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This week, we are going to discuss overcoming fear through an activity called “fear setting.” This will help you shift towards action when facing indecision.
I liked the “hit list” format from last week so am going to keep it in the mix. Let me know your thoughts!
"Fear Setting" is an activity practiced by a number of high-performers and is recommended by Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, and others. When faced with indecision, or when worry is overcoming your ability to think clearly, this practice can clear your mind and help you figure out next steps.
I recommend a slightly adjusted version of this common practice with my clients, and we will go through these steps together. I suggest getting a pen and paper handy (these activities always have a better effect when you physically write things down) and performing this activity with an open mind; you will be surprised at how much better you feel afterwards.
1. Write down your fear list
Write down a list of everything that is bothering or worrying you. It can be the biggest, "end-of-the-world" type worry or a small, likely insignificant problem. Anything that is weighing on your mind and causing you some level of nervousness and anxiety belongs on this list. Be as thorough as possible, and keep each item to one word or short phrases.
2. Grab a red pen
Grab yourself a red pen and cross out every item on the list that you have no control over. Worried about getting run over by a car? Chances are you can cross that bad boy off. Worried about how people will receive your presentation? Yeah you can get rid of that one too. Anything that you cannot immediately and noticeably affect by your own actions can, and should, be crossed off your list.
3. Worst case scenario
At this point, you should have a manageable list of problems that you have some level of control over. Go through each remaining item and picture the absolute worst case scenario for each thing. Maybe the report you are writing gets you fired from your current job and you are left roaming the ether in search of employment. Maybe asking that person on a date leads to rejection and an ice cream binge, which spirals into diabetes and hospitalization. Most importantly, realize that the worst case scenario you just envisioned is highly unlikely to occur anyways.
4. Create a plan of attack
Now that you realize the worst possible scenario is likely not that bad, and you can handle whatever comes your way anyways, formulate a plan of attack. It is important to think small here. Don't try to move the mountain in one fell swoop, pick the first possible action you can take to move things in a positive direction. Worried about preparing for that exam? Review your notes or read one page. Worried about asking that person out? Come up with a few interesting questions you can ask them to warm up the conversation and lead things in the right direction.
Fear Setting is powerful because it reinforces how capable we truly are to handle almost any situation we are given. It can also be helpful, after going through the exercises above, to think back and reflect on times when you have been in similar situations and come through unscathed. We often forget how much we were able to accomplish in the past with fewer resources and less knowledge than we have now. The best way to overcome fear and inaction is to mentally face your fears by listing them out and focusing on what you can actually do at this exact moment. Eliminate what you can't change and prioritize acting on what you can!
These are the most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered each week.
Book I recently (re)read: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris
I revisit this book often, and use it as a reference manual for life. Whether or not you are a Tim Ferris fan, he has access to some of the most interesting people in the world. This book is a “greatest hits” of their advice.
Best book I read this year: The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life by Boyd Varty
I have already given this book as a gift multiple times. The story follows a group of tracker’s in South Africa and shares several important life lessons as they relate to being out in the wild. It’s a quick and easy read that will leave a permanent, positive mark on your life.
What I'm listening to: Boyd Varty on The Great Unlearn (podcast)
After reading The Lion Tracker's Guide I wanted to hear more from Boyd Varty, and this podcast episode did not disappoint. The Great Unlearn is an excellent podcast to add to your regular rotation anyways; Cal used to be a stock trader in Chicago who disliked his existence and wanted a change. He is doing incredible things now, and seeking to "unlearn" by examining his beliefs and why he has been conditioned by society to feel a certain way.
What I'm watching: Global Beatbox champion Show-Go for the Grand Beatbox Battle of 2021
I had heard some incredible beatboxers in the past, but I had no clue that there was an international competition each year. I also had no idea that a performance could be this ridiculous. Do yourself a favor and dedicate 2 minutes and 1 second of your life to watching this.
I bet you didn't see this recommendation coming! But seriously: read his book, take in his wisdom, and learn from his life experience.
Twitter Thread to Read: Misha on Mindset
I stumbled across this thread and really enjoyed some of the tips for managing mindset and performing at your peak. Misha was a life coach in Hollywood for many years who has now ventured into the world of tech startups. This is a simple thread with some actionable tips.
That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!
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