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Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understand?

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Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 9, 2007
So I've been thinking a lot lately about my attitudes and feelings toward money. I often look at the people I am surrounded by (my bosses, my brother, etc) and I think that I see money and "security" differently.

I'm trying to figure out if this is something I can overcome and change, or if not, how do I best embrace the way I feel and make sure I act accordingly?

I know they say entrepreneurs are usually the type of people that when they are low on money, having a bad day/month/year, they get MORE creative and figure out solutions to get themselves out of the jam. I feel that I am the opposite and can look back on my old sales jobs and other situations for confirmation.

When I was selling well, making money, etc I was flying high. If I had $5,000 in the bank I was fine and NEVER worried. Cool, calm, confident with my prospects and not worried about making the sale. I knew I would make my sales, and in turn my money.

But things were very different when I was down to my last $50, and often times I was. I have liabilities that I never thought about when I had $5k in the bank, but as soon as I was low, I started worrying and selling out of desperation, and obviously that never worked as well as the cool, calm and collected attitude. :nonod:

I bring this up because I find myself looking at the real estate developers I work with who are sometimes leveraged into the $100,000,000's and down to little cash on hand. I can never tell the difference in their behaviors, attitudes, etc when they've just made or lost a million bucks. I point this out because I think this is a HUGE reason they are so successful. :banana:

I see the same thing with my brother, but on a smaller scale. He had a period a few months ago where he realized he was leveraged way over his head. He didn't freak out and worry, he simply put together a plan to fix the situation and made it work. I still can't believe the mess he got himself out of. And when you'd talk to him, you'd never know if he had just made $50k or lost it.

I know that they were both "worried," but they didn't let the worry get in the way of fixing the situation.

I find myself now low on cash, high on liabilities and no longer in a sales job. I feel like this is when I'm suppose to get creative and find a way to get out of the hole. But I feel like my creative juices have been surpressed. This is when they are supposed to come out!!!

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this. Do you think this is just an attitude or belief that I can overcome? Or do you think it is something I need to recognize about myself and act accordingly?


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Legendary Contributor
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 24, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

It can certainly be overcome. Your frame of reference needs to change but the fact that you think in a responsible fashion should remain intact.

In reading the "Fastlane" stories it should be fairly clear that obstacles will appear. It is tough to overcome these if you are sloppy in your financials. Keeping up to the point that you recognize the situation is the first part of being able to correct it.

In the book, "The Real Estate Game", the author talks about some of the biggest players. His comment is that they were usually so highly leveraged that they would have difficulty scraping up $15K at times.

You will need to start with the attitude that you "can do". I have found that it becomes part of life naturally as a result of having a lot of practice. It did not start that way though. Each deal will require you to stretch your thinking and come up with creative ways to accomplish the finish. There are always lots of issues that will need to be overcome. All you need is to set you thinking in such a way that you can evaluate these as unemotionally as possible. That does not mean that emotion won't get the best of you. It has certainly gotten the best of me before. The key is to keep the right mindset, learn and move on.

Remember that "I can't..." will get very different results than "How can I..."


Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

As someone who has played poker semi-professionally for about 15 years now, I certainly understand the changing perception of money. I remember when I first started playing, and I would sit down with $100-200 (a lot back in 1994 when I was in college) and play cards for several hours. If I lost the money, I'd be really upset; and if I won a couple hundred dollars I'd be ecstatic! Suddenly, $20 didn't mean much to me.

Then I got accustomed to winning or losing a couple hundred dollars at a time, and I started playing the "big" games, which where I lived at the time required about a $1000 buy-in. This was a large amount of money to me, but by this time, not ridiculous. And I'd win or lose a thousand or two in the course of a night. If I lost a couple thousand, I was upset, and if I won a couple thousand, I was ecstatic! Suddenly, a couple hundred dollars didn't mean much to me.

Then I started going to Atlantic City, where the pros played at the time (before poker got big, and really took off in Vegas and everywhere else). I wanted to play with the big-boys, so I would sit down with $5000-10,000 for a weekend of play. I remember the first time I lost $10,000 in a weekend and was sick about it (I could certainly afford it by then, but the thought of losing that much at once was horrible). But I also remember the first time I won $10,000, and I was ecstatic. Suddenly, a couple thousand dollars didn't mean much to me.

Then I started playing tournaments back in 2005 when poker was really getting big. I really wanted to play the big events ($10,000 buy-ins), but couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a single tournament. The first event I played, I won over $12,000. The second event I played, I won $240,000. And the third event I played, I won $23,000. Suddenly, putting down $10,000 for a poker tournament didn't mean much to me.

And this continued... I kept playing bigger poker games (some *very* big games), and the amount of money that actually phased me kept going up.

While I don't play nearly as much anymore, it no-longer seems ridiculous to buy-in to a game for $20,000 or to play a tournament where the buy-in is $50,000. And to think...just 15 years ago, I thought winning or losing $100 was a big deal... :)

It's all about perspective and sensitivity to new things. Once you experience something over and over, your perspective changes and you start to become desensitized to it.

I still find it ridiculous to think about making or losing $1M in a real estate transaction (like the people you mentioned), but who knows, maybe one day I will be so accustomed to it that even that sum of money is really no big deal...

Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
Napa Valley, CA
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa


JScott- Wow, you and I have gone down different paths and had the exact same experience. I did a thread on this called "Dont' Fear the Zeros!". Did you read it? Spooky how many parallels there are-- you are right, it's all about exposure to things that are new, and how they are less scary once you've been around them for a while.

SeanS said:
When I was selling well, making money, etc I was flying high. If I had $5,000 in the bank I was fine and NEVER worried.

But things were very different when I was down to my last $50, and often times I was. I have liabilities that I never thought about when I had $5k in the bank.

Sean, this is totally normal.

You just need to look at it from a slightly different perspective.

We've been talking about financial consciousness on the PLAN thread. When you have $5,000 in the bank, you're financially unconscious--- you don't worry about spending 10 bucks here or there, b/c it's a small amount of money (only 0.2% of your cash).

You don't think about it. You are financially unconscious.

But get that bank account down to $50 and 10 bucks is now 20% of your net worth-- and if you are NOT financially conscious, your account is overdrawn before you know it!

That's exactly why we're talking about this on the PLAN thread.

The reason many experienced REIs seem so relaxed, even when they're millions of dollars in debt (we are over $3M in debt, gonna go another $365K in debt tomorrow when a duplex closes), is that they have become financially conscious to the point where they no longer have to be fully thinking about it-- they have their PLAN, it's rolling forward, and everything "fits", more or less.

We'll talk more about this in the coming days on the PLAN thread. It's gonna be fun. :)

-Russ H.


Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

I read your post a little differently from the others
(no smart comments, Russ!).
I see this not as a fear but a lack of confidence issue.

We all have confidence "tricks" that we use
to prop ourselves back up after a fall.
I have a list of tasks that I'm very comfortable at accomplishing
(it could be something as simple as filing).
When a project goes south or an investment sours,
I resort back to one or two of these tasks.

Accomplishing them successfully gives me the confidence to handle the real problem.
I tell myself "yes, the world is going to h*** in a handbag
but look, didn't I file my quarterly reports beautifully?
And if I can do that, surely I can handle this problem."

I also keep both a win file and a fail file.
Both remind me that I can successfully meet challenges.


Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 9, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

Thanks for the feedback.

I think it is a combination of what has been said here - lack of familiarity handling/having larger sums of money combined with lack of confidence with money issues.

It is a strange concept for me to think about undertaking a development project or working to find an apartment building to acquire when I've never even owned a home, made $500 by taking a small risk, etc.

I'm thinking maybe I need to take a couple of smaller steps before I take a big leap. For familiarity purposes, but also to help me develop more confidence with money-making deals in general. Guess I have to figure out a way to get started...
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Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 9, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

Can anyone help me with some "first steps?" I feel like I need a couple of small "successes" to help boost my confidence and make me more comfortable changing my mindset.

Or should I stick to following Russ's PLAN thread and doing the exercises?


New Contributor
Oct 7, 2007
Re: Can this be overcome or is it a personality trait to understa

Of course it can be overcome!

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