We spend our lives either pursuing pleasure or avoiding pain.
Obviously, pleasure is a far more desirable outcome than pain but I would like to focus on the acts of pursuit (guided by faith) and avoidance (guided by fear), as they will determine our outcomes.
Faith and fear are both necessary and it’s status quo when they’re both in perfect balance. That’s when life gets dull and no one wants that. The excitement happens when they get out of balance! You get to decide whether the excitement is good or bad by determining which side of the scales both faith and fear sit on. No matter what, in the long run, faith will move us forward and fear will pull us back.
- Fear looks at the Constantly Negative News (CNN) or the Bad News Network (BNN) and finds reasons to avoid investing in stocks. Faith understands that in the long run, stocks have always outperformed “safe” investments.
- Fear knows that each one of us is going to die and responds in denial by not talking about it and not planning on it. Faith fully embraces our mortality and seeks to make this world a better place for those we leave behind by talking about our legacy values, planning our wills and powers of attorney and by taking out sufficient life insurance to cover the long-term value of our incomes and estate tax obligations.
- Fear knows that there’s a high chance that each one of us will get really sick or injured in our lifetimes. Faith plans for that likelihood by taking out enough disability insurance and critical illness insurance to cover the income we lose as a result.
- Fear knows that we’re not achieving the status that we come to expect from social media and other shallow influences. Faith understands that other people simply want to know how much we care rather than what we wear.
- Fear knows that our expenses often exceed our income, that unbridled debt is consuming us and responds by engaging in more addictive shopping therapy. Faith knows that, just like a strict shopping list, a proper cash flow plan is the key to building wealth.
My son Matt has an awesome tattoo of two fighting wolves on his left shoulder that is a reminder of the tension between faith and fear. It is based on a story published by Billy Graham many years ago and is relevant in any time:
An old Cherokee grandfather is telling his grandson a story. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said.” It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, resentment, lies, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The wolves are fighting to the death. Wide-eyed, the boy asks his grandfather which wolf will win. The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Be mindful of fear as it can serve you but realize that often, it is simply an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Try to tip the scales toward faith!