Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals

We suffer more often in imagination than reality.
— Seneca

Don't get me wrong, I am an optimist and I try to think positive in most situations. I also am goal-oriented so this title may seem like I am going against everything that is important to me. However, I came across a Ted Talk and a man named Tim Ferriss spoke on this very subject. I was intrigued so I decided to listen to what he had to say. I highly recommend that you watch his full speech, just click here for more. If you are in a rush, here is a brief synopsis of his speech. 

Tim began by talking about Stoicism which is defined as the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint. According to its teachings in the past, those who follow this teaching believe that the path to happiness is found in accepting what we have been given in life, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by pleasure or fear of pain. 

Tim Ferriss defined it as "an operating system for thriving in high-stress environments for making better decisions." He also said that he developed a way to train himself to separate what you can control from what you cannot control. This way is basically visualizing the worst-case scenarios in detail. These are things that you fear and that are preventing you from taking action so that you can take action to overcome your obstacle. 

I actually did the exercise and I immediately felt better just seeing it written on paper. Since I wrote about it, it hasn't been on my mind as much as it has been before. 

The plan is simply the following: 

Write on paper "What if I...?" (This is the action that you are afraid to take.)

1. Define - Imagine all the worst-case scenarios and write at least 15 or more scenarios. 

2. Prevent - Write 15 or more examples of what you can do to prevent or decrease the likelihood of all your worst-case scenarios from happening.

3. Repair - Write 15 or more examples of what you would do to repair the damage once it has already happened. 

On the next page ask yourself the following:

What might be the benefits of an attempt of my what if question?

If I avoid this action/decision, what might my life look like, 6 months, 12 months, and 3 years later?

Not only has this practice helped me with one of my biggest fears, I still need to continue this practice because I know the fears completely won't go away overnight. In a way, defining your fears can ultimately help and strengthen your goals. 

Comment below if you have tried this practice and how has it helped weaken your fears? 

 
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