Each New Year, a whole new set of goals are made (and eventually broken) by go-getters trying to start the year off right.
But what about, instead of goal setting, you try fear setting instead? Tim Ferriss, public speaker and author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” speaks about the element of chance that he began to both fear and embrace after a couple lucky coincidences kept him from committing suicide. His battles with depression have led him to become very methodical about testing ways to manage his ups and downs. So, instead of setting goals, he instead addresses how to avoid his fears and ultimately self destruction.
Following a quote by Roman Philosopher Seneca the Younger that says, “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality,” Ferriss came up with a three-page action plan to overcome the fears that could prevent him from taking action or finding success.
The first page involves him creating a list of fears by writing down separate answers to the question “What if I…?” He answers this question in three separate columns: Define, Prevent and Repair. The Define column addresses all the worst-case scenarios you could come up with, and then the Prevent column answers how to prevent them from happening. The Repair section then addresses how to repair the damage if the worst-case scenarios do happen.
The second page involves answering the question: “What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success?” Lastly, the third page encourages you to address the emotional, physical and financial costs at six months, one year and three years if you let your fears prevent you from taking action.
Ferriss explains that he can trace all of his biggest successes back to fear setting, which he does quarterly. Learn more about it by watching his presentation on the TED Talk stage here.