I regularly use my own fears for my own personal gain. I normally don’t advise to embrace fear. But some fears can motivate you to accomplish things that your self-will couldn’t crush on its own. Those are the fears that are wise to embrace and use as an amplifier in your wealth-building strategy.
Personally, my greatest fear is living a life below my potential, and choosing an “easy” and “meaninglessness” life over a “challenging” and “innovative” life I dream of living. My greatest fear is just being another piece of sewage floating down a massive sewer pipe of life. I use this fear to motivate me to save all the money I can and invest it religiously. My goal is to have all the time and resources I need to practice my talents; take all the smart risks I can; so I can un-mercilessly fly away from an ordinary life, and land in the enchanted forests and mountains of a totally extraordinary life.
I’ve used the below three big fears to push me to save and invest more money than I’ve ever thought possible. I’m trying to build a financial barrier between the life I want to live, and the fear of living a life I don’t want to live.
Here Are My Three Big Fears That Push Me Closer Toward Financial Freedom Every Day:
#1 The fear of calling family members and asking for help.
I was blessed to be born into a family of financially-wise savers and investors. But it hasn’t always been this way. My family history is like a novel about people who took risks, became rich, lost it all, but ultimately rebounded throughout many different economic landscapes along the way.
My grandparents were probably two of my biggest financial inspirations. They were financially independent during most of the time I knew them. They had a paid off house, cabin on a lake, and several income streams after a long working and dividend-stock investing career. But they didn’t just tell me to save. They explained why they saved, and why I should save.
I learned about the great depression through them. I learned that their families were once wealthy business owners in the late 1800’s. My grandfather even grew up in an iconic mansion that my great, great Grandfather built that still stands in St Paul, Minnesota. Here is a picture of it, and a link to it’s history (12+ decades after it was built, I was named after it, The William Banholzer Mansion):
But I also learned that my great, great grandparents lost virtually all of their wealth when the great depression hit in the 1930’s. They saw first-hand what being frivolous with spending could lead to, and what could happen if they were over-leveraged when the economy falls apart. This period of American History which occurred when my grandparents were just children, inspired them to save every penny they made so that financial ruin would never happen to our family again.
This led to my grandparents having a lot of pride on how they re-positioned themselves for success after ruin and rebuilt their family fortune. Because I was born into this family, I also grew up with alot of pride about who I am. But pride can work both positively and negatively. My pride doesn’t like me to show weakness. I don’t like to look like a failure. I don’t like to be laughed at, or condescended. And because of my pride, one of my biggest fears in life is having to swallow my pride, and ask a family member for financial help because I made dumb decisions with my money.
But rather than be crippled by this fear of asking for help, I embrace it. I am afraid of being dependent on another person for my success. Therefore, I save and invest every penny I can so I can make my grandparents, who have since passed away, proud of me.
#2 The fear of taking a job I don’t want to take because I need money.
I have strong memories of jobs I either didn’t like, or made me feel like they were roadblocks in my life. They were so long ago they almost seem like nightmares. I remember hating to have to ask a boss for time off of work, and having my freedom regulated by another person’s discretion. One of my biggest fears that pushes me toward saving and investing, is taking a job I don’t want to work at because I need the paycheck.
I have solved my distaste for working by becoming self-employed, and managing a variety of businesses that I genuinely enjoy working at. But when you become self-employed, you quickly realize that it’s not always easy and glamorous as taking days off whenever you want or doubling your income. Being self-employed is also a hard, scary, and unpredictable journey. You’re always protecting yourself from a bad month, lost client, or total economy collapse that you have nothing to do with. My way of coping with this fear is to save every dollar I can while I am self-employed, so that I’ll never have to work at a job I don’t want to be at ever again.
It’s taken me six years, and thousands of rejections and mistakes, to create a few successes and build my current lifestyle. Being self-employed in jobs I actually enjoy doing means I have the time and freedom to pursue the aspects of life that are fascinating, important, and meaningful to me. If I don’t like what I am doing, I can change it. I think that’s the biggest gift that financial freedom can give a person: If you don’t like something, you have the resources, time, and energy to help you change it.
The fear of working for a manager who expects me to sacrifice things I want, for the goals they want, is a fear that drives me to save 50% of my income. That way, even if bad things happen to me, I still have enough money to get me through a tough stretch, and will have the time to re-invent myself into a new career that is important to me.
#3 I don’t want to die thinking I didn’t do enough to help people.
My fear of not doing enough to help people during my time alive, motivates me to keep evolving, innovating, and re-creating myself every day. I remind myself that I can always push and reach a little bit father to try to get a little bit better. I have a deep down desire to help people. Every day I realize I am going to die one day. That realization makes me want to do everything I can to help other people while I am here. I always want to push myself, so that other people can look at me, and find the courage to push themselves just a little bit further than they thought possible.
Having a ton of money isn’t the end goal for me: It’s the beginning goal. Because once I don’t have to worry about money, I can start focusing on achieving my purpose, which is the most important thing to me in life. This is why I write about money management on this blog which is really about creating purpose. Because when you don’t have to worry about money, you can focus on so many bigger and more important things in life. Things like: Finding your deepest, and most authentic ideas, and turning those ideas into your reality.
To me, this dream-life I am seeking is perfectly summarized in this Bible Verse, Mathew 5:14: “You are the light of the world – A city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a light is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see…”
Embrace your fears. Use them to motivate you. Save your money so you no longer have to trade your valuable time alive for money. Then once you’re free to explore all the time in the world, use your time to transform yourself into the extraordinary person you dream of being.
Ultimately, devote your life to helping other people who were once like you, find the same peace, purpose, and happiness that you have found.
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