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Another fear, and one I experienced during childhood, was fear of being judged. I grew up in one those households where if you brought home a 98, the only question that was asked was, “Did anybody get 100?” The 98 I got right wasn’t nearly as important as the two I got wrong.

Fear of being judged is a real thing and if we get judged and we’re judged harshly, that’s going to cause emotional pain or embarrassment. Most of us are afraid of emotional pain. “Wow, if I suffer emotional pain because I was judged harshly, I’m going to be embarrassed. People are going to know and then they’re going to abandon me. Gosh, I’m afraid. I don’t want to be abandoned.” Isn’t abandonment just another word for rejection?

If we get rejected and feel abandoned, what happens? We kind of clam up and we’re afraid to express our true feelings about things. We have a fear of becoming intimate. Letting people know our inner secrets. Letting people know who we really are and that’s a problem.

I’ve really learned that when you’re open, you’re not only open to giving, but you’re open to receiving. I kind of visualized it from the perspective of a little kid and they grab a toy and go, “Mine.” You ever see them do that? Mine! Mine! And, they hold it in. Well, the big problem with that is if you had another bag full of toys, they’re can’t get without letting go of what they have. They couldn’t take another toy. But if they have their arms open, they can get all that can be given to them and we’ve got to remember that too.

Another fear investors encounter is fear of the unknown. Not knowing what could happen is a very significant fear. A good story to illustrate is the one about the farmer’s daughter. Not THAT one about the farmer’s daughter. In this one, she is married to this fellow Hans and they live with her mom and dad on the farm. Hans is out hunting one day and the daughter comes home to find an ax stuck in the beam over the hearth. Right away she begins to fret.

What happens if Hans comes home and the ax loosens and falls? Hans could be hit on the head and killed. The young woman thinks of how she would be destitute. “I’d be desolate. I’d be lost without him,” she thinks.

With that, the girl’s mom comes in from milking the cow. She asks her daughter what is the matter. The daughter explains, “The ax is in the beam. Hans could come home from hunting, it could fall and hit him in the head and kill him and then where would we be? No food and I’d be all alone.”

The mother joins the daughter in her despair. The two of them are sitting there in front of the fireplace crying their eyes out when the father comes in from gathering the eggs. He asks the women what’s wrong and they tell him the story. “The ax, Hans could come home. It could fall. It could hit him in the head.” They’re so worried. They’re fretting over this whole thing.

Hans walks in 10 minutes later and sees the three of them there crying like lunatics. “What’s wrong? What is going on?” His wife tells him, “Darling, that ax is in the beam. You could go over by the hearth. It could fall out of the beam and hit you in the head and kill you. We’d be lost without you.”

Hans replies, “You people are sick,” and he grabs the ax and yanks it out and throws it in the corner.

Instead of taking action, they all worried about what might happen. Fear of the unknown paralyzed them. So many investors are like that goofy family. They worry about what might happen. Will I be a failure? Will I be a success? Will I be rejected? Will I be abandoned? Will I look foolish? God, don’t judge me because if you judge me and don’t like me, I’m going to feel bad, but what would happen if you did happen to be successful and you did make a ton of money and you changed your life. How bad would that be?

In Part 1, we looked at what causes fear. And in Part 3, we’ll examine what investors can do to overcome the “fear monster”.

In Part 2, we’ll take a look a fear of being judged, rejected, and abandoned. And in Part 3, we’ll examine what investors can do to overcome the “fear monster”.

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