Tim Ferriss | Consider Risky Moves by ‘Fear-Setting’

Tim Ferriss | Consider Risky Moves by ‘Fear-Setting’

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how do you take risks and manage risks
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well it starts with defining risk so
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people start to manage risk and think of
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risk and plan for risk without ever
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defining it in the first place this is
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where we get ourselves into a lot of
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trouble I think of risk as the
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probability or the likelihood of an
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irreversible negative outcome they are
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reversible super important in that sense
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and the way that I work through
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different decisions or potential risks
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is by following an exercise called steer
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setting and I do this at least once a
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month
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I do this at certainly multiple times a
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quarter and it is akin to goal-setting a
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lot of people focus on goal setting
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well if you’re riding around with the
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emergency brake on ie small or big fears
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and if Tony Robbins who and if your
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tools of Titan’s might say stressed is
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the achiever word for fear so if you’re
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feeling stressed
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same-same it is fear so here’s how you
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work through it’s your more effective
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and less reactive emotionally reactive
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in your decision-making end is
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responding honestly to external
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circumstances fear setting what does it
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look like very simple right down then
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what I do is freehand this so I use
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these paper I’ll take a piece of paper
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and I’ll turn it vertical so we have
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eight and a half by 11 I’ll put two
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lines equally just loops like so six
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three columns all right now the decision
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that I am considering making I’ll put
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the top the risk and then in the first
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column I’ll write down all of the worst
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things that could possibly happen and
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the key element here is specificity
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super specific so what are the worst
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things that could happen if you made
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this decision if you and this is brought
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but it could be launched the new product
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dedicated a team to a different project
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fired half of your staff whatever it
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might be
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could be quitting a job taking a new job
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breaking up with someone
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proposing to someone whatever it might
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be right write down all the worst things
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that could happen with the greatest
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amount of detail possible they need to
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be specific so thinking think of them as
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sort of the anti goals right to set good
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goals they need to be what smart right
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specific measurable achievable by the
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Wadden RS and there I can never remember
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our t timeline right so reasonable or
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silent who knows rad let’s go thread but
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anyway you don’t this would be rad but
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the those those same criteria used for
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goals you’re using for these fears they
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need to be specific all the worse things
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could happen all right second column is
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what could I do to minimize the
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likelihood of each of those things from
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happening all right
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what kind of do to minimize the
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likelihood of all this function
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happening each one in turn next column
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is what could I do to get back to where
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I am now if these things happen again
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one by one you go down the list what
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could I do to get back to where I am now
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and if you’re considering say quitting
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your job and starting your own company
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well certainly good start by
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moonlighting right so that would be one
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in the column maybe you could take a
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bartending job or a waitering job if
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everything went to hell in a handbasket
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to get back on track and there are the
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same type of coping mechanisms they’re
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the same type of financing options the
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same type of short-term say remote
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contracting virtual team options
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whatever it might be as a CEO as a VP of
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Marketing as a fill-in-the-blank
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whatever the title might be however you
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think of yourself also you can do this
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so if you’re setting top of page what
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you’re thinking about doing the risk the
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thing that might be risky or that is
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scaring you and then all the worst
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things could happen but look by bullet
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as specific as possible in the middle
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what you could do in each case for each
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bullet to minimize the likelihood of
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each happening and then last what you
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could do to get back to where you are
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now if each of those happened and last
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but not least I give you one more just
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as extra credit is something that I
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would call fear rehearsal and is no big
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secret for people who have read a lot of
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my stuff I’m very interested in stoic
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philosophy I think that stoicism is a
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fantastic operating system
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for thriving with high performance in
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high stress environments and it trains
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you to be less reactive so fear
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rehearsal something that Seneca used to
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do something Kaito used to do a lot of
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the great Stoics used to do marcus
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aurelius and that was practicing your
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worst case scenario so if there’s any
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financial aspect involved which very
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often there is then you could do say
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what maybe Kevin Kelly does one of the
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founding editor of Wired magazine so you
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could sleep on your floor and a sleeping
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bag for a couple of days and eat only
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oatmeal or something like that and
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realize it’s actually isn’t that bad
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I could totally should’ve out of doing
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this or rice and beans whatever it is
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you could do what I do which is somewhat
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similar which is going for say a week
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eating be the scan ‘test affair at
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Seneca would say setting aside a few
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days each month so maybe I’m eating rice
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and beans maybe eating only one meal a
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day and fasting I do routine fasting
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also which is something I’ve talked a
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lot about some of named Dominic
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D’Agostino wearing the same clothing for
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a week straight
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or maybe just Haynes t-shirts and one
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pair of cheap jeans with flip-flops okay
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fine so you’re rehearsing the worst case
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scenario so it loses its power of you
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and loses its grip over you you’re
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effectively inoculating yourself against
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fear later which will cause you to make
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bad decisions so I would say if you’re
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setting and fear rehearsal are the big
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two buckets of techniques that I would
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use for addressing risk which starts
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with defining it the likelihood of an
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irreversible negative outcome define my
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terms a nebulous term that you use a lot
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is a dangerous thing
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you

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