At my live events I often play a really fun money game designed to trigger people default money behaviours in a way that they can see them and understand the consequences of holding onto these behaviours.
One of the most impactful money behaviours is what we focus on.
When we start any new venture, be it learning to ride a motorbike, starting to invest in a new asset group, learning a new strategy, or blitzing debt – one of the most important things we need to do is focus.
Sadly when it comes to wealth creation and investing, most people focus on the wrong thing.
That is what this video is all about.
For many people, the default behaviour in the focus game is to focus on loss and more specifically focus on how they can avoid loss.
You might be wondering what the problem is. Surely wanting to avoid loss is a good thing.
Let’s unpack why focusing on loss avoidance it’s not good for you in investing and in life.
When I first learned to ride a motorbike, I went into this trip with my twin brother. I could hear my instructors voice telling me over, and over…
“Focus on where you want to go, not where you don’t”
Your motorbike will follow wherever your focus goes, because where your focus goes, is where your head points and where you head point is where the bike goes.
Where you focus goes is also where your energy goes.
Where your energy goes is where you end up!
So we set off on this road trip to an area with incredible winding roads, complete with amazing views and the thing that accompanies amazing view – massive drop-off and steep cliffs.
I was still new to my motorbiking, I was a little bit nervous and as we came to the winding roads and bends I realised I was starting to focus on where I didn’t want to go.
Our unconscious is habituated to focus on risk, or at least what it believes is risky.
I was starting to stare down the cliff face.
I fixated on the rocks I didn’t want to smash into.
My brain started making movies of all the terrible things that I was going to experience as I plunged over the edge!
I went into fear.
This happens in all areas of our life.
In fact, it’s one of our more natural tendencies, to focus on loss avoidance, to fixate on the things we don’t want to happen.
Whilst at some level this may seem sensible, but when we are wanting to expand in our life and wanting to expand our wealth by learning new investing skills, focusing on what can go wrong and what we could lose can be the thing that prevents us from going where we want to go.
This is called focusing on loss avoidance, rather than focusing on creating wealth and freedom.
So there I was riding the motorbike and focusing on the edge that I didn’t want to go down.
I did not want my motorbike to go tumbling down that cliff because I knew, it wasn’t gonna be pretty if I did.
Even though I heard my instructor’s voice in my head saying…
“Focus on where you want to go, focus on where you want to go”
… my eyes kept staring at the damn cliff.
I thought I could cheat and pretend to look where I wanted to go by pointing my head in that direction and just sneak a peek at the cliff edge out of the corner of my eyes – but our body can’t be tricked!
This happens in your investing, in your wealth, in your life actions.
If you focus on what you don’t want, that’s where you will end up.
Despite trying to keep the motorbike going where it needed to go, because I was focusing on where I didn’t want to go and not on my freedom and having an amazing ride, the bike started to move to the outside lane and towards the cliff edge.
I started to struggle with this bike, trying to force is to go in the right direction and then suddenly I heard this big truck coming around the corner and I was in the wrong lane.
I was about to have a head on collision with a truck because I was focusing on the wrong thing.
I was focusing on where I didn’t want to go, on avoiding loss instead of my freedom and wealth.
That imminent doom jolted me back to reality.
True fear kicked in my real survival instinct which made me focus on where I needed to go.
I put my head up, looked where I wanted to go and the motorbike lifted up and went there.
I just missed that truck and got the best lesson ever on loss avoidance and why focusing on what we don’t want is so devastating for our wealth and our life.
I share this with you because most people focus on a whole set of false fears, they focus on things they imagine could go wrong – especially when it comes to their wealth – and in doing so, devastate their wealth journey.
They start investing and they get fixated on imagines market “crashes”, and losing it all!
The truth is all of those fears are completely unrealistic.
When you have a solid, structured investment plan in place, a strategy to follow, with asset allocation, with diversification, and an automated process to investing in these juicy index tracker funds, it’s almost impossible to lose money over the longer term.
But when you fixate on those risks, one of two things is going to happen.
ONE – You’re not even going to start investing because you’re going to be so paralysed by not wanting to lose that you forget what you really want, which is to create assets that you can work for you so you can have your freedom.
TWO – You’ll start and immediately get nervous. There’s nothing like doing something to bring your fear up. The very nature of doing anything new – investing, expanding, creating a new reality, whether it’s in your business, or relationship, whatever – is that it isn’t already in your life. And by its very nature, it’s outside of your comfort zone – so it’s going to feel uncomfortable and possibly scary! If you start focusing on all the ways something won’t work, on everything that could go wrong, you are going to contract and your energy is going to all be sucked there. If you fixate on loss avoidance instead of wealth creation, you’ll stare at the news and at the ups and downs of your investment, you’ll fiddle instead of following your strategy and you’ll scare yourself into stopping your investing.
So that’s real risk – the risk you never get started or if you do you scare yourself into stopping before anything can get traction.
Notice where in your life you are focusing on avoiding loss instead of creating what you want.
And then the one of the third really devastating things can happen.
There is a third really devastating thing that can happen when people fixate on loss avoidance – and it really is devastating.
It happens when we play the game at my live events.
When someone is fixated on loss avoidance, and starts to see their fear coming true, they do an even more stupid thing. They start taking actions to lose less!
They stop trying to win completely and instead actively choose strategies to lose – but hopefully lose less!
Those same people will often try and prevent anyone else from winning too.
I’m sure you’ve met those people who go around telling everyone else how dangerous investing is, just because they have no clue how to be successful in it.
The vomit their fear all over the place!
These are the most dangerous people to your hope and dream and especially to your wealth. Be vigilant, don’t listen to them and don’t ask them for advice! They will happily stomp on your dreams and give you loads of things to fear based on pure ignorance.
In the comments below I’d love to know…
- if you have been focusing on loss avoidance instead of focusing on creating wealth and what specific loss have you been trying to avoid?
There is huge power in becoming aware of our default behaviours. When we do we can shift our focus.
- If you know you’ve been focusing on loss avoidance, what one action can you do now which would prove to you that you’re moving towards where you want to go rather than staying stuck, just trying to avoid that loss?
Remember, your life is meant to be lived and money is meant to serve and support you.
Get into right relationship with it, become a great leader to your money and learn how to invest properly – that’s how we avoid loss and instead create wealth and the life we want.