Tag Archives: Psychology

FOMO: Investors’ Worst Enemy

Markets are hot. The S&P 500 sits near record highs. Venture capital funding is higher than ever before.

As hot stocks rocket upward and the best venture deals move fast, a specter is haunting investors — the specter of FOMO.

Fear of missing out has investors piling into the stocks of fraudulent companies like Nikola before they miss the rally. FOMO has venture firms writing giant checks without even the most cursory due diligence, like seeing the books or talking to customers.

This fear is the worst enemy of investors. Because we’re afraid of missing the next hot company, we gradually compromise all our standards.

Well, the price isn’t that high. This deal is moving too fast to look at the books! Surely, if so many other big names want in on this opportunity, it must be legit.

But it’s during boom times like this that frauds can hide in plain sight. And their favorite tactic to reel in suckers is to make you afraid you’re going to miss out on the next big thing.

Adam Neumann at WeWork was a master of using FOMO to vacuum up capital without diligence or oversight. Many of those investors soon lost huge sums.

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos got giant checks from investors without them ever looking too deeply into the technology. What if they had had a team of Ph.D’s look at the device? They would have probably realized it didn’t work and would’ve saved themselves hundreds of millions of dollars.

But they never did.

And why should they? Holmes was on the cover of Forbes, for heaven’s sake! It must be real, right?

Well, we know how that turned out. If we want to avoid investing in the next Theranos, WeWork or Nikola, we have to maintain our standards.

Find out revenues. See customer contracts. Evaluate the technology.

And we need to do more diligence in a hot market, not less.

It’s hard to defraud people in a bear market. In a down market, even good stocks find few buyers. Even the strongest startups struggle to raise money.

In a hot market, it’s much easier to conceal fraud beneath thick layers of hype with a yummy FOMO topping.

But think before you take a bite.

More on markets:

Where Can We Hide in a Financial Crisis?

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

Should Anyone Own Bonds?

Photo: “Secretary Pritzker met with Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos Founder and CEO, and Billie Jean King”by CommerceGov is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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What I’ll Be Doing The Next Time I Fail

Sometimes, we all miss the mark. When I do, I have the tendency to yell at myself in the most hectoring tones imaginable. Maybe you do too. Most of us would never talk to a friend that way. If we did, we wouldn’t have many friends for long.

Enter Kristen Neff, Ph.D., a professor at UT-Austin who researches self-compassion. In an interview with Dr. Peter Attia, she explains how to take the compassion we routinely extend to others and extend some to ourselves.

One practical technique I will be trying the next time I fail is to put my hand over my heart and say something supportive to myself. Who wants to try it with me?

My natural inclination is to think this is the road to laziness and failure. However, Dr. Neff cites research showing that performance actually improves as people learn to both give themselves a break and give themselves constructive, rather than bullying, criticism. And our lives get a lot more pleasant too!

Some interesting moments:

This podcast is also available via Apple Podcasts.

The Swami Who Taught Me About Politics

If I want to bring about positive change during these turbulent and polarized times, then first I’m going to have to deal with the turbulence and polarity within me.

Swami Asokananda

I have a lot of friends and family whose political views are quite different from mine. In normal times, that might be barely noticeable. But during a contentious election and several highly politicized national crises, these differences in views can come to the forefront and even overshadow the wonderful relationships I have with them. If I’m not careful.

Enter Swami Asokananda, the Spiritual Director of the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City. I recently received an outstanding message from him via the Institute’s newsletter.

His message made me consider to what extent I’m really listening to those whose views are different from mine. Where might they be right? And aside from correct or incorrect, how can I listen to them in a way that conveys respect and care? I cannot change the overall situation, but I can work for unity rather than division in my own personal relationships. Maybe if I can do that, it can start a chain reaction of respect rather than divisiveness.

Some key points:

  • “Though it seems obvious to me that my point of view is accurate and true, it’s vital for me to keep in mind that in all likelihood I’m often overlaying the facts with assumptions, judgements, and opinions that have been fed into me from who knows where and when.”
  • “How am I reacting to points of view different from my own?”
  • Am I creating further division, or am I fostering more unity?
  • “To see our conditioning is not easy. To shift it is even harder.”
  • “We have an opportunity to play a role in the evolutionary shift in the consciousness of the planet.”

I have included his entire message below. You can get more messages like this by signing up for the Integral Yoga Institute’s newsletter here.

Message from Swami Asokananda
The election is over, but we are still undergoing
turbulent times in a divided nation. And it won’t
take much to polarize us even further. When Sri Swami
Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) arrived on the shores of
New York City in 1966, our country was also going
through seismic cultural shifts. I know that, for me, the
teachings and practices of Integral Yoga arrived at just
the right time to guide me in a positive direction and a
life purpose.


One of my main sadhanas (spiritual practices) at this time is to be more
aware of what energy, what intention, what motive I am bringing into each interaction. Why am I speaking with this person? What outcome am I looking for? Have I thought about it? As I watch more closely, I’m
discovering that there are different forces at work within me that are going on in pretty much all my conversations.


Even in our own sangha (spiritual community) there are people with very diverse points of view—as is often the case in any family. How am I reacting to points of view different from my own? How well can I listen and take in what the person is saying? What can I learn about myself from this interaction and my own behavior? Am I creating further division, or am I fostering more unity? If I want to bring about positive change during these turbulent and polarized times, then first I’m going to have to deal with the turbulence and polarity within me.

It is important to remember that we are all products of our experiences.
Though it seems obvious to me that my point of view is accurate and true, it’s vital for me to keep in mind that in all likelihood I’m often overlaying the facts with assumptions, judgements, and opinions that have been fed into me from who knows where and when.


To see our conditioning is not easy. To shift it is even harder. One of the
reasons that Sri Gurudev founded the Integral Yoga Institute was this
recognition that spiritual growth is difficult without a supportive
community. As we watch our own thoughts and try to live with integrity, sangha means that we are also looking for ways to support and lift up one another. Also, our being a part of the IYI gives us the field where we are able to move from a small self-interest to a larger, shared interest. We come together so that we can connect to something bigger than ourselves. We have an opportunity to play a role in the evolutionary shift in the consciousness of the planet.


COVID-19 safety precautions have changed how we connect with each
other and share the teachings. There are still plenty of ways you can be of service to IYI and deepen the benefits you can receive from coming
together as a sangha. Think: What can I offer? What skills or experience
can I bring to the table? If you can’t think of what would be useful, reach out to me or our interim executive director, Hamsa, or any board member. We will find just the right Karma Yoga for you, according to the time you have available.

Through this mutual caring for this beloved organization, we will bring out our own potential and keep IYI shining bright for our city long after this pandemic ends.

Spiritual Director