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 can imagine.
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 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-by-step 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.
I’ve faced down all my fears. All the limiting factors in my life have been removed. Now, I’m ready, raring, ready to serve an ever-increasing number of clients as a copywriter.
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. To discuss hiring him for your next copywriting project, please fill out the contact form below and he will get back to you within 48 hours..