Saturday, July 23, 2016

Facing our Fears along the WAY

Step into the fire of SELF-discovery. It will not burn you, it will burn what you are not. (Moji)

I remember how one of our star-investors described the experience of the job we have to do.  He said, imagine that after a speech you are the first to start clapping. And say eventually everyone joins in but you have already moved on and give a standing ovation while everyone else is still sitting. Just imagine how embarrassing it would be if you are clapping while everyone remains silent, or if you are standing up while everyone else remains seated. Well, that's the job an investor has to do, always leaning against the wind to find that opportunity that others haven't been willing to embrace yet. 

I am sure some people would love this kind of excitement, but I hate drawing attention to myself. That's why this comparison spoke to me so much. And while I passionately hate being wrong it just so happen to come with my job so I stick my neck out when I have to. A man got to do what a man got to do, right?

All these thoughts were coming to me when I awoke from a strange dream; a nightmare really. I dreamt that I had invited my neighbor over for coffee. I was the neighbor who lives in that big mansion next to me, and who always keeps a safe distance and hardly talks to me. The problem was that we somehow met at my old parent's old home that was woefully ill-prepared for this social encounter. We had an awkward small-talk and I did my best to put something together for him but I had neither the ingredients nor the pottery to make it work. In any case, we somehow coped, surrounded by dust, both of us tried our best to make our encounter a successful one.

What are your fears? I just described two deep-rooted fears of mine. Like inviting people over to my home. I always go overboard preparing for it to somehow overwrite my subconscious shame of having had an untidy childhood home, or I try to push it out for as long as possible until my wife starts complaining. So I cope as best as I can to minimize the pain of my social anxiety, while I simply can't do anything about my other fear, the anxiety to be caught on the wrong side of an investment call. I simply have to face it in order to earn my living. But isn't that how everyone copes with their fears? Some they dutifully face, day in, day out, while others they try to escape from as best as they can until life tells them that they can't.

All of us have "irrational" childhood fears and all of us have a mission in life. All of us have a support system to draw from and all of us have to offer the same support to others. Life acts up if we are unwilling to face our fears or unwilling to do our job. The surprising development in my dream was that my neighbor worked really hard to make this visit work. And that's exactly what happens in real life. The unexpected help from unexpected places will make the harrowing experience a little less so. Maybe we spiritual travelers have to work a bit harder than the rest, but it is worth our while. The older we get the more out-of-place the mask we refuse to take off will be. Be bold, stand up and clap while everyone is still sitting in silence.

No comments: