Let's face it we have all been scared at some time or another. In fact, being scared and feeling fear is highly correlated with the successful evolution of homo sapiens so isn't all bad in the aggregate. The interplay between the amygdala and the body at large has a long history of getting us out of primal trouble and literally saving our skins.
Fear and stress of this type are extremely useful in 'non-everyday-events'. So fear can be a massive motivator for instantaneous movement like the fight or flight reflex kicking us in the face when we are in imminent danger.
But ironically fear can also be a pernicious killer of meaningful movement as well. Sometimes individuals faced with a tough choice (not immediately life threatening) like what course to choose at UNI or whether to accept a promotion or whether to pursue a side hustle or business, find themselves in a deep, sometimes dark trough of uncertainty. For some, these choices and the uncertainty they create can be a harrowing experience. Often the fear experienced by someone from the vantage point of an observer is irrational or difficult to understand, but for the person experiencing the fear, the feelings can be overwhelming leading to anxiety and even depression over longer periods of time.
Of course this fear and the lack of effective decisions resulting in stasis, and this stasis comes with costs.
All credit to Tim Ferriss whose TED talk in 2018 touched on his dance with fear, anxiety, inaction and depression. I took his talk and decoded his fear setting process into a sequential methodology that hopefully will be useful when you are making your next decision and feeling anxious about it.
"We suffer more in our imagination than in reality" - Seneca
Here is the process step by step:
1. ASK your self the question WHAT IF I.......................? (whatever it is you are ruminating about)
2. DEFINE - the worst things that can happen if you do whatever you are ruminating about. List them, whatever they are, 1-5 or whatever blows your hair back.
3. PREVENT - What could I do to prevent or minimise the projected worst outcomes listed in No2. List them 1-5.
4. REPAIR - What could you do to repair damage should it occur as a result of No2? List the remedies 1-5
5. ASK your self the critical question:
Has anyone in the history of time figured this out? Could that somebody have been less intelligent and less driven than me?
6. BENEFITS - What might the benefits be of giving No 1 a shot? List them 1 - 5
7. COSTS - What are the costs of inaction, what is the cost of keeping the status quo, metaphorically not running toward your potential? Plot out the costs 3 months out, 6 months out, 9 months out, 12 months out - longer if you want, it always depends on the question posed at No 1 and your particular life and circumstances. Remember the costs can be objective that are easy to quantify - like "if I do not make my sales target I will miss out on my $50k bonus", easy!
Subjective costs are a little more tricky. As an example, what are the longterm costs of not registering for UNI or not starting that side hustle you have been prompted to start? What is the lifetime exponential costs potentially related to inaction or lack of self leadership? The number can get really really big!
RULES - be honest. be brutal. be humble. be courageous.
If you use this simple process you will uncover the deeper drivers behind your fear, your possible procrastination and hopefully you will have a small decisioning tool to make life better. Realising what we can control in life and what we cannot is an empowering process and normally leads to much better decisions.
Carpe diem - Make your change in 2019.
Life is good!