Building community in a changing world

February 24, 2022

Conducting Fear Planning

Yes, I’ve been blogging a lot about death. Thanks to those that asked if I’m okay – and the answer is “I’m fine.” I’m just trying to learn more about death because becoming informed about those things we fear helps to demystify them and tamp down that anxiety.

In fact, defining your fears could be more important than defining your goals. Here’s the description of this Ted Talk by Tim Ferriss: “The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls ‘fear-setting.'”

Tim describes three steps to conduct “fear planning”:

1. Define – Name the fear. Write it down. Up to 20 aspects of the fear in bullet form. By identifying the fear, that might even be enough to overcome that particular fear.

2. Prevent – Write down everything you can do to keep the thing you fear from happening. So write down things that can prevent each aspect of the fear you identified in the first step.

3. Repair – Write down what you can do to fix the consequences if the fear happens. The cost of inaction (emotionally, financially, physically – over a six-month, 1-year, three-year time frame). Again, cover each of the bullets you identified in the first step.

Some of your fears may be well-founded and may come to pass. But some may not…but this exercise may help reduce anxiety if fear is something that occasionally (or often) paralyzes you. Stoicism. Hard choices, easy life…