Resolutions: Face your fear!
It is very easy to become fixated on our goals. We focus on what we want to achieve and then wonder why we can’t make progress, why we’re making these excuses and why we don’t take the next steps.
Inspired by stoicism, Tim Ferriss suggests that rather than fixating on our goals, we should focus more on tackling our fears. Stoicism, for Ferriss, guides us how to manage high stress environments and improve our decision-making. You must focus on what you can and cannot control and learn to manage your emotional reactivity.
Ferriss argues, often, doing the things in life that scare us are the most important things for us to do. These challenges and difficult choices are not solved easily. You need to be comfortable having hard conversations whether that’s with someone else or with yourself.
But how do we identify our fears and break down why we these fears hold us back?
Ferriss proposes a method of fear setting rather than goal setting. All you need is 3 pieces of paper.
1.What if I……(action that you want to take)
- Identify and define all of the bad outcomes that you fear happening if you did this action
- Next, for each of these fears, write down how you might be able to prevent these fears happening or decrease their likelihood of happening
- Finally, if these worst-case fears did happen, how could you in some way repair what has happened e.g., Who could you go to for advice? How have other people handled this?
2. What are the benefits of attempting to do this or achieving partial success?
Now spend about 10-15 minutes brainstorming all of the positive potential outcomes of taking that action. Try to be as specific as possible and think about all aspects of your life e.g., socially, financially, emotionally, physically etc.
3.The cost of inaction
Finally, the most powerful stage. We often use a lot of energy considering what might go wrong if we do try something. Perhaps, more importantly, we should consider what might go wrong if we don’t change anything. What might your life look like in 6 months? 1 year? 3 years? Again, be as specific as possible.
So, now you have completed your fear setting, consider each scenario. Do the worst-case scenarios have a bigger impact than the potential cost of inaction or the benefits of success? Which scenarios are temporary and reversible, and which may be life-changing? Try rating each of these 1-10 for impact to help you make your decision.
By visualising all of the worst-case scenarios and what action you may take to help prevent and repair these, you will be less afraid of taking this action. By visualising what you may be missing out on, you motivate yourself and counterbalance these fears. In this way, fear setting is Ferriss’ recipe for navigating high stress environments.
There is no doubt that some of your fears will be well justified and so this technique will by no means make all difficult decisions easy. It will, however, make it easier. Ferriss claims he can trace all of his biggest successes and disasters averted back to his process of doing fear setting at least once every quarter.
So, what’s holding you back from achieving your goals? Maybe try fear setting and see if your perspective changes.
Watch Tim Ferriss’ TED talk HERE
We can link stoicism to being mentally tough. Find out more about how to build your willpower through your habits in our blog HERE