“Fear Setting” instead of “Goal Setting”

by Leo on June 5, 2014


I was listening to an interview with author
Tim Ferris yesterday and he mentioned
his concept of “fear setting” as a replacement
for “goal setting”.

Here is my transcript…

“One of the reasons so few people do bold things is because they don’t define risk…they have a nebulous fear of a worst-case scenario… having too  little money or whatever it might be but they
don’t define it very clearly which is why I encourage
people to do this “fear setting” exercise….”

“Look at the decision you are considering… that would
dramatically change your life and you make a list…”

“I draw two vertical lines on a piece of paper so I have
three columns…”

1st category…what are the worst things that could happen…
in excruciating detail…let’s get very,very specific…all the worst
things that could happen no matter how absurd.”

2nd column…what could you do to minimize the likelihood
of those things happening.”

Last category…if those things happen, what could you do to
get back to where you are now?”

“If you run through this exercise and you define risk as the likelihood
of an “irreversible negative outcome”, which is how I define it…there
is very little risk…very very little risk.”

-end of transcript

Let me try to make this more clear in your mind if
you’re having trouble grasping the concept.

Yesterday, I did a 100 piece mailing.

The total cost including printing, postage and envelopes
was $72.61.

Let’s imagine someone who earns $10 an hour was
considering doing the same project.

The “risk” for them is that the mailing would make
them nothing and they’d lose all $72.61.

They’d have to work almost 10 hours in their job to
earn enough to pay for the mailing.

They could minimize that risk by sending 10 or 25
at a time to see what happened. (column 2)

Sending 10 would cost only $7.26.

If all else failed and the whole $72.61 was lost, what
would they have to do to get back to where they
started…(column 3) with an extra $72.61 in their pocket?

-Work some overtime?
-Reallocate some expenses…might have to skip dinner
out or movies for a week or three?
-Cancel HBO for a few months?

None of this would be more than a minor inconvenience.

This wouldn’t even be considered a risk according to
Ferris’ definition… “an irreversible negative outcome”.

The cliff notes version of “fear setting” is, if it won’t kill
you or maim you, it’s not really a risk.

Run any goal you are reluctant to pursue through this
process…on paper not just in your mind… and you’ll probably
find out it’s not as “scary” as you expected.

Thanks so much for reading.

Leo

 

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