success you want in life as absurd.
Fear can make you reject the idea of wanting to be your own boss. Fear can make you dismiss anything you desire the most seem absurd and unrealistic.
But once we think rationally and come up with actionable plans, fear becomes easily dismissable itself.
And we do this every single day.
If fear won every time, you wouldn’t get in your car or take a flight to another country. But once you think rationally, calculate the risks, and determine the probability of reward we easily dismiss that fear.
Once you learn that you have a 1 in 11 million chance of dying in a plane crash or a 1 in 5000 chance of dying in a car accident…it becomes ridiculous to get scared about that. After all, you have a certified driver’s license; you have a certified pilot flying you to your destination. The fear of crashing is not going to stop you from getting to your job so you can make money or enjoy your vacation.
There are just so many factors that reduce the risks of driving or flying. The risks are minimal at best; and the rewards are too good to pass up.
And as a trader, you should also think rationally and consider all the factors that reduce the risk of taking action, even in the face of the fear.
Once you master this habit, fear becomes as absurd as a soccer commentator at a chess match.
What If You Can’t Overcome the Fear?
Let’s say that the idea of quitting a stable 9-to-5 job to start your own full-time trading career gives you too much “money angst.”
You don’t want to give up that stable check to take on such invariable risk. The thought just gives you real stress you can feel in your head and all over.
That’s fine. Feel that fear and let it wash over you like waves at the beach.
If you can’t overcome your fear. Let the fear come over you. Let it fuel you and be your motivator.
And it’s okay for fear to be your motivator. Sometimes you just need that wolf on your back.
So ask yourself what your biggest fears are. Now think of what you want to achieve and what’s at stake. Maybe your biggest fears could be:
- I don’t want to wait 40 years to retire, so I’m going start invest and trading now
- I don’t want my children to be without life insurance and a will before I pass away
- I don’t want to miss out on having a shot at meeting the love of my life so I will ask them out
- I don’t want to die being broke and in debt
- I don’t want be “the black sheep” in my family while my siblings are more successful
- I don’t want my children to grow up poor and struggle like I did growing up
Just ask yourself, if you died today? Would you be happy with all of your actions you’ve taken so far?
Fear doesn’t have to be a pretty or beautiful motivator. You are human and you have ego. So be it.
Fear can help put that ego to work and put what you desire at stake.
It is perfectly okay to act because of your worst fears.
It’s Just One Foot in Front of the Other
Taking action while you try to face your fears can be overwhelming. This is usually because you get caught up in reaching the finish line when you haven’t even spec’d out your car for the race yet.
Too many people get impatient or caught up with “finish line syndrome.”
You worry about how long it will take to get to where you want to be and what it will cost. What you need to focus on is one foot in front of the other.
If you are taking that trading course, just take it one chapter or lesson at a time. If you are cooking a meal, just get the ingredients you need to cook before you head to the kitchen.
Actionable and small incremental steps toward your goals are all that matter. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
It’s just one step at a time.
Do or Die
Fear is a natural part of life. It’s healthy to move with caution or discretion. But nothing ever got done without taking action even with risk involved.
A good trader never does anything without weighing risk versus reward.
At this point, all good habits boil down to do or die.There’s no way around it.
But even in the face of fear, you’ll never regret taking the necessary actions to make your dreams come true.