Define your fears instead of your goals – Tim Ferriss TED Talk

I didn’t realise that Tim Ferriss, writer of the ‘4-Hour Workweek’, had contemplated suicide when he was 19 years old, or that he suffered from bouts of depression.  I have a lot of respect for Tim and his book that, in a way, focuses on making life more simple and encouraging people to consider a different type of working lifestyle.  One that doesn’t involve spending most of your week at the office.

tim-ferriss-ted-talkIn this Ted Talk, Tim speaks about a written exercise called ‘Fear Setting’ and analysing the worst case scenarios for things you are worried about doing.  By looking at the potential things that could go wrong, you can consider what can be done to prevent or repair these problems.

By writing this out, you can get a more realistic overview of how obvious pitfalls can be avoided or that the worst case scenario may not be as bad as you think.  The exercise also includes looking at the benefits of partial success and the cost of taking no action at all further down the line.  This process helped him to take a life-changing trip and later write the 4 Hour Work Week book.

There are three parts to the exercise, which should be written out and are described in detail in the video:

1. What if I…?

  • Define what you fear and what could go wrong
    e.g. go on holiday and miss a tax letter
  • Prevent – how can you prevent or decrease the likelihood of this?
    e.g. change the address at the tax office, so letters go directly to your accountant
  • Repair – if the worst case scenario happened, how could you undo the damage?
    e.g. speak to a friend who is a lawyer about how to resolve the situation

2. What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success?

3. The cost of inaction – emotionally, physically, financially, etc.

  • After 6 months
  • After 12 months
  • After 3 years

In this way, you are having to think about not only the negative outcomes and how to avoid them, but also the potential short-term and long-term benefits.  Tim also mentions stoic philosophy, and how sometimes difficult decisions and conversations need to take place to progress in life.

The Ted Talk video can be seen here:
https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_ferriss_why_you_should_define_your_fears_instead_of_your_goals#t-844802

If you want to find out more about the ‘4-Hour Workweek’ book, you can click on this link.

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‘Be Your Own Life Coach’ by Fiona Harrold

I read this book when I was around 20 years old and it had a major positive impact.  It made me think about my own ‘self talk’ for the first time, and I realised how negative and harsh I was with myself.  I still have the book now, over ten years later.

Life-coach-book.pngIt’s easy to read, down-to-earth and full of positivity.  The biggest thing I took away from this book was to treat myself as a good friend.  Instead of beating yourself up over something or always focussing on the negative, be kind to yourself.  Like yourself as a person.

You know when a good friend goes through something ‘bad’ like a break up?  You take the time to make them feel better and reassure them that they are wonderful and everything will be ok.  You don’t beat them up about it or tell them that they deserved it and they were an awful partner.  You’re nice and supportive to your good friends, so be nice and supportive to yourself too.

This is the first ‘self improvement’ book that I remember reading and having an impact on me.  It discusses self-confidence, self-reliance, work and what you want from life.  I also recommended it to a friend who loved it just as much as I did and says that she refers back to it every once in a while.

Sadly, there is no manual to life, but it’s good to know that there are resources available to us for improving our lives and the way we see ourselves.

You can find out more about ‘Be Your Own Life Coach’ by Fiona Harrold by clicking here.