The evolution of the human brain happened primarily during times when survival was very difficult. Today for citizens of first world countries, the term “survival” seems very foreign. It’s hard to conceive of a time when we didn’t have food and shelter readily available. For a moment, imagine yourself being dropped into a jungle or wooded environment with only the clothes on your back. How will you get food? Where will you get shelter? Are you feeling scared yet?
We use the words “Brain” and “Mind” frequently but perhaps we don’t really think about the difference in the two. Sometimes we feel they are synonymous but they aren’t. The Brain is the physical organ located in our skulls. The Mind is the faculty of consciousness and thought. In many ways the Mind is the output of the physical Brain. We have approximately 60,000 thoughts each day. Where do these thoughts come from? We don’t really know the answer to this question. Thoughts just kind of appear of their own.
I think our brain generates some of these thoughts and has a survival agenda. It only wants to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and ensure that we survive. It is perfectly content to lounge on the sofa and watch Netflix.
The investor’s mind grows restless on the couch. It wants to get out of the cave and challenge itself. It seeks to create and build. This mind creates the drive that sent man to the moon and to the top of Mount Everest. It’s not content just to survive, it wants to thrive.
There’s a conflict between the survival brain and the investor mind. When the investor gets ready to get out of their comfort zone, the survival brain says, “Hold off until tomorrow. What’s the hurry? You don’t want to go too fast, take it slow”. Or when we try something new and it doesn’t work out, there’s the survival brain telling us - “You messed up, you aren’t good enough, you can’t do that”.
A lot of the work I do as a coach is helping investors see which thoughts are true and which are just thoughts that they have chosen to believe. For example an investor might have the thought “There are too many investors in my area, it’s impossible to find a deal”. Having a thought and belief like that will shut down all of your activity and lead to failure. Of course this belief would cause an investor to quit.
I teach my students to identify these negative thoughts, and when they arise, to replace them with better thoughts. What would a better thought be? How about “There are always deals available and I can find one with consistent effort”.
The “Survival Brain” vs “Investor Mind” is the hidden struggle that most people aren’t aware of but it must be addressed in order to be successful. The investor path is one of constant struggle to overcome setbacks and obstacles. Managing the mind is key to success.