Cutting to the chase quickly, this is about fear of demos. What’s a demo? A demo is a demonstration item, appliance, facility or whatever – it doesn’t really matter. Yes I know ‘demophobia’ has another formal meaning. I’m using here to refer to demo accounts only as defined in the infographic below.
I’ve now come across six people who are crippled by this condition. One is a pre-demo-trader, the other five are new traders who have started demo trading accounts. They have collectively done rather little on these demos. This is not related to lack of time or IT resources. They all give their little excuses and resolve without me cajoling – because I don’t – to get on with it. But months roll by and they’re still stuck. “Nothing doing, I really want to do this.” – or similar, I’ll be told. Well how would that work if you really wanted to pick your child up after school but never really did? I reiterate – for the absolute removal of accusation, I don’t go around nobbling people to get into trading – there’s absolutely no gain for me in doing so.
I’ve also been told – and this is called rationalising – “I read somewhere on the internet that demo accounts are not so good a thing because you get into bad habits which linger when you go to live trading.” Well – I can’t doubt that there will be a subset of idiots who wanna throw away their real money as if it was demo money – based on bad habits. Let me see; a habit is this all powerful thing that controls us – right? Ooo.. we don’t want bad habits!! I mean some can’t stop picking their noses, or ears or whatever!!! Ok – for those sort of folk, who fear their habits so much, that they won’t start a demo account, go into a live account straight off. Just let me know about the good habits and the tons of dosh you’ve made. I’ll give you the last laugh.
Demophobia actually is composed of a ragbag of other fears, anxieties and discomforts. I suggest the following in the inforgraphic (not a complete list).
Fear of being trapped or scammed is closely related to fear of the unknown and uncertainty. I recall when I was a child, my parents used to turn away door to door sales people who were offering free demo appliances, eventually with the hope of a sale. They used to say that’s its all a trap – that you’d learn to like the demo then you go buy it when you don’t need it. Well that’s true actually.
But the important point is that people know and expect to be psychologically (at least) trapped by demos of any sort. And that’s interesting because it means that people are unable to control their own psychology – so this is about fear of loss of control over one’s self!! The maladaptive way to deal with loss of self-control or being ensnared is actually to stay away from situations that risk loss of self-control. It’s a very simplistic way of approaching things, involving total risk-aversion. I mean I don’t think everybody thinks it out exactly in these sort of words.
‘Fear of losing’ (FOL) is actually a very pervasive and non-specific fear. But I think FOL is the ‘garden’ for growing all sorts of other fears – smaller islands of specificity e.g. fear of losing money, loved ones, at sport, losing ones mind etc.
I won’t deal with each of the sub-fears/anxieties above. But the last one is actually the most elusive. A whole lot of people actually fear success and it works against them very very silently. After all you don’t go around telling people that you’ve recognised that you fear success so that explains why you don’t achieve as much as you need to in some areas of your life. People could well look at you as if you’re a nut job, misfit, or a benefit cheat or sumik – for such an admission. By comparison I estimate that fear of success is the least admitted fear among 90% of so-called normal people. No this is not individual psychoanalysis or anthropological dissection, so I don’t veer off to teach anybody why people in general are actually afraid of success. It may not be the biggest fear, but it’s the most subtle, disguised, or cloaked.
Whilst the above fears may comprise or contribute to demophobia, it does not mean that these fears evaporate on conquering demophobia. These fears live with each of us to varying degrees throughout life. They may well descend on other areas where we know we ought to perform differently. So – this post is not a ‘How to conquer demophobia’ session.