Fear and Irrational Overconfidence is the first part of a series going over prerequisites one should consider when starting a business. I personally like stacking the odds of victory in my favor to the point of overkill. Because let's be honest – absolute victories are the only safe ones. In this post we will be discussing the fear that comes with taking the financial risk of entrepreneurship. Using the principles of irrational overconfidence to weaponize your fear. And how the relationship between irrational overconfidence and fear allows you to tap into the confidence of your future self.
Make no mistake, choosing to bet on yourself is the king of risks: "are you worthless or valuable?" And when everything around you says you are worthless, you have to have the mental strength to take that fear and wield it like you're Anakin Skywalker boolin with the young's.
So lets get into it.
“The reason you are sad inside is because you know you are wasting your potential. I assure you when you are pushing hard to achieve as much as you individually can, you feel happy inside. Even if you don’t have the results yet.” -@Youngkingsrule
Distracting humans with reality, so they can be the life blood of machines, until death do us part.
YEEEEEESH!!! That probably sounds familiar.
A comfortable life is designed to keep you from realizing that something is wrong. That you are wading through a swamp of fear in rose colored glasses. Partying, a nice condo, sweet salary, scheduled hobbies, social media, dating apps, the FDA food pyramid, all things designed to keep you plugged in and producing. Beating down your mentals so that flipping the off switch on intellect is your only option to end the day.
The man is slick.
I once got in an argument with my mom over how the only difference between myself and a homeless person, is that I have more and live more comfortably. But am I free? Or working day-to-day to support my life? Freedom equals time + money; that is what I wanted. But as the routine of my life continued into my late 20’s, the predictability of my routine streamlined time. I found the years flying by and before I knew it I was 28. If this kept up, I’d be dead by Sunday. I needed to slow down time. I needed a life with more new things.
The Fear of Victimhood
"Through every generation of the human race there has been a constant war, a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them."Alexander the Great
At 7-years old I enjoyed competitive swimming. Not the greatest - I was joyously awful - just happy to be there. However, on THAT FATEFUL day, my brother and I were chillin on the patio - it's important to know my brother was breaking every 6 & under record back then. Then, two pit parents came to shuttle him off to his race, leaving me behind. I felt completely insignificant. The laws of nature were revealed to me: survival of the fittest. You are slow, so you don't matter.
I had to ask myself, “Are they right about me? Am I going to let them be right about me?"
A defining moment is a point in your life when you're urged to make a pivotal decision, or when you experience something that fundamentally changes you. Not only do these moments define us, but they have a transformative effect on our perceptions and behaviors.
Fear and pain. To be honest, I am not sure what prompted me to think I could overrule the judgment of an adult. But when I came face-to-face with my fear, I decided that I would pay whatever price was necessary to never feel like that again.
Fear is for others
"Cowards scream “don’t be afraid!” because this is the only way they will act. Ignoring the possibility of massive loss. Heroes understand—be afraid, then act. If you were more afraid of being average you wouldn’t be average. You need MORE FEAR”@Youngkingsrule
Remember, you made the decision to define your value on your own terms. Now its time to face what the matrix has been hiding from you:
- "If I keep working here I'll never reach my financial goals."
- "If I start a business and fail, I will be homeless."
- "My parents will be disappointed in my decision."
- "I'm making my company XYZ in revenue but they refuse to raise my wage from Z."
- "I don't have the money to travel."
- "What if nobody likes my ideas and service."
- "My friends and family will think I'm stupid."
- "What if I don't make it"
- "IS THIS IT???"
Good. Channel your fear.
My sophomore year in college, the morning of my best event, our diving coach gave a speech on nervous energy being a super power. That if one did not accept the power and let it flow through them, that it would destroy them. Now this sounds like some woo-woo-BS. UNTIL!! My event came around, and all of my training partners underperformed. I watched my last training partner swim slower than his seed, in the same lane as I, seconds before it was my turn to race. It's all on me now. And there it was, this pressure forming right under the base of my scull. With packed stands, another defining moment, hello again homie-fear. But damn it, burn the ships - there is only forwards. And as Coach Knight used to say,
"Players make plays."
I let the fear flow over me (shout out to my yoga class at UT), and placed first heading into finals.
However in entrepreneurship, there is a perception of two paths. You will tempted to return to the death fast track to and its comforts. But, In reality there is one path, unless you are a fan of the scarlet letter. Fear is a superpower to be harnessed and weaponized for success. Just like anything, you need the yin to its yang to keep you walking the straight-and-narrow.
Arrogance and Fear Sitting in a Tree
First of all, people have called me arrogant, and I would say “that’s fair” - by the popular definition: A self-assuredness used to compensate for a lack there of. But, absence of one thing does not mean the presence of something else and vice-versa. My arrogance does not mean I am void of fear. My fear does not make my arrogance fake. I feel both. But my strong internal validation is forced into a box that the normies can rationalize – arrogance. So, for communications sake, internal validation aka confidence, we will articulate in their terms:
Confidence drawn from an understanding that if one works the process correctly they will be successful. This statement is determined to be a factual generalization because previous conquests, in the pursuit of the vision, have resulted in a 100% success rate. Thus leaving no rationale to believe that if one is willing to work the process, any other outcome would be possible.
Lean into fear: Principles of Irrational Overconfidence
"Sometimes people don’t have the determination, the will, the steadfastness, the tenacity, they give in under the slightest struggle.”Mike Tyson
I have built my irrational overconfidence up since I was 7 years old. Essentially 23 years old into my overconfidence development. You will have to look at your past, analyze how you got here to this blog, and objectively convince yourself that you have a 100% success rate an a 0% failure rate. Ya, smells like BS, and I get it, I had moments of weakness as well. There is a bit of a "fake it till you make it" to it all. That's only natural as you allow time, and future conquests, to convince you that you can trust fall into your your own competence.
There are 4-framing tools for you to use to analyze how you got here, and build your overconfidence.
- Taking L’s
But, know that if you are here reading, you are built for this, full stop. You're mid pivot – we will get to that in a bit….
“How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher? The warrior? The tyrant? Or will I be the emperor who gave Rome back her true self?Marcus Aurelius
You are going to need a vision. Not a goal, a vision. Something that you can feel, see, touch, all the sensory joints. A vivid future life that seems unobtainable but is possible. Ideally, to the point that you can reverse engineer a few steps from it, but still have that chasm of “the process”, separating the future and now.
This is your legacy and mission for your lineage. That thing that will grant you immortality. Resolving to be an entrepreneur is the choice to be a leader. So the natural first step is a vision.
Like I said earlier, I faced my defining moment and decided to be the best. At that time it was just for the summer league team. I didn’t know how I would get there, what the process looked like, or the work it would take. But, the first step was getting on a relay. I was a breaststroker, and in practice, I had been cooking this kid chef boyardee style. When we went to the swim meet (competition), he got the A-relay spot while I pulled back up duty on the B-relay. When they told us, I was all the way charged-up-lets-go. So you already know how this story went down.
- The relay started.
- The first leg of the A-relay finished first, homie dove in, and dove in after.
- I ended that kid. Cancel Christmas.
From then on, it was my relay spot, never looked back.
“Paid the cost to be the boss”Snoop Dogg
Entrepreneurship will require work – given. But even more so, a belief that you are capable of finding the answers and completing the work to deliver a semi-uncertain future.
At age 11, I barely qualified for the Texas State Championships (TAGS). I did so, in the “last”-last-chance meet, in my last event of the meet. Naturally, if you are on the bubble, its probably going to get popped, and I got ethered at TAGS.
On the ride home from Dallas, TX I thought to myself, “I’m going to work harder so I can do better next year! ….but wait I did that this year.... OK, I need to work harder than-the-harder I would do next year…hmmmm, I should probably tack on a few years just in case”.
Yung wise brothahhhhh
I resolved to begin pushing myself like a 14-year old would. As a 12 year old, I won two events at TAGS, one of those being the event I had barely qualified for the year before. Thus, over-preparation was born, and time travel - more on that later.
3. Take the ‘L’ and Ask for a Second Helping
“In order to succeed greatly, you have to be prepared to fail greatly. If you can’t do both of them, you’ve got a problem.”Mike Tyson
Taking L’s is a losers mentality. Be like Lavar Ball, “Neva lost”.
No ‘L’s, only lessons. Next take that lesson and develop a plan. Overcorrecting and overpreperation results in less time to reach success due to a larger sample size of efforts.
You put forth an effort, you lose, and you learn from it. Success is finding the most ways something doesn’t work. Eventually you eliminate enough methods that you are left with the few that do.
This adds another layer to applying the effort of a 14 year old. I could not afford to try, fail, and learn for the next year. I was behind the ball. Not only would I have to work to compete, but I had to work to catch up to what their “working harder” was... then, outwork that. That way if I fell short, it would have taken 1-year to learn that a +3 years effort wasn't good enough. Versus me taking 3-years to figure out the same thing. Additionally outworking them, and potentially failing, still closes the gap.
4. Greatest Quitter who ever lived
“You know what they call that spot up on Everest? The Death Zone. Some people, they make it up, and then they make it back home. But there are countless more, f***ing dead, encased in ice for all time. That’s where you are now. And very few people can even survive on the available oxygen up here. Even fewer can perform.”Bobby Axlerod
Quitting does not exist on the way to your vision, it's a tactic. Pivoting is the quickest way to success. Often it occurs when you take enough L’s, that the only remaining way to be successful, is to take what you know and apply it counterintuitively. It will feel like quitting. But sometimes you might have to take a few steps back from the fridge to realize the ketchup was right in front of your face the whole time.
27-Olympic gold medals was my goal when I was 18. I’m not even sure that is mathematically logical. Obviously I didn’t accomplish it… unless I retire and on some level, as an instructor, am responsible for 27-olympic gold medalists.
Fear + Irrational Overconfidence= past, present, and future
“Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them embedded in their future.”Dr. Manhattan
Entrepreneurship takes the confidence that you are capable of doing something that 99% of the population is not willing to do. There is a level of arrogance that comes with believing you are that 1% without the proof to back it up. So understand that your irrational overconfidence that most don't have, is a necessity to doing something that they won't do. And when we use our fear and irrational overconfidence, we tap into the same psyche as the future self. Who's future success validates the pending success of our present conquest.
I love to Rock-Paper-Scissors over time travel during a hot shower. In the TV series Watchmen on HBO, Dr. Manhattan lives in the past, present, and future simultaneously. To the point where future you could communicate to the past version of yourself by having a conversation with him.
If you're thinking, "You sound crazy Dax", Consider this:
- Future you would be internally validated as an entrepreneur. There are no doubts that he is capable of doing the work to be an entrepreneur because he is one. Thus, past actions are validated as well.
- If future you has confirmation on the past actions, that the now you will take in the future, doesn’t it make sense to manifest that confidence on an objective-factual-level now? Doesn't it also mean that your success is a foregone conclusion?
Next Saturday - Part2: A Worthless Skillset and the title will probably change by then. Peace yall.