Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Stop Letting Fear Control Your Life

Reading Time - 4 Minutes


This blog post is somewhat reactionary, in that it has come about after some of the emails I received this week. I will not get into specifics on an individual basis, but the current running through these emails was the same –

People were peppering the emails with reasons to avoid doing something that they want to do. Small, strategically placed sentences that essentially said, ‘I want to do this, but because of ABC I don’t know if I can, or if I should.’

The actual excuse again is not important. Although, writing the word ‘excuse’, I come to the conclusion that it is perhaps the wrong word. An excuse tends to lean toward the imagery of someone who is lazy, and that is not the case. Instead, I would say that what was sprinkled through these emails was fear. I see it all the time, not only in trading, but in every aspect of life.

The truth is that fear is going to hold you back. It is going to stop you from trying, wrapping you in a fiend’s embrace, whispering ‘There, there, you’re safe here, don’t put yourself out there and risk failing and everyone seeing you aren’t worth a damn.’

And let me tell you something – I used to allow fear to control me. I was frightened to try new things for fear of failure. When I did try, that voice in my head made it ok to give half assed effort. I didn't want to push myself in case I then DID fail. That would mean that I wasn't capable, that I wasn't good enough.

My teenage years and my early twenties were dominated by that fear. I failed at lots of things and I passed up opportunities that I knew I wanted to pursue, but just didn’t have the courage to grasp. And those aren’t cute words to pad out this blog post. That is the truth.

Do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing.

And I mean that in terms of growth. I didn’t go anywhere. I was in the same place year after year, all of the ideas in my head locked in the cell of fear. There was a part of me that believed in myself, but it was almost completely drowned out. The excuses were there front and centre, always ready to chime in and make it ok to do nothing.

Living like that IS ok. A lot of people in the world do it. I would say the vast majority of people do it. They stick within the lane of their life, they try to keep their eyes focused on the road and they never look to deviate.

But I’m going to take a guess that you aren’t one of those people. If you’re reading my blog, then I can safely assume that you are the furthest thing from a ‘lane walker’ that there is. Even if right now you’re trapped in that lane, you’re here because you want to break out of it. Because for us, being stuck in that monotonous lane feels like we are being ripped apart.

You can get out of it. You can embrace the fear and take the risks you want to in life. Even if no one has ever told you before that you can. And what you will find is that although it is difficult and there are no sure-fire ways to succeed at whatever it is that you want in life, when you start hitting those excuses head on, they start to shatter on impact.

Make the choice to stand back and say ‘Ok, I have given it everything I possibly can and it just hasn’t worked out. But at least I tried’, rather than throwing in the towel through fear before you even start. Because the more things you try, the more effort you give, the more likely one is to 'stick'. Every successful person in any walk of life first started by taking the risk to try, and to give it everything they had. You might just surprise yourself.

When things started to change for me was when I decided to start pushing my writing. I was in my mid-twenties by then and had been writing for fun for a long time. I was the only person who ever read it. My reasoning was that if other people read it, they might think it was a lot of rubbish. I had literally hundreds of short stories on my laptop and I hadn’t shown them to anyone.

But I decided that it was the fear that was holding me back rather than my abilities. At that point, it was simply my fear that people would reject the stories as garbage. My reasoning was that at least if I tried, I would know for sure. Failure after giving all your effort is ok. Failure before you even try is not. Because failure before you try isn't verified. At best it is a biased opinion.

So, I set to work. I picked two short stories and I edited them. I started sending them out to literary magazines and sites. I braced myself for rejections and sure enough, rejections came my way. What was most surprising was that they didn’t really have an impact on me. It didn’t dampen my spirit or cause me to feel like a failure. I simply read the rejections and then tossed them in the bin.

A couple of weeks after I started sending them out, both were accepted for publication. One was taken by a literary magazine and the other by an online publication.

Suddenly that fear that had been holding me back seemed downright stupid. I had allowed that fear to control my actions, all the time thinking it was keeping me safe. I had already passed up on so many opportunities because of it, and here was the evidence in those stories being accepted that it wasn't keeping me safe, it was in fact holding me back.

After that I realised that even if I failed at something, it didn’t matter. I always had to first try it, and approach it with as much determination and focus as I could. You simply push through the fear and understand that the fear is the walls keeping you in your lane in life. For me, there was nothing worse than being restricted to that lane. Failure was easy to take it if meant I could break out of that lane.

Fear is there to stop you getting eaten by a predator when walking through a jungle. It is not there to stop you from trying to achieve your goals. So, stop with the bullshit excuses and get moving.

I hope you’re all having a great week!

James Orr


  1. Excellent article, James : ) Thank you!!

  2. James - your writing skills are very evident in this article and it's content is very true to life. Great piece of work.

  3. Good article.. going through your videos in youtube channel. After completing the beginners videos and other videos in your youtube channel, will subscribe to the prozone course. One step at a time. Will do this in Dec or Jan max. Thanks.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article and look forward to welcoming you to Zone Trader. Consider waiting until January, as there will be a discount offered on the course at that time. If you join the Newsletter you will get an email in Januray letting you know when this happens.