How The Best Overcome Fear (#291)

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“Whatever you’re doing, don’t give a voice to things you’re not able to change.”
– Vince Vaughn

Welcome to another edition of The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour, where I share the habits and patterns of world-class performers revealed over nearly 300 interviews.

In this episode, we’ll explore fear. Specifically, how to manage, mitigate, and overcome fear, which is something I’ve battled for decades.

This has been such a focal point of my life that my last TED Talk focused on an exercise called fear setting, which is something I practice at least once a month and have found to be a life raft.

In addition to my own experiences, we’ll hear how Sir Richard Branson (@richardbranson), Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova), Vince Vaughn, and Caroline Paul (@carowriter) have battled their own fears.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another episode of The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour? In this episode, we explore meditation and mindfulness with Chase Jarvis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Harris, and Rainn Wilson (stream below or right-click here to download):

#201: The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour: Meditation, Mindset, and Mastery
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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6 Short Life Lessons From Terry Crews

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

The below profile is adapted from the new book, Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World, which features practical and detailed advice from 130+ of the world’s top performers. Enjoy!

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Terry Crews (@terrycrews, terrycrews.com) is an actor and former NFL player (Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles). His wide-ranging credits include the original viral Old Spice commercials, television series such as The Newsroom, Arrested Development, and Everybody Hates Chris, and films including White Chicks, the Expendables franchise, Bridesmaids, and The Longest Yard. He now stars on the Golden Globe Award–winning Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In 2014, Terry released his autobiography, Manhood: How to Be a Better Man — or Just Live with One.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. I have read hundreds of personal development books, but this is the one that clearly showed me how to visualize, contemplate, and focus on what it was I truly wanted. It revealed to me that we only get what we desire most, and to apply myself with a laserlike focus upon a goal, task, or project. That in order to “have” you must “do,” and in order to “do” you must “be” — and this process is immediate. Although it takes time for these desires to manifest in our material world, you must see the thing you desire as completed, finished, and real, now. The better you can do this, the more you can accomplish. I have bought several copies of this book and distributed it to family and friends. I also reread it probably once a month to keep my vision clear.

Two more are Viktor E. Frankl’s incredible Man’s Search for Meaning and David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart. Both books are absolutely essential to me in order to keep my perspectives correct in a changing world.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

1986. It was my senior year in high school at Flint Academy in Flint, Michigan. I was the starting center for our class C basketball team. We had a great team that year, and we were expected to go very far, if not all the way, in the state playoffs. We faced Burton Atherton in the district final, and we were expected to trounce them, but they tried something we’d never seen before. They didn’t play. They would bring the ball down the court and just pass it back and forth at the top of the key. There was no shot clock, so they did this forever. The only time we scored was when we managed to steal the ball. But our coach, for some reason, decided we were going to let them do it. I remember standing there, with my hands raised in zone defense, watching them hold the ball without even attempting to shoot. I was frustrated, and every attempt I made to step out of the zone was rebuffed by our coach. This method was working for them, because with only five seconds left on the game clock, they were up 47-45.

One of their players made a mistake and tried a long pass cross court and I stole the ball. I desperately dribbled the entire length of the court . . . 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . for our only chance to win. I missed. Their fans go crazy, as it was the biggest upset of the year, and I collapse in a heap, thinking my life is over. The coach afterward told the whole team that I had no business taking that shot and I should have passed it to our star player. It was in the paper the next day that I failed, and I was ridiculed by students and teachers alike. I was beyond crushed. A dark cloud covered me everywhere I went as I internalized the loss.

A few days later, as the fog of failure began to lift, I remember having a rare time alone in my room (I usually shared it with my brother). As I sat in the silence, another thought pierced through my sadness. “I took the shot.” It was invigorating, even exciting. “Hey, when all the chips were on the line, you didn’t leave your future up to others, YOU TOOK YOUR SHOT.” Instantly I felt free and in control. I knew from then on that I could have the courage to fail on my own terms. From that moment, I decided that if I was going to succeed or fail, it was going to be up to me. I was changed forever.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?

“God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote because it is all about defeating fear. Every great and extraordinary accomplishment in this world was done through courage. Hell, you don’t even get to be born unless your mother has the courage to have you. I repeat this phrase when I’m anxious or nervous about something. I ask myself, what’s the worst that can happen. Usually, the answer is, “You can die.” Then I answer back, “I’d rather die doing something I feel is great and amazing rather than be safe and comfortable living a life I hate.” I talk to myself a lot, and this quote helps me sort out my fears and deal with them. The more you run from your fears, the bigger they get, but the more you go into them, the more they tend to vanish like a mirage.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

There is a big difference between intelligence and wisdom. Many are fooled into thinking they are the same thing, but they are not. I have seen intelligent serial killers, but I’ve never seen a wise one. Intelligent human beings have been given this trumped-up position in society where, just because they’re intelligent, they are to be listened to, and I have found this is extremely dangerous. I was in a Christian cult along with other very intelligent people but, looking back, if I had heeded wisdom, I would have seen we were all on the wrong path. Intelligence is like following a GPS route right into a body of water until you drown. Wisdom looks at the route but, when it takes a turn into the ocean, decides not to follow it, then finds a new, better way. Wisdom reigns supreme.

Ignore any advice that tells you you are going to miss something. Every mistake I have ever made in business, marriage, and personal conduct was because I thought if I didn’t do or get this now, it was never going to happen. It’s like most clubs in LA. The trick is to keep the line long at the door, while the club itself is empty. The “aura of exclusivity” is really code for “bad atmosphere.” To do what you desire to do, you have all you need.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

“Work hard to beat the competition.” The truth is that competition is the opposite of creativity. If I am working hard to beat the competition, it actually prevents me from thinking creatively to make all concepts of competition obsolete. As a football player, I was told to work hard to compete against the other team, some perceived future threat (new draftees, age, or injury), and even my current teammates. As an actor, you are told to look a certain way or do things you don’t agree with in order to “compete.” This competitive mindset destroys people. It’s the scorched-earth way of thinking, and everyone is burned.

The truth is that you need the success of everyone in your field in order to achieve your own success. Creativity operates differently. You work hard because you’re inspired to, not because you have to. Work becomes fun, and you have energy for days because this life is not a “young man’s game.” It is an “inspired person’s game.” The keys belong to whoever is inspired, and no specific age, sex, gender, or cultural background has a monopoly on inspiration. When you’re creative, you render competition obsolete, because there is only one you, and no one can do things exactly the way you do. Never worry about the competition. When you’re creative, you can, in fact, cheer others on with the full knowledge that their success will undoubtedly be your own.

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to? What new realizations and/or approaches helped?

I realized that I had to let people leave my life, never to return. Every relationship I have in my life, from family and friends to business partners, must be a voluntary relationship. My wife can leave at any time. Family members can call me or not. Business partners can decide to move on, and it’s all okay. But the same is true on my end. If I say I’m ready to move on and someone doesn’t accept that, now we have a problem. I remember trying to move on from a very close friend because he was displaying behaviors I wasn’t comfortable with. Soon after, I received a letter by certified mail, threatening me with a lawsuit for over a million dollars because of the demise of our “friendship.” It was ridiculous and it still is, so I actually framed the letter as a reminder of the necessity of letting people go and moving on. One approach I use is imaginary great-grandchildren. I talk to them all the time. I ask them about decisions and relationships and whether or not to continue them. They tend to speak loud and clear. “Grandpa, you shouldn’t do this, or you need to leave these people alone because we will be affected negatively, or worse, we won’t exist.” Those moments show me that this whole thing is bigger than me. It’s the realization that there is a “will to pleasure,” a “will to power” and, in the words of Viktor Frankl, a “will to meaning.” You won’t take a bullet for pleasure or power, but you will for meaning. So you sometimes have to do what I call a “crowd-thinner.” One wrong person in your circle can destroy your whole future. It’s that important.

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The above was taken from Tribe of Mentors, which shares short, tactical life advice from 130+ world-class performers from every imaginable field. Many of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, and artists are part of the book.

Get Tribe of Mentors at these fine retailers or at your local bookstore!  Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Apple iBooks | Books-A-Million | Indigo

Here’s a partial list of people included: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and roughly 100 more. Click here to see the full list, sample chapters, and more.

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How to Fear Less: Vince Vaughn

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“Fear is more crippling than the actual consequences.”
– Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn (@WildWest) is one of the most prolific actors, writers, and producers in the world. He’s acted in more than thirty major motion pictures that have gone on to gross more than 1.7 billion at the box office. He is largely credited for redefining the R-rated comedy with his performance in the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers, which set the record for highest grossing R-rated comedy at the time. He is — and will continue to be, I expect — one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood.

As a listener to this podcast, Vince reached out with his production company Wild West to see if we might do a TV show together. The result is Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss — “less” is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless. More details about the show can be found at tim.blog/fearless. Or, if you want to watch the entire first episode with performance artist David Blaine (@davidblaine), you can see it here or visit att.net/fearless.

I had the chance to catch up with Vince at Vulture Festival in New York City. In this conversation, we get into stories of his early beginnings, how to negotiate, his cold-calling career, and important decisions he’s made as a producer, an artist, and a businessperson. I had a blast doing this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Want to hear another podcast with a comedian, actor, and director? — Listen to my conversation with Jon Favreau. In this episode, we discuss his writing process, daily routines, how to create films that redefine categories, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

#71: The Master Creator - How Jon Favreau Went from Swingers to Elf to Ironman to Chef
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month

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I do an exercise called “fear-setting” at least once a quarter, often once a month. It is the most powerful exercise I do.  

Fear-setting has produced my biggest business and personal successes, as well as repeatedly helped me to avoid catastrophic mistakes.

The above TED talk (brand-new!) gives you an overview, and the below text provides more detail, step-by-step instructions, and real-world examples. For the three exercise slides from the TED presentation, click here.

Now, onward…

Enter Fear-Setting

“Many a false step was made by standing still.”
— Fortune Cookie

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
— Yoda

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Twenty feet and closing.

“Run! Ruuuuuuuuuun!” Hans didn’t speak Portuguese, but the meaning was clear enough—haul ass. His sneakers gripped firmly on the jagged rock, and he drove his chest forward toward 3,000 feet of nothing.

He held his breath on the final step, and the panic drove him to near unconsciousness. His vision blurred at the edges, closing to a single pinpoint of light, and then . . . he floated. The all-consuming celestial blue of the horizon hit his visual field an instant after he realized that the thermal updraft had caught him and the wings of the paraglider. Fear was behind him on the mountaintop, and thousands of feet above the resplendent green rain forest and pristine white beaches of Copacabana, Hans Keeling had seen the light.

That was Sunday.

On Monday, Hans returned to his law office in Century City, Los Angeles’s posh corporate haven, and promptly handed in his three-week notice. For nearly five years, he had faced his alarm clock with the same dread: I have to do this for another 40–45 years?

He had once slept under his desk at the office after a punishing half-done project, only to wake up and continue on it the next morning.

That same morning, he had made himself a promise: two more times and I’m out of here. Strike number three came the day before he left for his Brazilian vacation.

We all make these promises to ourselves, and Hans had done it before as well, but things were now somehow different. He was different.

He had realized something while arcing in slow circles toward the earth—risks weren’t that scary once you took them. His colleagues told him what he expected to hear: He was throwing it all away. He was an attorney on his way to the top—what the hell did he want?

Hans didn’t know exactly what he wanted, but he had tasted it.

On the other hand, he did know what bored him to tears, and he was done with it. No more passing days as the living dead, no more dinners where his colleagues compared cars, riding on the sugar high of a new BMW purchase until someone bought a more expensive Mercedes. It was over.

Immediately, a strange shift began—Hans felt, for the first time in a long time, at peace with himself and what he was doing. He had always been terrified of plane turbulence as if he might die with the best inside of him, but now he could fly through a violent storm sleeping like a baby. Strange indeed.

More than a year later, he was still getting unsolicited job offers from law firms, but by then had started Nexus Surf,5 a premier surf adventure company based in the tropical paradise of Florianopolis, Brazil. He had met his dream girl, a Carioca with caramel-colored skin named Tatiana, and spent most of his time relaxing under palm trees or treating clients to the best times of their lives.

Is this what he had been so afraid of?

These days, he often sees his former self in the underjoyed and overworked professionals he takes out on the waves. Waiting for the swell, the true emotions come out: “God, I wish I could do what you do.” His reply is always the same: “You can.”

The setting sun reflects off the surface of the water, providing a Zen-like setting for a message he knows is true: It’s not giving up to put your current path on indefinite pause. He could pick up his law career exactly where he left off if he wanted to, but that is the furthest thing from his mind.

As they paddle back to shore after an awesome session, his clients get ahold of themselves and regain their composure. They set foot on shore, and reality sinks its fangs in: “I would, but I can’t really throw it all away.”

He has to laugh.

The Power of Pessimism: Defining the Nightmare

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
— Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister

To do or not to do? To try or not to try? Most people will vote no, whether they consider themselves brave or not. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

For years, I set goals, made resolutions to change direction, and nothing came of either. I was just as insecure and scared as the rest of the world.

The simple solution came to me accidentally four years ago. At that time, I had more money than I knew what to do with—I was making $70K or so per month—and I was completely miserable, worse than ever. I had no time and was working myself to death.

I had started my own company, only to realize it would be nearly impossible to sell. This turned out to be yet another self-imposed limitation and false construct. (BrainQUICKEN was acquired by a private equity firm in 2009.)

Oops. I felt trapped and stupid at the same time.

I should be able to figure this out, I thought. Why am I such an idiot?

Why can’t I make this work?! Buckle up and stop being such a (insert expletive)! What’s wrong with me? The truth was, nothing was wrong with me. I hadn’t reached my limit; I’d reached the limit of my business model at the time. It wasn’t the driver, it was the vehicle.

Critical mistakes in its infancy would never let me sell it. I could hire magic elves and connect my brain to a supercomputer—it didn’t matter. My little baby had some serious birth defects. The question then became, How do I free myself from this Frankenstein while making it self-sustaining? How do I pry myself from the tentacles of workaholism and the fear that it would fall to pieces without my 15-hour days? How do I escape this self-made prison? A trip, I decided.

A sabbatical year around the world.

So I took the trip, right? Well, I’ll get to that. First, I felt it prudent to dance around with my shame, embarrassment, and anger for six months, all the while playing an endless loop of reasons why my cop-out fantasy trip could never work. One of my more productive periods, for sure.

Then, one day, in my bliss of envisioning how bad my future suffering would be, I hit upon a gem of an idea. It was surely a highlight of my “don’t happy, be worry” phase: Why don’t I decide exactly what my nightmare would be—the worst thing that could possibly happen as a result of my trip?

Well, my business could fail while I’m overseas, for sure. Probably would. A legal warning letter would accidentally not get forwarded and I would get sued. My business would be shut down, and inventory would spoil on the shelves while I’m picking my toes in solitary misery on some cold shore in Ireland. Crying in the rain, I imagine. My bank account would crater by 80% and certainly my car and motorcycle in storage would be stolen. I suppose someone would probably spit on my head from a high-rise balcony while I’m feeding food scraps to a stray dog, which would then spook and bite me squarely on the face. God, life is a cruel, hard bitch.

Conquering Fear = Defining Fear

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?”
— Seneca

Then a funny thing happened. In my undying quest to make myself miserable, I accidentally began to backpedal. As soon as I cut through the vague unease and ambiguous anxiety by defining my nightmare, the worst-case scenario, I wasn’t as worried about taking a trip. Suddenly, I started thinking of simple steps I could take to salvage my remaining resources and get back on track if all hell struck at once. I could always take a temporary bartending job to pay the rent if I had to. I could sell some furniture and cut back on eating out. I could steal lunch money from the kindergarteners who passed by my apartment every morning. The options were many. I realized it wouldn’t be that hard to get back to where I was, let alone survive. None of these things would be fatal—not even close. Mere panty pinches on the journey of life.

I realized that on a scale of 1–10, 1 being nothing and 10 being permanently life-changing, my so-called worst-case scenario might have a temporary impact of 3 or 4. I believe this is true of most people and most would-be “holy sh*t, my life is over” disasters.

Keep in mind that this is the one-in-a-million disaster nightmare.

On the other hand, if I realized my best-case scenario, or even a probable-case scenario, it would easily have a permanent 9 or 10 positive life-changing effect.

In other words, I was risking an unlikely and temporary 3 or 4 for a probable and permanent 9 or 10, and I could easily recover my baseline workaholic prison with a bit of extra work if I wanted to.

This all equated to a significant realization: There was practically no risk, only huge life-changing upside potential, and I could resume my previous course without any more effort than I was already putting forth.

That is when I made the decision to take the trip and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. I started planning my adventures and eliminating my physical and psychological baggage. None of my disasters came to pass, and my life has been a near fairy tale since. The business did better than ever, and I practically forgot about it as it financed my travels around the world in style for 15 months.

Uncovering Fear Disguised as Optimism

“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine any way.’ Either way, nothing happens.”
— Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Fear comes in many forms, and we usually don’t call it by its four-letter name. Fear itself is quite fear-inducing. Most intelligent people in the world dress it up as something else: optimistic denial.

Most who avoid quitting their jobs entertain the thought that their course will improve with time or increases in income. This seems valid and is a tempting hallucination when a job is boring or uninspiring instead of pure hell. Pure hell forces action, but anything less can be endured with enough clever rationalization.

Do you really think it will improve or is it wishful thinking and an excuse for inaction? If you were confident in improvement, would you really be questioning things so? Generally not. This is fear of the unknown disguised as optimism.

Are you better off than you were one year ago, one month ago, or one week ago?

If not, things will not improve by themselves. If you are kidding yourself, it is time to stop and plan for a jump. Barring any James Dean ending, your life is going to be LONG. Nine to five for your working lifetime of 40–50 years is a long-ass time if the rescue doesn’t come. About 500 months of solid work.

How many do you have to go? It’s probably time to cut your losses.

””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Someone Call the Maître D’

“You have comfort. You don’t have luxury. And don’t tell me that money plays a part. The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort.” 
—JEAN COCTEAU, French poet, novelist, boxing manager, and filmmaker, whose collaborations were the inspiration for the term “surrealism ” 

Sometimes timing is perfect. There are hundreds of cars circling a parking lot, and someone pulls out of a spot 10 feet from the entrance just as you reach his or her bumper. Another Christmas miracle!

Other times, the timing could be better. The phone rings during sex and seems to ring for a half hour. The UPS guy shows up 10 minutes later. Bad timing can spoil the fun.

Jean-Marc Hachey landed in West Africa as a volunteer, with high hopes of lending a helping hand. In that sense, his timing was great.

He arrived in Ghana in the early 1980s, in the middle of a coup d’état, at the peak of hyperinflation, and just in time for the worst drought in a decade. For these same reasons, some people would consider his timing quite poor from a more selfish survival standpoint.

He had also missed the memo. The national menu had changed, and they were out of luxuries like bread and clean water. He would be surviving for four months on a slush-like concoction of corn meal and spinach. Not what most of us would order at the movie theater.

“WOW, ‘I’ CAN ‘SURVIVE.”

Jean-Marc had passed the point of no return, but it didn’t matter.

After two weeks of adjusting to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner (Mush à la Ghana), he had no desire to escape. The most basic of foods and good friends proved to be the only real necessities, and what would seem like a disaster from the outside was the most life – affirming epiphany he ’d ever experienced: The worst really wasn’t that bad. To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.

Now 48, Jean – Marc lives in a nice home in Ontario, but could live without it. He has cash, but could fall into poverty tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter. Some of his fondest memories still include nothing but friends and gruel. He is dedicated to creating special moments for himself and his family and is utterly unconcerned with retirement. He’s already lived 20 years of partial retirement in perfect health.

Don’t save it all for the end. There is every reason not to.

””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Q&A: QUESTIONS AND ACTIONS

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
—Mark Twain

If you are nervous about making the jump or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown, here is your antidote. Write down your answers, and keep in mind that thinking a lot will not prove as fruitfulor as prolific as simply brain vomiting on the page. Write and do not edit—aim for volume. Spend a few minutes on each answer.

  1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?
  2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily? Chances are, it’s easier than you imagine. How could you get things back under control?
  3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios? Now that you’ve defined the nightmare, what are the more probable or definite positive outcomes, whether internal (confidence, self-esteem, etc.) or external? What would the impact of these more likely outcomes be on a scale of 1–10? How likely is it that you could produce at least a moderately good outcome? Have less intelligent people done this before and pulled it off?
  4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control? Imagine this scenario and run through questions 1–3 above. If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track if you absolutely had to?
  5. What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be—it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous business people for advice.
  6. What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action? Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in one year, five years, and ten years? How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed ten more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfill you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the greatest risk of all.
  7. What are you waiting for? If you cannot answer this without resorting to the previously rejected concept of good timing, the answer is simple: You’re afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction, realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.

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The above has been adapted from chapters in The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans.

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Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety – Caroline Paul

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“Tragedies are the result of a series of small forks in the road.”
– Caroline Paul

Caroline Paul (@carowriter) returns to the podcast by popular demand for a round 2 Q&A. (You can catch her first appearance here.)

Caroline is the author of four published books. Her latest is the New York Times bestseller The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure.

Once a young scaredy-cat, Caroline decided that fear got in the way of excitement, confidence, and self-reliance. She has since flown planes, climbed tall mountains, and fought fires as one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco.

In this episode, Caroline answers your most popular questions, including:

  • The best starting point for overcoming your fears
  • How to stay focused in the moment and not let your mind create anxiety and stress
  • Her biggest life-changing experiences
  • Coping strategies for dealing with life’s most difficult events
  • And much, much more!

I hope you enjoy this round 2 Q&A with Caroline Paul.

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#227: Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety - Caroline Paul
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Want to hear another conversation with Caroline Paul? — Listen to her first appearance on the podcast. In this episode, we discuss various types of fear and how to overcome them, using stories, habits, and tactics.(stream below or right-click here to download):

#151: How to Overcome Fear - Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul
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This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. I reached out to these Finnish entrepreneurs after a very talented acrobat introduced me to one of their products, which blew my mind (in the best way possible). It is mushroom coffee featuring chaga. It tastes like coffee, but there are only 40 milligrams of caffeine, so it has less than half of what you would find in a regular cup of coffee. I do not get any jitters, acid reflux, or any type of stomach burn. It put me on fire for an entire day, and I only had half of the packet.

People are always asking me what I use for cognitive enhancement right now — this is the answer. You can try it right now by going to foursigmatic.com/tim and using the code Tim to get 20 percent off your first order. If you are in the experimental mindset, I do not think youíll be disappointed.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is the future of financial advice. It’s become especially popular among my friends in Silicon Valley and across the country because it provides the same high-end financial advice that the best private wealth managers deliver to the ultra wealthy — but for any account size, at a fraction of the cost.

Wealthfront monitors your portfolio every day across more than a dozen asset classes to find opportunities for rebalancing and harvesting tax losses, and now manages more than $5B in assets. Unlike old-fashioned private wealth managers, Wealthfront is powered by innovative technology, making it the most tax-efficient, low-cost, hassle-free way to invest. Go to wealthfront.com/tim to take the risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and it’ll show you — for free — exactly the portfolio it would recommend. If you want to just take the advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim. As a Tim Ferriss Show listener, you’ll get your first $15,000 managed for free if you decide to go with its services.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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How to Overcome Fear – Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul

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caroline_headshot

Caroline Paul (@carowriter) is a blast and can also probably kick my ass… seriously.

Caroline is the author of four published books. Her latest is the New York Times best seller The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure.

Once a young scaredy-cat, Caroline decided that fear got in the way of the life she wanted–of excitement, confidence, and self-reliance. She has since flown planes, rafted big rivers, climbed tall mountains, and fought fires as one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco.

In this episode, we discuss various types of fear and how to overcome them, using stories, habits, and tactics.

If you only have a couple of minutes, you might find this section valuable.

Enjoy!
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#151: How to Overcome Fear - Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul
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Want to hear another podcast featuring a daring woman who challenges perceived limitations? — Listen to my conversation with Amelia Boone. In this episode, we discuss how she beats 99% of men in endurance races like the World’s Toughest Mudder (stream below or right-click here to download):

#127: Amelia Boone on Beating 99% of Men and Suffering for a High-Performance Life
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This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years and I love audio books. I have two to recommend:

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

All you need to do to get your free 30-day Audible trial is go to Audible.com/Tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose between more than 180,000 audio programs. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim and get started today. Enjoy!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What creates the most fear in your life, and how might you overcome this fear? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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