I wrote this a few years ago, it's about taking risks - investor mindset: Is there a cost to feeling safe and secure when nothing else is happening? We are built to expand our reach, learn, grow and master uncomfortable situations. When nothing much is happening we may be safe from rejection, from the fear of making wrong decisions and from the discomfort of learning new skills, expanding and growing. But what effect does that comfort have on our health and happiness? Madelon Visintainer was the first scientist to scientifically investigate whether mastery of a situation and learning new skills has an effect on health. In a carefully controlled experiment conducted in 1976 and described in Martin Seligmans book “Learned Optimism”, Madelon took three groups of rats giving one a mild escapable shock, the second a mild inescapable shock and the third group no shock at all. On the day before the experiment, she implanted a specific amount of sarcoma cells in the flank of each rat. The amount implanted was controlled so that under normal circumstances 50 percent of the rats will reject the tumors and live. Everything physically was controlled in this experiment, the amount and duration of shock, diet, tumor load, housing and temperature. The only variable in this experiment was the psychological state the rats were in. One group was put into a helpless situation where they were not able to escape circumstances, the second group were put into a situation where they could experience mastery and the third group was psychologically unchanged, they were safe, secure and comfortable. The only thing that could affect the outcome of this experiment therefore was the psychological state of the animals. Within a month 50 percent of the non shocked, comfortable rats died and the other 50 percent rejected the tumor. This was an expected outcome in the control group. The rats that mastered the escape of shock however were able to increase their chances of rejecting the implanted sarcoma cells. Seventy percent of the mastery group rejected the tumor. But only 27 percent of the helpless rats were able to reject the tumor. The results of Madelon’s experiments suggest that hopeless situations were able to decrease the animal’s ability to reject tumor cells and situations where mastery was present the chances of rejecting cancer were significantly increased over just being comfortable and safe. Since 1976, hundreds of other experiments now show similar results where mastery of an external situation has a significant impact on human and animal immune systems and increases the ability to fight off disease above those who are comfortable and unchallenged in life. So are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk? Let’s look at a more natural human situation concerning the ability to choose. Consider two tribes from the book “The Origin of Wealth by Eric D Beinhocker”. First, we have the Yanomamô, a stone-tool-making hunter gatherer tribe living along the Orinoco River on the remote border of Brazil and Venezuela. Second, we have the New Yorkers, a cell-phone-talking, café latte- drinking tribe living along the Hudson River on the border of New York and New Jersey. Both tribes share the same thirty thousand or so genes that all humans do and thus, in terms of biology and innate intelligence, are essentially identical. Yet, the lifestyle of the New Yorkers is vastly different from the well-preserved hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Yanomamô, who have yet to invent the wheel, have no writing, and have a numbering system that does not go beyond one, two, and many. If we take a closer look at the economies of the two tribes, we see that Yanomamô employment is focused on collecting food in the forest, hunting small game, gardening a limited number of fruits and vegetables, and maintaining shelters. The Yanomamô also make items such as baskets, hammocks, stone tools, and weapons. They live in villages of forty to fifty people and trade goods and services among each other, as well as among the 250 or so other villages in the area. The average income of a Yanomamô tribesperson is approximately $90 per person per year (this, naturally, is an estimate as they do not use money or keep statistics), while the average income of a New Yorker in 2001 was around $36,000, or 400 times that of a Yanomamô. Without any judgments on who is happier, morally superior, or more in tune with their environment, there is clearly a wide gap in material wealth between the two tribes. The Yanomamô have shorter life expectancies than the New Yorkers, and during their lives, the Yanomamô must endure uncertainties, diseases, violence, threats from their environment, and other hardships that even the poorest New Yorkers do not face—one is eight times more likely to die in a given year living in a Yanomamô village than living in a New York borough. But it is not just the absolute level of income that makes New Yorkers so wealthy; it is also the incredible variety of things their wealth can buy – the new Yorkers have more choices and are therefore more in control of their circumstances. Imagine you had the income of a New Yorker, but you could only spend it on things in the Yanomamô economy. If you spent $36,000 fixing up your mud hut, buying the best clay pots in the village, and eating the finest Yanomamô cuisine, you would be extraordinarily wealthy by Yanomamô standards, but you would still feel far poorer than a typical New Yorker with his or her Nike sneakers, televisions, and vacations in Florida. As adults living at a time where we have a complex 36.5 trillion dollar world economy at our finger tips, we have choices over our circumstances our wealth and our health. Therefore unlike the helpless lab rats and the restricted choices of the Yanomamo tribe, the only thing holding us back are our own beliefs and conditioning. The more safe we play the game, the fewer choices we create in our lives and the more we restrict ourselves from gaining the self mastery that can finally set us free of our own conditioning. From the beginning of our economic evolution people have been demanding job equality, equal opportunities and equal rights and we are finally living at a time where teenagers and single mums can become overnight millionaires. There are more self made millionaires now than ever before and equal opportunities are there for the taking through the mastery of entrepreneurship and free enterprise. The internet has made it possible to expand globally and has given anybody who believes that they are somebody to have their own television channel or radio show. Anyone can be heard and anyone can be successful. Being successful in your own business does not depend on your gender, marital status, sex preference, cultural background or political view point. You are successful to the degree that you cultivate successful behaviours and habits which relates to your own beliefs of being successful. No one can stop you and no one can stand in your way. The old model of being employed within an organisation that someone else created and standing there waiting for them to do the right thing by you has never worked and never will. Likewise, every endeavour to change the government has resulted in frustration and no change. How much of our health is deteriorating because we are not in control? Why are we willing to endure lack and scarcity in the midst of abundant opportunities when we were built to sail and take risks?