Half Man Half Noodle

Your fears are where you should focus

Your fears tell you more about what you should focus on than your goals. Often, they are what’s getting in the way and they aren’t going away by ignoring them.

I’m afraid of risk. I’m overly cautious and take too much time to make important decisions. I justify this as being completely sure I’m making the right decision, despite knowing there is no right time or guarantee of outcome. This is the basis of many fears, knowing you’re being irrational but being afraid anyway.

Defining it doesn’t remove the fear but it does help to see how it’s harming your potential progress. Fears also come down to the unknown and that which we can’t control. Call it anxiety.

Fear setting

Try the following fear setting exercise as explained by Tim Ferriss.

You are going to split each fear into 3 pages. Each page outlined below. Ferriss does this on a quarterly basis for all current fears. He states some of your fears may be very well founded but you shouldn’t conclude that without first putting them under a microscope.

I am currently fearful of investing money into the stock market given the current levels of inflation and basic knowledge of investing. Based on this…

Page 1: Define // Prevent // Repair

Define: All the worst case scenarios that will happen if you take that step. Ferriss suggests listing 10-20 scenarios. In the case of investing that could be completely losing $5000, incurring extra bank charges, losing my job then needing this money to survive.

Prevent: What can I do to prevent these things from happening or at the very least, decrease the likelihood. Research the investment options with the least risk, keep enough money in cash as a safety net, invest money gradually per month instead of all at once.

Repair: If it did happen, what could I do to repair the damage. Work overtime to recoup the money, spend less, cut back on going out and luxury.

Ask yourself “Has anyone in the history of the universe figured this out before? Less driven or less intelligent than me?” The answer is most likely yes.

Page 2: What might the benefits be of an attempt or a partial success?

If I make money, even 2% of my investment it will be a profit. If I lose it, it will teach me a real life lesson in investing and highlight what I need to know more of, before making a similar decision in the future. It will provide me with valuable experience to talk with other investors about. Feedback.

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life – Jerzy Gregorek

Page 3: The cost of inaction – 6 months // 1 Year // 3 Years (emotionally, physically, financially)

If I avoid this action / decision, or decisions like this, what might my life look like? Again, in the case of the investment: My money will gradually lose its value as cash and I could be in a place where I will have to work even harder to live the life that I have become accustomed to now.

What we fear is most often what we need to do or as Ryan Holiday would say “The obstacle is the way.” Take time today to do fear setting of your own.