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11 comments

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Posted April 19, 2009 4:30 PM by DrDoug

"Yes, it probably will get worse - possibly much worse." That's what I heard from my clients in the financial industry last fall.

These folks are some of the top performers in the financial world. They've stood the test of time and are positioned to continue to do so – despite these hard times. So what makes them so special?

Simply put, top-performers think differently than most people. One reason they have been able to survive decades of ups and downs is because they remain objective and detached from what is going on around them.

They feel the effects of the current economic climate, of course. We all do! But these folks don't get all wrapped up in worrying about it. Instead, they stare into it. It's as if they're looking into a crystal ball, studying the signs.

Top-performers make decisions with one goal in mind - to be the best they can be. They're smart. Real smart. They know one thing for sure – that in the end, they don't know much of anything.

That may seem like a contradiction, but it just means that the successful people remain humble and even-keeled. When things are going well, they're never too happy. When things look the most hopeless, they are never too sad.

The great part about coaching these guys is that they bring a brilliant and simple perspective into focus. Most importantly, that's a perspective we can all implement in our lives – no matter where you live, no matter what you do, and no matter how much you earn.

Here are some of the lessons from these top-performers that I'd like to share with you.

1) Have a purpose
Know what you want to do and most importantly why you want to do it.

2) Always have a plan
It's better to have a bad plan than not to have any plan.

3) Never take it personally
Setbacks happen from time to time. Accept them and remember to never, ever take it personally.

4) Be resilient
When Babe Ruth was asked, "What do you think about when you strike out?" He responded, "I think about hitting homeruns."

5) It's OK to be afraid
Being afraid is normal and natural. We all feel fear when faced with situations that are filled with uncertainty. The only thing that matters, however, is that when you feel afraid, you do not act afraid or fail to make good decisions because of your fear.

Dr. Doug

Editor's Note: You can visit Dr. Doug online at www.DrDoug.com or contact him by email: DrDoug@DrDoug.com. His next CR4 blog entry will run in two weeks, on Monday 05/04.

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#1

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/19/2009 8:03 PM

I am very much in agreement with this set of advice, though I cannot follow all of it since I am afraid of running out of money, and it is a good decision for me to react to that fear, by not spending.

Cut the cell phone off.

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#2

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 3:51 AM

The economy goes up and down always a has always will, just like The universe the big bang and then the big crunch, wait a minute the universe is accelerating at a higher rate, PANIC!

But seriously, those that will adapt survive and those that can't wont (unless you get some bail out)

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#3

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 4:45 AM

Thanks for this article!

This is really a good description of what it means to be proactive! at least by my definition.

The only part that's confusing is nr.3 - how can anyone take a worldwide economic crisis personally? I guess some people are very creative at building rackets to help them escape responsibility...

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 9:20 AM

Hi Patricia,

Thank you for your response. And for nudging this conversation a bit.

What I find is that people tend to get their ego involved (especially in hard times or challenging situations) and they personalize it – meaning they generalize the event to be about them or a personal attack against them.

I joke with my trading clients that just because you lose money on a trade does not mean the market is out to get you. The financial markets do not know or even care about you.

To your point, you are one of the few who detach from the source of stress…

How can a world financial crises be personalized to a single person. I agree, it can't; but people choose to let it. while no one would say they single handedly caused it (or even played a part in it) – yet that same person gets depressed and upset by it. Odd, I know. But that is how most people think and behave in times of crises.

Perhaps because it gives them a sense of placement or identity in a crises situation.

Maybe they feel it is better to be a part of something (even a bad something) than to be a part of nothing (and be on your own).

Social psychology has established numerous experiments over the years to support this concept.

I am not a therapist or licensed psychologist and I choose to focus my work on helping people move from A to B. I have found that the reasons behind a behavior are not essential to uncovering in order to modify the destructive behavior.

So, why someone thinks destructively should be less relevant than the fact that they DO think destructively.

People have their reasons – and sometimes they are very good ones. But in the end, what's the difference? Especially if the goal is to change the behavior anyway. I find spending time digging in that direction becomes over-extended and not even necessary to modify a destructive behavior into a productive one. I guess that is the difference between behaviorist and cognitive.

Thanks again, Patricia

Dr Doug

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#4

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 6:06 AM

Yeah, right. <Splutter>

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#6

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 9:32 AM

Of course the game is rigged, but if you don't play, you can't win! -- Lazarus Long

Some will succeed, some will fail. With hindsight, we will remember the names of those who succeed and call them skillful. But we are seeing a few trials of a zero sum game, and somebody must win. Are we being "Fooled by Randomness"?

I highly recommend this insightful book by Nicholas Taleb.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 9:36 AM

I am a fan of his book as well.

Dr D

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#8

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/20/2009 11:28 AM

Things will get worse......much worse if people keep talking down their countries economy!!!

Spencer.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/21/2009 7:15 AM

Hi Spencer,
I'm convinced that at least half of the doom and gloom is media created.
There must be droves of people with much more money in their pockets due to the mortgage rate being down so low... but they are doubtless hanging onto the spare cash in case things get worse.
I also blame the irresponsible advertising of 'free or cheap' loans... Consolidate your debts into one easy payment and have enough for that holiday of a life time....
NO YOU IDIOTS.. if you are in debt yopu can't have the holliday too.
Those adds should be banned.
Del

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#10

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/22/2009 11:52 AM

Hi DrDoug,

Nice article. To your tips I would suggest adding the ability to be able to identify and separate impulses from rational thoughts. Impulses are harder to resist when you don't recognize them, and often they can appear quite rational, because we rationlize them. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving in to an impulse once in a while, as long as you do so knowingly.

You Wrote:"They know one thing for sure – that in the end, they don't know much of anything"

I've heard this before but I don't believe it, at least, not in the way you've phrased it above. It's not that they don't know much of anything, I think most of us know we don't know much of anything. I think the trick is that they often know specifically what they don't know, and that makes them better at assessing risks.

Roger

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

04/22/2009 2:06 PM

"It is a great thing to have a mind so as to come up with reasons to do what we want to do." Ben Franklin. In General Dr. Dougs blog is intended to help us coach ourselves to "greatness", or excellence.

There are basic questions we have in common, like how to get the money to run our lives.

Then there is the swirl of questions that arise from what we know that may have nothing at all to do with basics.

Is the question a luxury question, or a basic question?

That we can know what we need to know, when we need to know it is the hope God offers. -at least in the all knowing all the time concept of an infinite God as applied to the finite life.

The more you know, the better questions you have to ask. Sometimes I do categorize my questions, and seek to be just as happy with what I know, as what questions I have.

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