From Septem­ber 2017 through un­til the start of Jan­uary, I was home­less. While the Stoic philoso­pher Seneca, in Let­ters from a Stoic (Pen­guin Books, 2004) rec­om­mends sub­ject­ing your­self to home­less­ness reg­u­larly, the re­al­ity is harsher than any­thing you ca

Business First - - THE LEADER’S BOOKSHELF -

Imag­ine not know­ing where you’ll sleep at night. Will it be a mat­tress on a floor in a crowded lounge room? Will you get lucky and get a room to your­self? Or will you sleep in a park in a hid­den away, dry spot?

Imag­ine not know­ing if you’ll eat that day. I woke up on Jan­uary 5 feel­ing the hun­gri­est I’d ever felt. I couldn’t work out why I was so hun­gry. Then I did some cal­cu­la­tions: the last time I’d eaten a meal was De­cem­ber 23. In be­tween, I’d only grazed.

Imag­ine the con­stant threat of vi­o­lence… the on­go­ing risk of theft… the never-end­ing lack of sleep. MAS­TER FEARS ABOUT MONEY Ev­ery mo­ment I was afraid. I de­vel­oped anx­i­ety, ru­mi­nat­ing over ev­ery pos­si­ble way ev­ery­one in my life would turn on me at any mo­ment. I’m not us­ing hy­per­bole when I say it was the most ter­ri­fy­ing time in my life.

In other sit­u­a­tions, how­ever, dis­ci­plin­ing your­self to think like your en­emy can be a good thing. In Red Team­ing: Trans­form Your Busi­ness by Think­ing Like the

En­emy (Pi­atkus, 2017), Bryce G. Hoff­man in­tro­duces a frame­work the mil­i­tary uses to elim­i­nate cog­ni­tive bi­ases as they plan.

Some­times plans don’t go, well, as planned. Dur­ing the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis (GFC), many peo­ple found them­selves fac­ing sim­i­lar fears. Un­til the Cri­sis hit,

peo­ple be­lieved the fan­tasy they were safe. In The End of Alchemy: Money, Bank­ing, and the Fu­ture of the Global

Econ­omy (Lit­tle, Brown, 2016), Mervyn King, a for­mer gov­er­nor of the Bank of Eng­land, out­lines some fresh ideas about what caused the GFC. While many other writ­ers have writ­ten his­to­ries or analy­ses pin­point­ing the causes over the past 30 years, King of­fers a com­pelling ar­gu­ment that the roots had to do with prob­lems with our eco­nomic model it­self. The tit­u­lar ‘alchemy’ refers to the way money, and our whole fun­da­men­tal eco­nomic ap­proach aims to pro­vide the il­lu­sion that some­thing risky has been made safe.

With enough cash flow, I’d have never ended up home­less. Like many peo­ple, through my life, I’d ac­crued what Pat Me­siti in The $1 Mil­lion Rea­son to Change Your Mind (Wright­books, 2009) calls ‘mind viruses.’ Whether she re­gards her­self as one, Jen Sin­cero is an­other pros­per­ity ac­tivist. In You are a Badass at Mak­ing Money: Mas­ter the Mind­set of Wealth (Vik­ing, 2017) she out­lines a step-bystep process any­one can use to trans­form their re­la­tion­ship with money. Bot­tom line: If you aren’t rich, you have an un­help­ful re­la­tion­ship with money.

Years ago I read Pat Me­siti’s book be­fore I in­ter­viewed him. I was so im­pressed I ap­plied his ideas. The re­sult: I had more cash flow­ing into my life than at any other time. I’d just started tran­si­tion­ing from be­ing a tra­di­tional free­lancer to a di­rect-re­sponse copy­writer. I hadn’t yet learned the per­sua­sive skills to con­vert read­ers into buy­ers. But for sev­eral months, I was earn­ing as much in a week as I pre­vi­ously made in a month.

Now that I’m set­tled into a char­ac­ter town­house in the leafy beach­side sub­urb of El­wood, I can write copy again – when you’re in sur­vival mode, cre­ative think­ing is im­pos­si­ble.

‘Suc­cess’ lit­er­a­ture of­ten fo­cuses on the pos­i­tives of set­ting goals in­stead of pre­par­ing peo­ple for the neg­a­tives through fac­ing fears. If you have the re­siliency to han­dle the worst that could pos­si­bly hap­pen, that gives you power. (Watch Tim Fer­riss’s TED Talk on fear set­ting.)

Trust me, af­ter the ob­sta­cles I faced at the end of last year, I’m in­ti­mate with both pow­er­less­ness and power. If your fears don’t stop you, noth­ing will. Men­tal health copy­writer Daniel G. Tay­lor now lives in El­wood, Vic­to­ria. As a copy­writer, he helps busi­nesses at­tract traf­fic to their web­sites, en­gage those vis­i­tors with com­pelling con­tent, and con­vert those vis­i­tors into sales.

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