Success and Fear: Life’s Oil and Water
The human brain is an infinitely mysterious organ, but simple when it comes to our happiness, contentment and fears. Unfortunately the latter emotion is the most powerful of the three in far too many people, especially when it comes to their careers. Thirty percent of people said their biggest fear is making a mistake, according to a Robert Half International survey in 2012. The National Institute of Mental Health found that 6.3 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 54 have some type of specific phobia.
Fear mostly comes from people’s inability to believe in themselves, while perpetually comparing their own achievements with others. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously and correctly told Americans in his First Inaugural Address that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Once we embrace this truism by the last man to serve more than two terms as U.S. President, we can focus on living a satisfying, fulfilling life.
The first thing to determine is what actually constitutes financial success to them. Is it being able to log into your checking account online and see a six-figure balance? Is it being able to provide food, water, shelter and protection for your family? Regardless, whatever constitutes financial success to you must be personally unique and not an attempted emulation of someone else. The common-sense, yet often ignored, pathway to financial success is to simply live within your means. A 2012 study by the National Financial Literacy Survey found that 56 percent of Americans have no budget at all, and nearly 40 percent carry credit card debt. There is no shame in getting outside advice on your finances. You can always obtain advice from a large asset management company like Raymond James, or go with smaller companies like Liquid Holdings, ran by financial guru Brian Ferdinand.
There is no simple way to define a successful family. Some researchers, according to a 1990 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, say a high degree of marital happiness, satisfying parent-child relationships, and meeting each others’ needs constitutes family success. But it doesn’t take a professional for individuals to identify activities and encounters that make them feel good or bad. Women are the primary culprits of staying in relationship even though it does nothing but bring negativity to their lives. A study by the National Institute Of Health found that 54 percent of women surveyed stayed with their emotionally abusive husbands because they perceived them as dependable. Fear of the unknown is also a common deterrent. A successful family is the root of success in every other aspect of life.
A great social life can only be achieved when true to yourself and not conveying a perpetual lie to others. Social interaction of the 21st century has changed dramatically with social media, text messages and emails. This virtual world has many people believing they have 300-plus “friends” because that is how many people are in their Facebook network. A Pew survey found that 31 percent of people’s Facebook “friends” are not classified as close friends, family or co-workers. Lee Iacocca, the inventor of the Ford Mustang, had the best advice when it comes to social lives: “[W]hen you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.”
Dionne is a financial advisor and finance writer for several online publications. She lives and writes in North Dakota.