How to Deal With Your Fear Without Losing Your Sanity
Every person has to deal with fear whether it is fear of heights, fear of reptiles or fear of rejection etc.
It is part of human nature.
But the most common fear we encounter is the fear of the unknown. The fear of what will happen in the future.
No one is exempted.
Even the most superhuman you ever know like Timothy Ferris.
Like everyone else, he became insecure and scared for years as the rest of the world.
According to Tim,
Nothing is more frustrating than setting goals, making resolutions to change and nothing came of either.
He knew he needs something to do. He needs to discover an antidote to the poison.
One of the venomous snakes in the world is the King Cobra.
The snake’s bite releases poison called neurotoxins that attack the nervous system of its victim.
The neurotoxin is extremely fast-acting, that if left untreated can lead to seizures, paralysis then followed by death.
It is so powerful that a single bite can kill a 12,000 pounds, full-grown elephant in just three hours or kill a human in 15 minutes!
Fear is like poison. If left untreated, it will attack your nervous system.
It can lead to self-doubts (seizures), overthinking (paralysis) and soon unfulfilled and unsatisfied life (death).
We need an antidote. We need to know how to conquer the fear.
This is when Tim discover fear setting.
What is fear setting?
Fear setting is a thought exercise that starts with defining your fears.
But instead of defining the fear itself, we are defining the probable end results.
In order to win the war, you must know thy enemy.
By answering this six(6) questions (paraphrased), this exercise will reveal to you the true identity of your fear.
1. What doubts, fears and “what-ifs” pop-up as you consider the big changes you can or need to make?
What is the worst thing can happen?
List them down.
Rank its impact from 1 to 10, with 10 having the permanent impact.
To help you decide its impact, ask yourself “Is it a life-death situation?”
This is not about being pessimistic, per se. It is about clearing your thoughts.
After answering this question, you will realize that the big problem you were agonizing for nights is may not that big as you think it is.
Or there is no problem at all.
2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
What is your plan B if plan A does not work?
What is your plan C if plan B does not work?
Create a safety net to keep your sanity when you fall.
3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?
What is the best thing can happen and what is the impact on your life?
This is the opposite of Question №1.
This is self-explanatory because this is what we all want the best thing for us. Again list them down and rank it from 1 to 10.
Have less intelligent people done this before and pulled it off?
This a follow up question.
When you realized that there are people who succeeded in their life, despite being “less fortunate” than you are, you began to ask yourself,
“How did he do that? How can I do it too?”
Knowing that there are such persons can boost your confidence.
4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
How will you deal with unexpected events like a lay off on your job?
Will you survive for at least six (6) months of unemployment?
Frankly, when I read this question, my mind shut down “temporarily”.
Because the reality is, I don’t have an answer.
This got me into thinking,
“What the hell am I doing in my life?”
I never thought that this could happen.
You lose your job tomorrow, then what’s next?
Do I have enough finances to cover up the weeks of unemployment?
5. What are you putting off out of fear?
If you give in to your fear, you are giving up something.
Ask yourself, “If I let my fear overpower me, what am I losing something important?
If I don’t pursue my dreams because of my fear, what am I giving up in the future?
When you the fear of unknown knocks on your door, remember what Tim says.
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.
This has been my mantra ever since I found myself paralyze due to over analysis.
6. What is costing you financially, emotionally and physically to postpone action?
Most of us fear the worst case scenario that can happen following after big decision.
But we didn’t realize that not taking action at all is the greatest risk you are doing.
This becomes my biggest problem.
Since I am afraid of taking the risk, I tend to hide inside my shell more often, missing out the opportunities and regretting afterward.
7. What are you waiting for?
Based on your response to last 6 questions, Tim challenges you to take action.
If you don’t act now, then when?
To be or not to be, that is the question?
I realize that the purpose of fear setting is about taking calculated risk.
It is not about blindly following your guts and not considering the possible outcome in the end.
It is about knowing that no matter how big your fear you think it is when you define it, it became smaller.
It is an exercise you need to do whenever you feel stuck in making important decisions.
If you realized that it is not a life and death situation, then go for it!
If you realized that the worst-case scenario has only temporary and low impact, then go for it!
If you realized that the best-case scenario has a permanent and high impact in your life, then go for it!
Go for it now and change your life.
Or stay where you are and wait for things to come.
It is now up for you to decide.