Fear is something that everyone deals with. Most decisions in life are usually made as a result of fear. If one fears death then one will refrain from partaking in activities that can cause it (i.e. skydiving, mountain climbing, etc.). We are all scared of something and our natural tendency is to avoid that something.
All Fears are the Fear of Failure
When you really think about it though, you may come to the realization that all fears tend to have one thing in common. All fears originate with our desire as humans to avoid failure. Failure is really the “thing” that we all fear. We don’t jump off cliffs because we don’t want to die. Death, in a way is failure–the failure to live. Therefore, it can be argued that, the feeling of “fear” or “dread” is essentially the physical/mental manifestation of your desire to avoid some sort of failure. It is your brain chemically responding in a way as an attempt to deter you from moving forward with an activity that has a possibility of leading you to some sort of failure. We’ve all felt it. There is no exception, even in the world of real estate investments.
Fear of Failure in Real Estate Investing
Real estate investing is not devoid of fear. A lot of investing decisions are based on the fear of failure, and many opportunities are lost because of this. I come across a lot of individuals who talk about getting into real estate investing, but never end up doing any deals. I believe that potential investors’ inherent fear of failure will prevent them from ever taking action and actually getting that first deal done. This fear of failure manifests itself in the form of excuses: “I’m too busy,” “I don’t have enough money,” “I don’t want to deal with tenants calling me at 3 am to unclog a toilet.” At the end of the day, these are merely excuses, and the real reason is that this person is afraid of taking that first step in order to get started, out of fear of failure.
I have done over 20 deals in my life (and plan to do more). It has gotten much easier with every deal, but I still get butterflies in my stomach and the occasional anxiety when investing in real estate. In reality, you are putting up large sums of money in order to invest and for those of us who were not born with wealth, this is a scary thing. If money is scarce, you are less likely to risk it and the potential failure of an investment is more impactful. This is a huge psychological barrier that most new investors need to overcome.
Face Your Fears
Growing up, as a young timid child, my mother would always drill me with the same advice when it came to approaching my problems. She would always tell me to “face my fears.” This is a phrase I heard often. When I went to my first dance party, I was told to face my fears when asking a girl to dance. When I learned how to drive, I was told to face my fears and get behind the wheel. When I went away to college for the first time, I was also told to face my fears. And although it does sound extremely cheesy, in reality this advice applies to everyone, in most situations. What my mother was trying to teach me all those years was that it is better to approach your problems head on than to shy away from them. This has stuck with me my entire life and every time I feel the anxiety in my gut before purchasing a rental property I always remember how I was raised to face my fears.
I believe it was J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, who said:
It is impossible to live without failure at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case you fail by default.
By not facing your fears and engaging in something that, while has some risk, has very high potential rewards, out of fear of failure, you are essentially failing.
The purpose of this article is to go out to all those people in this world who feel trapped at their jobs, to all those people who have thought about investing in real estate but never started. Don’t wait any longer! Face your fears! You will never reap the wealth building benefits of real estate if you never get started. By not getting started, you are essentially failing at it.