With the recent financial market turmoil, I have been feeling a fair bit anxious.
Why? Because I have skin in the game.
The idea was to get financial independence and walk away from a job to then rely on my own endeavours.
It is a slow game to play, but I am in the thick of it.
However, because some of the investments I have made get frighteningly volatile from time to time, I get super nervous.
I get f*cking scared is the honest truth.
What helps me stay in the realm of calm is understanding my three brains and how to talk to them.
Stay with me here. I think it will make sense in the end up.
I have read recently that we have three brains.
One is the lizard brain that is pumping your blood and keeping all the organs going, and helping you breathe. Even though you don’t know it is there, it is working away and consuming a little bit of your energy.
It is the oldest part of the brain.
The part that was born when we were just lizards. I call my lizard brain ‘Snake.’
It is called ‘Snake’ not because that is a lizardy type thing to name it after. My lizard brain is named after Snake Plissken, the movie character in one of the earliest movies to significantly impact me.
The second brain is the mammal brain. This is the part of the brain that we developed when we were roaming about in the plains, hunting and being hunted. This is the part that is always looking over your shoulder.
This section of the brain is large, lumbering and consumes more energy than the lizard brain, and one of its primary functions is to keep us safe.
This is the big F*cker that shouts to us, ‘Run, run like hell, or stop, fight like f*ck.’
Yep, that guy. That is the one that is always causing us to worry, panic and get anxious about things that we perceive, truthfully or not, to threaten our safety.
This is the big swaggering part of the brain that is well worth understanding as that is the guy that is shouting ‘sell, sell, sell.’ when things take a turn for the worse on the financial markets.
I call this guy, Leonardo. Not after any artist or mutant ninja turtle, but after Leonardo DiCaprio. I know, sad, right? But it helps me visualise, and it gives me a face to talk to when I am trying to manage my emotions and thoughts. But, think the movie The Revenant, a good film, some would say great. For me, a magnificent example of a struggle to stay alive. An example of the mammal brain in action. So, Leonardo, it is.
The third brain is the human brain. This part of the brain has been more recently developed. A small section of the brain, but it consumes energy like a bitcoin farm. It is a formula one race car compared to the other two family cars.
This guy is working on the rational side. The educated person in your head that you need to engage whenever you are feeling the stresses. This is a good guy to talk to. However, this guy is not always in control. You see, the big guy, Leonardo, can shut this guy down at any point and scream for you to run for the hills at any time you feel a threat in the air.
I call this new guy Robin. I named him Robin after Robin Williams.
Robin Williams was manic as a man, a great man who gave joy and other stuff. But I have named my human brain Robin, after Robin Williams, because of his character in the movie ‘Good Will Hunting’.
If I was logic, then I should call him ‘Sean’, which is the name of the character he played. But Sean, to me, doesn’t have a face. Robin Williams in ‘Good Will Hunting’ does, and it is an outstanding face to talk to.
The movie is outstanding and one of the best movies to help calm your thoughts. Hence the human brain name, Robin. A rational, inquisitive and intellectual part of the brain. Just like Sean/Robin in the movie.
Now that I have set the scene with the three brains and the markets tanking, you can guess what brain activity I am managing.
The mammal brain is screaming for me to run to the sanctuary of cash and is overriding my human brain. The lizard brain might be pumping my blood faster, but he doesn’t get a say in anything. Snake just runs the engines. Snake powers the colosseum lights.
The fight game is on between Leonardo and Robin.
This is the battle I will have to manage in everyday life. I have to boss this now and in the future, when things are even more fragile.
This fight is the inner turmoil we all have to get in order, so it is good to identify who is in the struggle and which corner you can take.
There is a time to back either combatant but knowing and understanding the ‘when’ is the key to success, the key to coming out on top.
When I have to rely more on savings and investments in the future, and the markets are kicking up a storm, I must sit and talk passionately with Robin Williams.
Yes, I talk to myself. We all do. It is cool. Chill.
I will have to open up deep and honest questions with Robin and dig into how my brain reacts and then have him negotiate a path forward and align with me. Or me with him.
When the chips are down on the financial markets, and the stakes are high as I will have a lot riding on it. Then the winning of the game will be in the middle rounds.
Picture the scene, round eight, with both fighters exhausting their energies. Punchdrunk in my head.
I know where I will be.
I will be in Robin’s corner with the cut cream, the towel and the ice bag to make sure he is fighting fit and is getting on top.
I might even slip in some brass knuckles.
Because I can not afford for Leonardo to win.