How to Defeat Your Inner Chicken Little

How the rich overcome cynicism

"The sky is falling!" - Chicken Little

Most of us know the story of Chicken Little, who ran around the barnyard crying out about impeding doom after an acorn fell on her head. In the story, the sky is not falling, of course, but to Chicken Little, facts didn't matter. Rather than investigate and learn what was happening, Chicken Little panicked and spread her fear to others.

All of us know people who are like Chicken Little. And, if we're honest, we all have an inner Chicken Little who comes out in the face of fear and doubt.

Ultimately, if unchecked, our inner Chicken Little turns us into cynics who always see danger and never take action. If you have any hope of being rich, you must learn to overcome this cynicism in your life.

1. Stop asking, "What if?"

When it comes to our money, we too often play the "What if?" game. We ask questions like, "What if the economy crashes after I invest this money?" "What if I lose control and can't pay the money back?" "What if things don't go as planned?"

Compounding our "What if?" game is friends and family who also speak into our life and tell us that our investments and businesses are too risky, will never work, or are not a good idea. These words of doubt often become so loud that we fail to act. Instead, we play it safe.

The "What if?" game is really just noise. And this noise distracts us from great opportunities in front of us. People in the 1950's, for instance, asked, "What if there is nuclear war?" They then spent minor fortunes on fallout shelters and spare food. Nuclear war never came and that money was lost. If they'd invested their money, they'd be financially free today.

In order to be rich, you must stop asking, "What if?" and start asking, "What is?"

2. Find good advisors

Many years ago, our friend Richard visited us in Phoenix. He was impressed with what Kim and I had done with investing in real estate. At the time, Phoenix real estate prices were depressed, and we spent two days showing him around the city, brining him to what we thought were great real estate investments for cash flow.

Richard found an investment that he liked, a two-bedroom townhouse for $42,000. Similar units were going for $65,000. He found a bargain, and we called an agent. He went back to Boston ready to close. Two weeks later the agent called and said that Richard had backed out of the deal.

I called Richard to find out what happened. "My neighbor said it was a bad deal," he told me. "Is your neighbor an investor?" I asked. He said “No.” When I asked why Richard would listen to his non-investor neighbor, he became defensive and simply said he wanted to keep looking.

Richard's neighbor was a bad choice in advisors. Often, when we're battling fear or doubt, our inner cynic will seek out advisors who will validate our fear with "What if" rather than with "What is". A good advisor will be knowledgeable and help you see reality.

3. Focus on the big picture

Rich dad said, "Cynics criticize, and winners analyze."

When I speak to people about investing in real estate, they often tell me they're not interested in real estate because they don't want to fix toilets. Those are the words of a critic and a cynic. They are the words of someone that can't see the big picture.

When someone says, "I don't want to fix toilets," they're saying that little problems like toilets are more important than their financial freedom, which is the big picture. I talk about getting out of the Rat Race and they talk about toilets. That thinking keeps most people poor.

The rich find a way to make their "I-don't-wants" into keys for success. For instance, I don't want to fix toilets either. But instead of making that a reason not to invest in real estate, I find a good property manager that does want to fix toilets. The rich find a way—the cynic finds excuses.

4. Take action

A cynic says, "I don't want to lose money," and does nothing. The reality is that they probably won't lose money, but they won't make any either. A cynic's inaction keeps him poor.

A while back, a friend of mine who is a Chicken Little told me all the reasons why the price of oil was going up. He was worried and did nothing with the information, much of which was new to me. Later, I went home, did my own research, verified what he was saying, and instead of worrying, got excited.

With that information, I immediately began looking for and found a new, undervalued oil company that was about to find some oil deposits. I bought 15,000 shares for $0.65 per share. A few months later those shares were worth $3 per share.

My cynic friend did nothing but worry. I got good information and acted. One of us is rich; the other is not.

5. Invest in financial education

All the examples I've shared in this post required high financial intelligence. Knowledge is power, and it's the new money. It is your knowledge that makes you rich at the end of the day...and it's knowledge that casts out fear and doubt. In order to overcome your cynicism, you'll need to change your thinking. The best way to do that is to invest in a financial education that helps you see in a new way how money works. Then it's go time.

What are you going to do today to increase your financial education?

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