The Ostrich Effect explains the peculiar phenomenon where people stick their heads in the sand during lousy times, ignoring troubling information easily accessible to them. Put differently, FOFO (fear of finding out) can be more dangerous than FOMO (fear of missing out).
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The Ostrich Effect: Do You Suffer From FOFO?
Frankie, I have a fear of finding out whether this episode’s going to be any good. Should we wrap?
That was my lead right before you hit record and you’re like, “We need to be done by this time.” I’m ready to finish now. I’m done.
It’s a 30-second episode because both of us are afraid it might suck.
I wonder how good our readership is if we rewarded readers with a short episode.
We might get some serious five-star reviews.
Some serious traction.
We put ourselves out there and pull out a time into this agenda and outline but this has been sitting in our folder for a month. This is a perfect example. We put a lot of time into this outline but we have a fear of finding out if people are going to like it or not. We think you should like it because we’re fascinated by the topic. Every year this happens to me, Frank.
You know what happens to me. Don’t try and be kind.
I don’t know if you’re braver than me. I know what happens to you every year because it happens to both of us. Starting around Halloween, you got kids. You start eating a lot of their candy. The bag sits around for a week and then you get into Thanksgiving.
My wife’s birthday is October 17th and I always get her cupcakes and she’s like, “Please God, don’t buy me a dozen cupcakes because I end up eating eleven of them.”
For Frank, it’s October 17. For me, it’s Halloween. The weather starts getting crappy. You get into November. The weather’s even crappier. A lot of hanging around inside. You got Thanksgiving. You eat too much. You always travel somewhere for the holidays for Christmas, where I’m drinking margaritas all day, eating grandma’s meatballs. It’s always like a 10-pound swing from Halloween to January 2nd.
Ten would be wonderful.
A funny part for me is I have one of those scales that syncs to an app in Bluetooth. You can go look at my weight. I got all these daily weigh-ins over time. January always has the least amount of weigh-ins, which is when I should probably have the most amount of weigh-ins. It’s always funny. After almost any vacation, after a period like that, as if it didn’t happen, I won’t get on a scale for a couple of weeks.
I know what it’s going to read. It’s going to be depressing but in my mind, I’m like, “Maybe if I get a few treadmill sessions in, it might not be as bad as it could be.” I have a fear of finding out. If I wanted it to improve or go lose those holiday pounds, I would be weighing in the second I get back, dealing with it, pissing myself off and being motivated by it.
What I tend to do is quit getting on the scale for a while because it makes me sad. It’s an unpleasant truth. I don’t want to deal with it. I’ll deal with it later. That whole situation is what we’re going to talk about because it happens in so many other parts of our lives. I always joke that I’m going to write a book on how I lost 20 pounds and gained 20 pounds every year for 40 years in a row. I’m going to write that book one day because it’s a fascinating journey. It’s my hero’s journey. Frank goes through the same thing.
The way you rolled that out initially to me was the title of the book is How I Lost the Same 20 Pounds Every January For The Last 20 Years.
It’s up to 40 years as soon. It’s moving fast. This situation of Frank and I not looking at the scale is an actual psychological phenomenon that’s been studied. The term is FOFO, not FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. This is Fear Of Finding Out. The initial name of this was the Ostrich Effect, coined for the fact that an ostrich is known to go stick its head in the ground when it doesn’t feel like seeing certain things.
It’s a behavioral economist by the name of George Loewenstein. Not to be mistaken for George Löwenbräu who made a delicious beer a lot of years ago. George Loewenstein described the phenomenon with investors who tend to stick their hands in the sand during lousy markets. They won’t open up their 401(k)s and even look at what their statement says. They ignore troubling information presented to them. This research was done in Scandinavia. Where’s the actual Scandinavia?
It’s North of Antarctica.
That’s wrong. I thought it was right next to Greenland but that’s probably wrong too.
Scandinavia’s next to Norway. It’s a Finnish country. They’re good at summer sports.
This research was done in an irrelevant country by irrelevant people.
He had the ostrich effect when it came down to looking up Scandinavia.
This study and the data coming from these irrelevant people in a faraway land found that people looked up their financial information 50% to 80% less during times of financial distress. 50% to 80% less if they knew that their stocks and their investments were down. Barclays did a similar study and found that 37% of Millennials suffer from FOFO about their finances. They don’t like to check their bank accounts ever. They don’t look at their credit cards. They don’t want to look at their checking account until they start bouncing payments.
They’re so nervous about how bad things are going that, instead of facing it, 37% don’t look at all. I’m conflicted on this and I’m interested in your point on this. Warren Buffett would say, “That’s good. Don’t look at your stocks. Don’t buy. If you’re scared to buy, don’t look at them. It’s a long-term game anyway. You shouldn’t be buying, selling and trading.” There might be something to be said about that but the bigger piece of this is people not looking at their investments are also not buying. They’re putting their head in the sand and acting like bad financial things aren’t happening to them.
The statistic is 37% of Millennials had a FOFO about their finances and then did not look at their bank accounts. Not looking at your bank account and investments are two different things. I’ll relate it this way.
Most Millennials don’t own stocks anyway. They’re not looking at their checking account.
During the Great Recession, there were a lot of short sales. People would have information shut down mode. I would call them up and say we would cold call them. We would talk to them about their house. When we would finally get all the information from them and talk to them about it, they would often go dark. The reason for going dark was that there was so much to deal with. They had an information shutdown effect. It was the ostrich effect.
They would stop what they were doing and bury their head in the sand. “There’s no way I could get through this. I’m going to stop taking phone calls and dealing with this. Eventually, the bank’s going to come to knock on my door and foreclose.” That’s what happened. I saw that people that I was working alongside that did a business like this would talk about that all the time.
As you were talking about the finance piece, I spent thirteen years in the finance industry. If you want a loan from someone, you have to show them your track record. That’s done with a credit report.
He would back credit ten and not look at it.
You would be shocked, even people with okay credit, how infrequently people look at their credit reports. I look monthly.
I have Carla put it in a spreadsheet every month and I can tell what happened month over month. It’s the way that I would track if anything ever happened to identity and those types of things.
If I were you, I wouldn’t use someone you pay as much as Carla to do it. You can get Experian. I would go download that app. It’s good.
She pulls it and puts it in an email.
You’re so lazy. It’s unbelievable. Look at your app, for Christ’s sake. Don’t make Carla do it. You’re becoming Bill Inman.
I’m not retired. You’re pitching at me about my schedule.
You’d be surprised how often people had some fraud on their credit reports. It happens a lot. Fraud alerts all the time. They had it years ago and they have no idea. These are people with good down payments and incomes. A few Americans ever look at their credit report at all. A lot of it is the fear of finding out. They’re maybe nervous that they had a late payment here or there. There are so many things they could do to fix it and make their cost go way down but they don’t. They don’t look. That’s the ostrich effect. “If I put my head in the sand, it can’t be that bad of a credit score.”
This happens all the time. This is a major source of procrastination. The top five reasons people procrastinate are, 1) They think an activity is going to be boring or unpleasant, 2) They have a lack of belief in their ability, 3) They have fear and anxiety surrounding what it is that they have to do, 4) They have perfectionism, which is another way of saying, “They’re going to let me down in some way so I’m going to ignore it and 5) They’re distracted. If you’re distracted by something, you’re letting lesser important things get in the way of doing what’s important.
To some degree, all of those things are the ostrich effect. “I don’t want to take this head-on. I want to bury my head in the sand.” I’m someone who has a lot of things built into my life on purpose. Someone else looks at my credit and they printed out it. If it ever goes down, it gets printed out and then I look at it. The reason I have someone else do it is I’m not going to.
I built it into someone else’s life who’s more scheduled than I am because I want to deal with it every month and be confronted by it. I get certain things in the mail and know what’s in there. It’s not that fear of opening up. I just know there’s a two-hour project in there and I leave it on the side of my desk where I push it to a pile because I don’t want to confront what’s in there. I want to ignore it. Everybody’s guilty of this to some degree. It’s what degree are you going to allow this to rule your life.
Thirty-three percent of Americans never visit a doctor unless it’s an emergency like a broken bone, major pain or major sickness. When I heard that stat, I felt it was super low. I’m that guy. I don’t ever go to a doctor unless something is broken or something’s really bad. I would’ve guessed that number was way higher of Americans not ever going to doctors unless something catastrophic was happening.
I would imagine it’s broken out this way and it’s probably higher than this. I would imagine women and women are typically in charge of children. Women and children go to the doctor and no man does. As soon as the child is no longer under the care of his mother, they fall into the category of, “We don’t go to the doctor.”
If you broke that up, I bet there’s a huge difference between men and women because men don’t like to admit that something’s going wrong or failing. We all suffer from a little bit of the fear of finding out that maybe we’re not indestructible bears.
Do you remember who Rowdy Burns is?
I don’t know who Rowdy Burns is. Should I?
Yes. In the 1980s, there was an incredible movie called Top Gun, which top the charts in the movies. They built a sequel to Top Gun three years later and it was called Days of Thunder. It was the same thing but built around race cars instead of flying jets. The antagonist in the movie was a guy named Rowdy Burns who was loosely based on Dale Earnhardt and he was the archrival of Tom Cruise. Do you remember that?
Yes. “There’s nothing I can’t do with a race car.”
Sadly, I can’t say the same.
That’s a famous quote from that movie. That’s Tom Cruise.
Yes, that was Robert Duvall’s sponsor.
I remember that movie is when they get into a wheelchair race. That’s fantastic. Is that Rowdy Burns he’s racing with?
They’re both hurt and they’re racing in a wheelchair.
They have to go to dinner and he is like, “You know that I’m not going to let you drive this car and you admit that you’re not going to let me drive this car. There’s only one solution to this.” They rent two cars and there’s this whole scene where they’re racing in Daytona. In Daytona, you can drive your car on the sand. They’re in Daytona running through the sand, smashing into each other and running into each other. They pull up to the restaurant and both of the cars are smoking. The boss is there and he is like, “You’re late.” He’s eating a piece of celery. He looks at and goes, “What was it, Cole?” He goes, “I believe it was the radiator. Wasn’t it the radiator?” He goes, “I believe that’s correct.”
They ended up bonding over the fact that they both didn’t want to be in a hospital but this is what Rowdy Burns said in the movie. This is where he’s similar to my father. “Nobody in my family goes to a doctor unless they’re dying.” That’s it. In the end, nobody wants to die but between here and death, we’re going to ignore a lot of stuff because we’re scared of what it is and we don’t want to know. There’s a stubbornness around it. “I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine,” but what is underneath that is the fear of finding out.
There’s further research on this in the medical industry. FOFO is most prevalent among those with an unhealthy lifestyle. The chances of you getting bad information are much higher because maybe you’ve inherited a serious medical condition or had an issue before. This is interesting. Nearly 40% of people who underwent testing for HIV don’t return to get the results. That’s fascinating.
There’s a little bit of selection bias there because if you are worried about HIV, you probably are a bad decision-maker in general and maybe not the most organized. You’ve probably injected yourself with needles in places you shouldn’t have. There’s some selection bias there but that’s pretty wild. If you’re nervous enough to go get HIV tested and you don’t even come back because you think that’s terrible news, “I’d rather die of it and get sick,” it’s crazy.
I remember I was a kid. I was in my twenties. There was a big lottery or Powerball. I went and played it. I remember they talked about there being this unclaimed ticket. I was sure it wasn’t me but I never went and checked the numbers. There was something inherent in me that I never wanted to be a lottery winner. I never would go and check the numbers after I played. I almost never play. If I do, it’s probably 2 out of 3 times. I don’t check to see if I won anything. It’s pretty stupid.
Psychologically, the ostrich effect tends to happen when we’re vested emotionally in information. It’s our way to shield ourselves from that information because we are emotionally invested. It’s like, “If I don’t look, it’s not happening.”Psychologically, the ostrich effect tends to happen when we're vested emotionally in information. It's our way to shield ourselves from that information because we are emotionally invested. Click To Tweet
There’s another side of it to me and it’s this. If I have a long enough history with something, like there’s somebody whom I have to talk to on a business level, it’s always emotional and unpleasant. I always procrastinate it. I don’t like to read his emails or look at his text messages. I hate it. I’m not someone who doesn’t take things head-on. It’s one of these things that’s imbalanced with everything else in my life. I bury my head in the sand. I’m very proactive but with certain things, I don’t want to deal with this because I know it’s around the corner.
You’re not ready to deal with it. This happens, Frankie. You get into a professional disagreement with someone and you don’t want to deal with it now. This certainly happened with me and my wife. We’re both dug in on something. We got into an argument and then we don’t talk about it for a long time and it gets worse. The fear of finding out is you don’t want to go address the fact that she might be right. I avoid it and hope it’ll go away but it never quite goes away. Do you ever expect an important email or a phone call but then when it comes you can’t get yourself to pick it up?
This happens with people. They apply for a job and they’re dying to get an answer. That company calls and they won’t pick the phone up because they’re afraid it might be someone saying no. It took me years to get the courage to ask Jenny out on a date. I thought she might like me a little bit but I almost liked the idea of thinking she did more than finding out she didn’t. I could have blown it with Jenny. She could have found another guy. There are a lot of things in there that were invested but I was invested emotionally in finding out that maybe I wasn’t the catch I thought I was.
What was that linebacker’s name? She still brings it up.
Rich Rush, her high school boyfriend. All of Jenny’s friends from high school still bring it up all the time. “Wonder what Rich Rush is doing?” I never met the guy.
It’s hysterical. I’ve never been to Jenny’s hometown. Her father-in-law still brings it up to me. It’s funny. We’re doing this a few weeks after Valentine’s Day in 2023. There was a whole thing that came out with this generation of people who are hiding behind their phones and are not willing to take that chance on putting themselves out there the way that people of our age had to. You’re used to hiding behind a phone or an app and not having to deal with the potential of rejection. I can remember a couple of things. I remember being in college as a freshman and I wanted to talk to girls. I was so scared of what they would think of me. I didn’t talk to them.
What would your friends think of you if they rejected you? My friends are going to laugh at me if I go ask her if she wants a beer and she says no. I have to walk back to my friends, the walk of shame even though they don’t have the guts to walk over either.
You realize it doesn’t matter. Nobody cares or is paying attention at some point but until that, there’s a great deal of stress around it. One of the best days of my life was right before my last year in college. I had an internship in Miami and my dad and I met. I was dating this woman at school and was ready for it to end. I remember I was on the fence and was like, “Should I break up with her? Should I not?”
I remember talking to my dad about, “If I had as much courage now as I did in high school, I would’ve been dangerous. I would’ve had such a better dating life if I wasn’t so timid.” My dad knew that I was on the fence about whether I should break up with this person or not. Should I be single again? All my dad said to me was, “Do you want to say the same thing about college?” Two days later, I broke up with that girl because my dad was dead right. It was incredible.If we had as much courage now as we did back then, we would’ve had such a better life. Ask yourself if you still want to say the same thing moving forward. Click To Tweet
He didn’t tell you what to do. He just asked a question. That’s awesome coaching.
It was such a cool day and it was one of those things where I realized that he’s an incredibly great dad. Years later, I still remember that.
I’ve seen it multiple times where an opportunity for a promotion comes up and someone’s gung-ho about it. They’re excited. They come into your office and say, “I want to put my name in the hat.” You ask questions, “Why do you want it?” “I’ve always wanted to be a manager. I’ve always wanted to do this.” Someone else talented puts their name in the hat and that initial person finds out that a talented person is going to go for it as well.
The initial person comes back to me and says, “I’m going to take my name out of the hat.” It went from, “I could get that job,” to it’s a 50/50 proposition. When you ask them, “Why? I don’t understand why you would take it.” “Maybe I’m not ready.” “You were incredibly excited telling me all your ideas of what you would do in the job. How did that change so much?”
“If I lose, I’m emotionally invested. I don’t want to find out whether you would pick me versus that person. If I back out, I don’t have to learn. I’ll just say I didn’t want it.” That stems from this whole concept of people are twice as motivated by avoiding loss as they are about gain. If it’s 50/50, it’s like, “If I back out, I can’t lose.” I’ll say, “I didn’t lose. I didn’t run in the race.” Whereas if you race, you’ll never gain anything with that mindset. You have to be willing to put yourself out. If everyone did that, there’d be no one taking a promotion.
One day I was at home. It was a rainy weekend winter day. I was watching Good Will Hunting. When was the last time you saw Good Will Hunting, the whole thing?
A couple of years ago.
It’s an incredible movie. It’s great. There’s a scene. Robin Williams is one of my all-time favorites. In the movie he wins the Academy for, he’s not funny. It’s not his normal role. He’s a super-serious, burned-out psychologist. He is working with Matt Damon. We talked about Red Sox earlier. He’s talking about the 76-playoff game when Carlton Fisk hits this incredible home run, wins the game and hits off the Green Monster. He’s waving the ball over. It goes fair. He runs the bases. Everybody crowds the field and runs alongside him. It’s this iconic moment in sports. It’s one of the most iconic games in Red Sox history, probably until they win 30 years later.
Matt Damon’s like, “Did you rush the field?” He’s like, “No, I didn’t rush the field. It wasn’t there.” He goes, “You slept out, you waited for tickets and you weren’t there. What the hell? Why not?” He goes, “I met a girl at the bar beforehand and I gave my friends the ticket and said, ‘I got to see a girl.’” Matt Damon gives him a bunch of crap about it. He is like, “How could you do that?” He goes, “I didn’t want to be here 30 years later and say I didn’t give it a shot. I didn’t want to have that regret. I missed the most incredible game in Red Sox history but I ended up married to this lady.”
They joke about it a couple of seconds later. He goes, “Don’t you wish you went to the game?” He goes, “Of course. I didn’t know he was going to hit a home run.” There’s a whole joke about it. The point is he went in, saw it and tried it. It worked in his favor but he didn’t regret not doing it because he did it. He took a shot. He didn’t know how it was going to land. That’s what happens in a lot of instances. When people do have regret later in life, they look back at things they didn’t try.When people do have regret later in life, they look back at things they didn't try. Click To Tweet
Had I not branched out and started a business, I would regret that. I’ve almost failed a bunch of times. I’ve had massive failures. Thankfully, none have sunk me but I don’t regret that because I tried it. When you get to people who are 50 or 60 years old and they talk about what could have been and what should have been, it’s because they didn’t try something. They buried their head in the sand and said, “I’m not going to try.”
We’ve talked about this before. We both worked at the same company. We tend to stop talking to the people that stayed at the company after us. I don’t know. Our pasts don’t cross anymore. We’re off doing something. It’s always interesting. The people who always reach out to me are the ones who left. Now they want advice from me on what it’s like to be on another side of the world.
What’s interesting is I never hear any of them regret that they left too early. Their regrets are always, “I should have done this years ago. I stayed at a place where I was unhappy for a long time.” There are so many people who are still at both employers that I worked at for twenty years who are incredibly unhappy.
Every time I talk to them, they complain about their job, their manager and being in the strictures of a huge company. They don’t ever change. The truth is they don’t want to go put themselves out there because they might find out they’re not as good as they think they are. What is complaining? “You’re complaining that I’m too good to deal with the bullshit in this company.”
“Go work for another company then or go start your own. Go do something on your own.” Doing that might mean they fail. They might find out that their companies run pretty well which we both know. Both those companies are run pretty well but they complain all the time because that’s easier. They’ll never put themselves out there. They’d rather keep working, complaining and hating their job than going and finding out if they could do it themselves.
Dear loyal readers, do you know what Ian always complains about with me? I don’t do enough research. Look at this, Ian. I got hard facts. The ostrich effect leads to regret and regret can grow into bitterness. This is according to the National Library of Medicine. They’re ranked in this order. Regret comes from education. Thirty-three percent of people have regret about education. “I didn’t get it. I didn’t go far enough. I didn’t finish high school. I didn’t graduate from college.” That’s big. Twenty-two percent of people regret their career choices. Fifteen percent of people have regret about romance, not having the balls to go talk to Jenny.
Five and a half percent of people regret parenting. Five and a half percent of people have problems or regret self-improvement. One and a half percent of people have regret about their health. When it comes to health, they usually regret it when it’s too late. Those are the things that drive people to regret. These are all things that if you confronted the fear of finding out, you can get around faster.
I want to congratulate you on that half-assed internet research. The way I look at this is there are two fears. There’s the fear of finding out, which is what drives most people. We’ve already used lots of stats. We could show you some bar graphs and charts that Frank’s pulling up too. Maybe a pie chart. Frank loves pie. We could show you that but the bigger piece that should drive people is the fear of not finding out. That’s the worst.The bigger piece that should drive people is the fear of not finding out. Click To Tweet
“I’m going to go see a girl.” That fear drove him more than seeing a baseball game of, “I don’t want to live with regrets.” That’s where I got to in 2017. I started thinking, “Am I going to be some bitter old dude one day with a lot of money who wishes he would’ve tried something and didn’t spend two decades of his life complaining about his job and career path that he didn’t like? Is that going to be me?” That drove me to make a decision. I was scared of that. I was scared of being a bitter, cranky guy that I could have done something different with my life when I knew my future was being a co-host of this show with Frank Cava. We got to find out. That thing could blow up one day.
This is funny. This is your moment but I remember it very well. You resigned at the end of 2017. I was in California. I was there for CG. We had our meeting. The meeting was over. I went up the coast and was standing with my feet in the ocean watching the sunset, chilling out. You had called and I answered the phone. I was talking to you. It was one of those moments that I remember very well because it was cemented in my brain. You had talked to Inman about the fact that you were so regretting calling him because he was your mentor and he wrote it out to the end. He could have certainly left earlier. He’s a wonderful guy.
Inman was retired for many years.
You were talking about bitter old men. He was somebody who stayed around a lot longer than maybe he would’ve wanted to if he could have redone it. That conversation with you and him I thought was so impactful because you were afraid that he was going to be disappointed that you left and it didn’t go that way at all.
I was nervous to call him because I thought he was going to tell me that I’m a dumbass. “Do you know how much money you’re leaving on the table?” I’m not going to say what his exact words to me were but let’s say it’s worth a lot more than me. He said I got all this money. I don’t spend it. I don’t love to travel, Ian. I don’t need new cars. My kids are going to get all of it. I have ten times more than I can live on. He’s like what I don’t have back is my girls being ten years old again and me living in that office, going through that bankruptcy and going through all those long hours to make all this money.
I don’t have those years back. When I told him what I was thinking and why I made the decision, he did what a mentor should do. He said, “I’m proud of you. That’s awesome.” I had FOFO for sure to make that call. I was afraid of finding out what he would think of me for leaving that. I was forced into calling him. He was going to find out somehow. He had to hear from me but he responded differently. I remember I got that phone and he gave me so much grace that I made the right move. If he’s good with this, let’s go. I’m good with it.
You and I talked about having regrets and being bitter and decisions that we make along the way. There have been a lot of things that I’ve had to do that are very tough decisions business-wise. I remember running one of them by you at some point. You’re like, “Frankie, you’re not going to be the bitter one. It’s going to be that other guy, the one who had the shortsighted look at what was happening.”
I’m not perfect by any stretch but I don’t feel as if I have a lot of regrets because I’ve taken chances. I’ve tried things and if I believed in my heart I should try it, I did it. If I thought it was worth pursuing, I’ve pursued it. I’m certainly not perfect with it but the balance of things in my life that I’ve wanted to try, I have. It feels good being probably at midlife. I can say that honestly. For a lot of people, problems come up or there is that regret because you don’t take something on. It’s an unpleasant moment that if it’s confronted can be a moment. If it’s not confronted, it can metastasize into something that becomes very cancerous and could be life-threatening.
Frank runs a successful business by any measurable. With 30-some employees, he’s great revenue profitable. I remember talking to you maybe 2 or 3 years after you left MBR and you were deflated. Your leads weren’t there. You were hemorrhaging money. It was expensive. You didn’t have enough cash to do what you wanted. We were sitting. This was when I was at my townhome.
I had moved to Vienna. We were drinking wine late at night. I had put IJ to bed and you were like, “Maybe I need to put a suit on and go find a job. Go get another division president job.” I remember being pissed at you and being like, “You haven’t failed yet. This isn’t over. You still have plenty of money to figure this out. It’s just going slower than you want.”
I didn’t use these terms. I learned the FOFO but I remember telling you that you should be afraid of not finding out or not finishing this out. If you go a couple more years, you run out of money, that’s it and you think you gave it all, okay but if you quit now, you’re quitting before you gave yourself a chance and that will eat at you.
You could have had what you have now if you’d stuck with it. I got a little pissed at you. You were talking to the right guy then. If you remember, I was in the weeds. I was auditing, bringing home 30 files, getting up at 3:00 in the morning and had a baby. I remember being like, “Do not go to my life I’m living now. See this out. See it through. You don’t have any kids. You’re on your own. Make this thing work. It will eat at you the rest of your life that you didn’t finish this out.”
It’s always an interesting story to hear someone else’s perspective. I remember that. I also remember thinking let me float this by and see if it gets smacked back in my face and it did but nothing is linear. Even success isn’t a straight line. It’s jagged. If you are lucky, it goes from left to right and it goes up like a good stock chart. There are days when you have downs. There are still bad days but the goal is to persevere through them to a point where it’s like, “At least I gave it a shot.” I don’t think anybody ever is angry, fearful, disappointed or bitter about a bad day but if the bad day beats you, it’s something that could be demoralizing long-term.
At that point, you were right there in the Cava Companies.
IJ was what year?
He was a baby. It was back when he used to scream his head off for two hours when he saw you like a bear walking into the place. That place you were in, had you given up right there, there was a bit of fear of finding out. You were emotionally invested in starting your business. If you’d have quit then, you could have told yourself, “I didn’t see it all the way out. I found another opportunity.”
That feeling you had there, that fear in your gut was, “What if I’m not good enough to run this? Why don’t I go get a job because that’s a success before I find out if I was good enough to do it?” There was a little bit of FOFO there. We didn’t know the term. We didn’t know how to explain it. I knew you would have regret and you would be pissed at yourself for the rest of your career.
What year was IJ born?
September 2010. This was probably ‘11 or ‘12.
This story doesn’t fit but it does. I’m going to tell it quickly. I was at the mastermind group that I go to. This guy who’s known me since 2013 saw me and goes, “You’re such a different dude than you were then.” I told you this story. I remember saying to him, “I hope so.” Back then, I had uncertainty. I had fear. I hadn’t done it. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I have and I’m on the other side of it. The fear of finding out is being a wimp. If you’re not willing to find out, there’s regret on the other side of it. If you punch through the fear of finding out and you do find out, you can make a decision at peace.
I’m an entrepreneur and business owner. I have been since I was a kid and I needed to do this. I got to the other side of it and it was the right move for me. Had I taken this thing to the other side and said, “I’ve seen it and it’s not for me,” I probably could have turned back and gone the other way. Other people have tried this and said, “That’s not the life for me.”
That’s the thing that is important about this. The fear of finding out causes you to not get what you ultimately want, deserve and desire because you have to get through that moment. Sometimes getting through that moment can be a couple of years or a decade. It could take a while but if you see it through, then you can say, “I looked it in the face, confronted it and dealt with it. I’m then on the other side of it.”
I’m going to end this episode with something you said. The biggest reason why people quit prematurely or don’t try things is that they underestimate how long it should take. Anything worth having that’s good and anything that you’re proud of should not come easily and quickly. You’re not going to be proud of it.
That’s why that lottery ticket, you wouldn’t have been proud of it. You’re another dumbass that went into a 7-Eleven and bought a ticket. Anything worth being proud of should take time. The story that I’ll end with is I talked to a young lady. She was with a big company for 5 or 6 years. She left and went into a different line of work. She’s now a financial advisor for a big firm. She got her Series 7 and all of her certificates and is waiting to get all of her licenses. She reached out to me.
That line of work, Frankie, as you’re aware, is like being a startup owner. You have to go build your book by yourself. Maybe you have a fancy name on your business card but it’s like a realtor. You got to go build your book and start a business of your own. I said, “Are you having some days where you’re second-guessing?” “Yeah. How’d you know?” “It’s normal. It took you a while to leave that place. Are you being a little hard on yourself that you should be farther along by now?”
You’re hard on yourself. I’m not going to tell you that it gets better next month. You might have 6 months, 9 months or 2 years of that. What I’m here to tell you is on the other side of that is a lot of fun. On the other side is something you can be proud of but do not expect all of those feelings to magically go away.
It will be hard as hell for you to find your 1st client, 2nd, 3rd and 30th. I promise you at some point, I don’t know if it’s the 100th or the 200th, it starts to get easy to pick them up because you have social proof. You’ve built something. You have a brand and a lot of other things but all that feeling you’ve got that you want to be moving faster than you are is going to last a while.
No one’s going to make you feel better about it. It’s just going to be you. It’s going to be you in your private moments, having to face it, having to deal with all that fear, all that emotion and wanting to quit. You need to face up to it and not run from it. You got to deal with it. It’s the same advice I give anyone who leaves and tries to start something new. It’s not easy. If it was, you’d have nothing to be proud of. There’s nothing good on the other end of easy.
I’ll end with this. The episode is about the fear of finding out. Ian and I can both look you straight in the eye with incredible certainty and a lot of truth that it was worth it for us to weather the storm to find out. On the other side, this is what happiness looks like for us. There’s a quote by Bill Gates, the second piece of my incredible research that is worth closing with. “Most people overestimate what they can do in 1 year and grossly underestimate what they can do in 10.”
I love the fact that you did half-ass internet research twice in one episode, which is incredible.
I can say with certainty that I have no fear of finding out what you think of this episode so please give us a review in Apple Podcasts. It’s very important to us. Tell us exactly how you felt about this episode. I have no fear of finding out even if you thought it was complete horseshit. If you are new to our channel, mash that subscribe button. Follow us along. We have over 115 episodes we’ve done. If you liked this one and you’re new to us, go back and find a couple of titles that you like. We’ve been putting out banger material for years. Frankie, great job. I’m proud of you.
I agree, Ian. I was particularly strong.
- National Library of Medicine – What We Regret Most … and Why
- Cava Companies
- Apple Podcasts – Let Me Speak To A Manager