Caution represents a weighing up of the risk and rewards preceding our decision-making. I like the quotation credited to Victor Frankl : “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
Fear represents an emotion that has escalated far beyond caution. False Evidence Appearing Real. Well intentioned nurturing can have a consequence of us fearing anything and everything beyond our narrow habitual comfort zone.
We are taught to be wary indeed fearful of strangers, and by extension that includes just about 9 billion people. Perhaps we’ve been inculcated to trust no one, inclusive the banks, retailers, the news, the weather forecast, statistical analysis, politicians…..
Healthy skepticism is something altogether different. Perhaps it is wise to use some discretion when attributing meaning to the information overload that bombards us 24/7. However when mistrust and fear of both the unknown and the wisdom of our times, we leave ourselves at the mercy of the ‘flat earth society’
The biggest negative consequence of living our lives in perpetual fear is the impact it has on our ability to make decisions and take action. In the absence of habitual decision-making and risk taking (action), our destiny becomes something governed by what happens to us, rather than what we initiate and are accountable for.
Median house prices in Perth were in the vicinity of $17500 in 1970 – an astronomical price no doubt in the context of those times. Purveyors of fear would have us bury our head under the pillows and await the nuclear holocaust that was imminent.
Median House prices had tripled over the next 15 years to over $52000. A different narrative was emerging – HIV and Aids was about to envelop the world, why would anyone in their right mind plan for an assuredly uncertain world.
In 1990 there was a sobering period of 17% interest rates. Median House prices were surely going to plummet from the dizzying $101,000 they had ‘peaked’ at.
In the year 2000 we had it on good authority that Y2K was the Armageddon we had to have. Perhaps that was the time to sell up and head to the most remote place on the planet until the fallout dissipated. Median house prices were now $156,000
Of course there are always some crazy people who continue to live their lives as if the world will continue spinning, and choose to leave the doom and gloom pedlars to do their thing. Prior to the GFC the median house price was $245,000. A few astute commentators predicted the carnage of 2008. Many of them had inaccurately predicted something similar on an almost infinite number of dates, but eventually they were right.
Many dived out of the property market in the face of such compelling evidence that property prices were about to crash spectacularly.
Fast forward to 2010. Those that exited the market got a very harsh wake up call. Median house prices hit $490,000
It is wise to always have an eye on Plan B, however it is most unwise to have no plan. Fear protects us from the ten per cent or perhaps one per cent of occurrences that may hurt us. Avoid driving cars and you significantly reduce your chance of injury in a road accident. Avoid flying and you very marginally improve your life expectancy. Avoid investing and you improve your odds of not losing money.
Of course the counter argument is a lot more compelling. Take a few risks and significantly improve your odds of living a fulfilled life. Start a business, purchase some shares, invest in property, invest in a qualification, ask the object of your desire out on a date, climb a mountain, visit a volcano and risk any number of failures and occasional slaps to the face but….the biggest risk in life is not trying and failing but in sitting on the bench watching the world go by and hoping something great will happen
Get in the game, fall a few times, get up start over and ultimately accumulate more than a few runs