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Evan’s Biggest Fear

I feel like it has been a while since I just laid it on the line about myself.  In 2.5 years of blogging I don’t think I have really explained what I think drives me.  Before we get to the juicy stuff, first I should tell you what inspired this post.  I was on my way home after having a few drinks with a buddy (don’t worry I wasn’t driving) and somehow the conversation of the difference between a psychologist and  psychiatrist came up.  I eventually asked if he had ever saw one.  He had and being the curious guy I am I asked an inordinate amount of questions.  This random conversation with a buddy made me remember something about my fraternity days.  When we had guys pledging they were required to interview older Brothers and one of those questions was, what is your biggest fear?

Evan’s Biggest Fear

I knew from the age of 19 or so what my biggest fear was.  I had answered that question the same way 3 years (6 fraternity classes) the exact same way and it only took being out of college nearly 9 years to remember those interviews.

My biggest fear is being unsuccessful. 

The fear shouldn’t be shocking, I didn’t name my blog My Journey to Ordinary or Eliminate Debt at Whatever Cost.  I named this blog after just one of my goals and aspirations.  When I reach that goal will I be satisfied? I don’t know, but probably not.  I consider success a moving target because everyone can better one’s self at any time.  However, that in of itself may mean success is never achievable. Hmmm that is a problem.

More important than just my financial goal it makes me really ask – What does success mean? I can tell you that 20 year old Evan had a very different definition than 29 year old Evan, but it’s the same underlying fear.  It is the fear that my action won’t live up to my perceived abilities or perceived expectations.

I can’t say for sure so since I have never had the opportunity/desire to sit down with someone that is trained to figure this onion of a man, but I would have to guess it is just one of the reasons that I work 12 to 15 hour days (8 hours at work plus 4 to 6 hours at night on different online ventures).

Do I think I am currently successful? Nope, but I think in the past 2 years or so I have laid the groundwork and I can only go up from here!

What is your biggest fear?



  1. I never thought about it in this way! I think I am afraid of the unknown and not being in control of my destiny. The latter motivated me to go into business. I think we look or find mechanisms, or techniques to deal with our fears. My reaction to my fears is to ask questions or take control as much as I can. So far it works for me.

      • I spent the first thirty years in the private sector as a CFO, Consultant and Entrepreneur. I owned businesses for roughly thirteen years. I have been teaching for only ten years.

  2. Wow, that’s a tough question to answer. I think my biggest fear is losing all I’ve worked for. I’m getting close to 40 and I have a family and investments that I’ve built up. Life is good and I can’t imagine losing all that.
    Success is different for everyone (even from 20s to 30s like you mentioned.) I’ve been pretty successful so far, but my definition is changing and we’ll have to see if it works out.

  3. Here’s a question: when you were a child, were you ever taught (consciously or sub-consciously) that your intrinsic value as a human being came being successful?

    If so, that’s the thing you need to address … accept yourself for your personality and your feelings, not your successes.

    The rest will follow.

    • If you ask anyone that has met me, or even as you read more of my stuff and interact with me – you’ll notice I am pretty self assured (to a fault some would say lol).

      I don’t even look at the fear as a bad thing – just an observation about the inner Evan.

  4. My biggest fear (now), is that I will grow stale. I’m not as driven as you are, and there were periods in my life where I was kind of spinning tires.

    Luckily, these past 10 years, I’ve held onto the road quite well though. But one never knows what is around the turn ahead…

    Great post by the way, you had me really laughing on “My Journey to Ordinary” 🙂

    • A Decade is a REALLY long time to have those wheels spinning. I wouldn’t worry about going stale!

      What keeps you motivated? Kids? Wife? Dream of paying for lunch with dividend stocks?

      • Definitely the “Kids”, they keep you on track! You’ll see…

        My lunch experiment was fun, I wish I was at least 5 years into it though. I’ve become use to the smaller less expensive lunches, so now I’m thinking about using the money from the experiment for dinners out, maybe once a month. Who knows…

        Hope you are enjoying being a dad! It seems like every month is great!

  5. My biggest fear is the fear that I’ve lived my life without risking anything, and without living up to my potential.

  6. Biggest fear is having growing old with no money and poor health. That drives me. It’s not the concept of failure or not being successful, since as long as I’m happy with how I’m living, I couldn’t care less about fitting any general perceptions about what constitutes success or failure. It’s about avoiding a tough existence when older or in bad health.

    • Is that time closer for you than me? At 29 the concept of being “old” is kind of foreign. It is interesting, I sometimes go to dinner with the Bossman and his Wife and they joke about how old they are and they are the youngest 50 year olds I know…I think the idea of old is changing.

      Ignoring my tangent lol I can see that as a real fear for anyone coming to retirement. Imagine a product that says if you give me X I will give you Y for the rest of your no matter what the market does. It is actually why I don’t understand how annuities aren’t more popular.

  7. Interesting topic; always fun to talk about fear. My biggest fear, the most existential fear I have is loneliness. Not simply that I’ll die without anyone around me, lost and forgotten by the world, although that’s a pretty big fear, as well. No, I’m afraid of the sort of loneliness that would result if I were the one and only immortal on the planet, living far beyond everyone else, beyond everything else, surviving not only the end of humanity but the eventual heat death of the galaxy, surviving in the unknowable abyss of whatever comes after, left alone with my increasingly erratic and unfocused thoughts, forever.

    But then I tell myself that such a thing probably won’t happen, and direct my worry to things like paying off my credit card bills.

    • Wow I have never heard of the latter fear. The first one you mentioned kind of gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach though.

      I literally know nothing about my great-grandparets, have their memory been lost? Will mine be as well?

  8. Being Trapped and Powerless. My drive for independence has driven my personal finance and career goals. I don’t want to ever feel like I “have to” work a particular job or rely on someone financially to take care of me. Growing up poor drives my desire to work and save for the future. I don’t want to have to depend on others to have my basic needs met.

  9. While it’s an important question, perhaps my answer has changed over the years. I don’t have any one single biggest fears, but a number of concerns/fears. Top of the list is not being able to provide for my family, since we’re a one-income household. I’ve taken steps to counter this fear of the years, so these days it’s downgraded to a concern, although still a top one. Not being able to enjoy retirement is also a concern, as is the safety of my family.

  10. My biggest fear would be to have lived a worthless life. It would hardly be determined by net worth. But, by the tangible asset of my children looking at me with respect, my wife looking at me in trust, and me looking at me with the satisfaction of a life that was worthwhile.

  11. Destruction and helplessness as in the tsunami and nuclear meltdown that the Japanese are experiencing…and the death of my DH or kids or a severely debilitating chronic or fatal illness, are what I really feel I couldn’t handle.

  12. My biggest fear is not having enough money for retirement.

    I thought it interesting what you mentioned as being successful. To me I’m successful because I raised two great kids, found the right (second) husband and have a pretty happy life. It’s not about the money.


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