If we were in the water and I were to whisper in your ear duh… duh… duh… duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-DUH, those of you who grew up in the 80s will show signs of unease.
We are the Jaws generation. A subset of Gen X whose parents let them watch Jaws way, way too young and now scream at every brush of seaweed against their limbs.
In my 20s, I once went swimming alone in an indoor pool at the Bournemouth summer school I was teaching at. While the very real danger was in swimming unaccompanied and drowning, the experience was one of the most terrifying of my life because of Jaws.
For my after-hours swim, I’d turned half the fluorescent lights on, mindful of the electricity bill even then for some reason. The glare of the lights reached the shallow end on the left, but the righthand side of the pool was gloomy.
As I windmilled my arms and backstroked to the deep end, I started thinking about sharks.
About how one could grab me from underneath and I’d never see it coming. I flipped over onto my stomach for the next length, my heart beating way faster than breaststroke warranted.
I knew, obviously, that there was no shark in the pool, not even at the dark end. But my fiction-creating brain was hard at work long before I became a writer, and I started to think… What if my fear is powerful enough to open up a hole in the ether for a shark in the ocean to glide through into the water here?
I had to get out. Immediately.
A version of that fear is with me any time I go in the sea at any depth, and even freshwater if I can’t see the bottom.
I think we’ve all absorbed a lot of fears around money, and investing in particular. Our imaginations are so powerful they conjure up elaborate scenarios where we’ve lost all our money. So we don’t dare dip even a toe in the water, or we jump out as soon as we can.
I’d love to end this story by saying how I’ve overcome my fear of sharks.
But, not long ago, I was reading a news story about an 8-foot Great White, washed up dead on the beach in Long Island. As I was morbidly staring at the photo of it’s huge, gaping mouth and vacant eyes (check it out here if you dare), my phone beeped wth a message and I jumped out of my skin.
The good news is that if you’ve got fears about the risks of investing, you can easily switch on all the lights and make the bad thoughts go away.
Knowledge of investing and a bit of mindset work is all it takes to overcome the fear and start earning money from your money.