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Fear as constructive guidance

Setting goals – in life and in work – may be a very good way of achieving what you wish for. However, the factor which usually determines what we finally decide to do or not to do is our fear of consequences.

So why not explore our fear? It may be justified, but then again, it may not. You won’t know until you turn around and look it in the eye.

Tim Ferriss has given an inspiring TED talk on the subject.

His message of how important it is to understand your fear as well as the means within your grasp of setting things in motion and so create results is thought-provoking, and his tools are very useful.

Model for analyzing your fear

First step – analyse your fear and your means of action

What exactly am I fearing … (the theme of your fear)

  • Define: Define the worst thing that could possibly happen
  • Diminish: Explore what you can do to minimize the risk of such a thing actually happening
  • Repair: Explore what you can do, or what kind of help you can seek, if the worst should happen anyway

Next step – possible gains

When you have established the details of your fear and what you can do to diminish or to handle it, then ask yourself:

  • What could I gain if I still persist in doing what I fear, either partially or in full measure?

Third step – The price of retaining status quo

Finally, you ask yourself, what is the price of remaining in status quo? What do I risk by NOT saying, asking or doing what I imagine could have fearful consequences?

When you have completed these steps you will be in a better and more enlightened position for deciding what you should do.

Imagination versus reality

“Fantasy is often more painful than reality” – Seneca the younger

At some point I learned that shaping a vision, a dream or an imagined goal is the easy bit. Turning it into reality is the hard bit where the battle really stands.

But when I use the “Fear-model” from Tim Ferriss, I feel that it´s the other way around.

Making everything more concrete is what makes it all easier.

It may still be tough enough to follow through, but what is at stake will be made clearer to you, and the means of action will stand out, giving you a sense of security.

Do you dare? I hope the tool will work for you.