Why you should define your fears instead of your goals | Tim Ferriss

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals | 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 Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls fear-setting. Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.

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

Goal setting is one thing, but how about 'fear setting'? Tim Ferriss encourages us to ask ourselves “What’s the worst that could happen?” – and not treat it rhetorically. Ferriss' latest book is Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (

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How do you take risks and manage risks? Well, it starts with defining risk. So people start to manage risk and think of risk and plan for risk without ever defining it in the first place. This is where we get ourselves into a lot of trouble. And many people view me as a risk taker. How do you get comfortable taking so many risks? I don't view myself as a risk taker at all, I actually view myself as an expert or a would-be expert at the very least in risk mitigation. I think of myself as very, very conservative and I think of risk as the probability or the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome, the irreversible is super important in that sense. And the way that I work through different decisions or potential risks is by following an exercise called fear setting. And I do this at least once a month. I do this certainly multiple times a quarter. And it is akin to goal setting. A lot of people focus on goal setting. Well, if you're riding around with the emergency brake on, i.e. small or big fears, and as Tony Robbins, who I interviewed for Tools of Titans might say, Stressed is the achiever word for fear. So if you're feeling stressed same, same. It is fear.

So here's how you work through it so you're more effective and less reactive, emotionally reactive in your decision making and just responding honestly to external circumstances. Fear setting. What does it look like? It's very simple. What I do is free hand this so I use a piece of paper. I'll take a piece of paper and I'll turn it vertical so we have 8.5 x 11. I'll put two lines equally distanced like so so you have three columns. Now, the decision that I am considering making I'll put at the top, the risk. And then in the first column I'll write down all of the worst things that could possibly happen. And the key element here is specificity. Super specific. So what are the worst things that could happen if you made this decision? If you, and this is broad but it could be launch the new product; dedicated a team to a different project; fired half of your staff, whatever it might be. It could be quitting a job; taking a new job; breaking up with someone; proposing to someone, whatever it might be. Write down all of the worst things that could happen with the greatest amount of detail possible. They need to be specific so think of them as sort of the anti-goals. To set good goals they need to be what? Smart. Specific, measurable, achievable, blah, blah, blah I don't know what R is; I can never remember R, T, timeline. Reasonable, I don't know who knows. Rad, let's go with rad. But anyways you don't want this to be rad, but those same criteria you would use for goals you're using for these fears. They need to be specific. All the worst things could happen.

All right. Second column is what could I do to minimize the likelihood of each of those things from happening? What could I do to minimize likelihood of all those things from happening each one in turn? Next column is what could I do to get back to where I am now if these things happen? Again, one by one you go down the list. What could I do to get back to where I am now? And if you're considering say quitting your job and starting your own company, well certainly you could start by moonlighting so that would be one in the column. Maybe you could take a bartending job or a waitering job if everything went to hell in a hand basket to get back on track. And they're are the same type of coping mechanisms, they're the same type of financing options, they're the same type of short-term say remote contracting virtual team options, whatever it might to be as a CEO, as a VP of marketing, as a fill in the blank, whatever the title might be however you think of yourself also you can do this. So fear setting at the top of the page; what you thinking about doing, the risk, the thing that might be risky or that is scaring you and then all the worst things that could happen bullets of by bullet as specific as possible in the middle; what you could do in each case for each bullet to minimize the likelihood of each happening; and then last what you could do to get back to where you are now if each of those happen.

Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals from Tim Ferriss

Watch Tim Ferriss' TED Talk Why you should define your fears instead of your goals here.

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Why you should define your fears instead of your goals | Tim Ferriss

Author of three #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, The 4-Hour Workweek/Body/Chef. Japanophile, tea drinker, tango world record holder, language learning fanatic.

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 Ferriss will be joined us at Google to talk about his career, books, podcasts, and stoicism. Tim was asked the following questions: What has been the most .


Keep your goals to yourself | Derek Sivers

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone -- but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the Sixth Sense wearable tech, and Lost producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at

"If You Don't Have TIME, You Don't Have PRIORITIES!" - Timothy Ferriss (@tferriss) Top 10 Rules

✎ Timothy Ferriss's Top 10 Rules For Success Volume 2: In this video we're going to learn how to improve our lives by analyzing our take on Tim Ferriss' rules for success.

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• Tim Ferriss' Top 10 Rules For Success -
• Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Work Week -
• Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Body -

1. Ask great questions
2. Start small
3. Be focused
4. Unplug and reset
5. Accept the collateral damage
6. Try the Five Minute Journal method
7. Schedule your time
8. Get feedback
9. Simplify
10. Do AcroYoga
-= BONUS =-
* View problems as opportunities
* Find your diehard fans
* Create space for creativity

✎ He graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He received a degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 2000. After graduation, Ferriss worked in sales at a data storage company. In 2001, Ferriss founded BrainQUICKEN, an online nutritional supplements company. In November 2013, Ferriss began an audiobook publishing venture, Tim Ferriss Publishing. He is a pre-seed money advisor to Uber. He's the author of four books, The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, and Tools of Titans. He has been called the Oprah of Audio due to the influence and reach of his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. The New Yorker described Ferriss as this generation's self-help guru. Both The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Workweek are in the 10 Most Highlighted Books of All Time on Amazon Kindle.

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Top 10 Tim Ferriss Quotes | Inspirational Quotes | Motivational Thoughts

Tim Ferriss Inspirational quotes. Enjoy the best Tim Ferriss Quotes. Quotations by Tim Ferriss, American Author, Born July 20, 1977.
Timothy Tim Ferriss is an American Author, entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, public speaker, charity advocate, health guru and multiple business award winner.
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Tim Ferriss on The Practicality of Pessimism: Stoicism as a Productivity System. Ep 20

Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, talks about a different type of productivity technique, one based on Stoicism. Tim asks that you ponder this: could defining your fears be more important than defining your goals?

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals Tim Ferriss translated by Amal Ben Youssef

Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals

Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals
The Lesson: Tim Ferriss has suffered from frequent bouts of deep depression over the course of his l...
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What I Liked About Tim Ferriss's Latest TED Talk On Fear

In today's episode I'm breaking down Tim Ferriss's most recent TED talk titled Why you should define your fears instead of your goals. In this TED talk, Tim shares a simple exercise he calls Fear Setting which helps him break out of the paralyzing grips of fear, and focus on what he can control in situations. 

In the episode I share a personal example of using this Fear Setting Exercise to weigh the costs and benefits of a fearful situation in my life. 

I highly recommend watching Tim's TED talk, which you can see here:

Investing Fear - 5 Ways to Overcome It Now

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NOTE: I am not suggesting you pour money into the stock market now!!! This relates more to overall investing over the years, in anything:)
As a wealth coach and personal investor for over 30 years and daughter of depression era parents, I understand fear around investing. Here’s why it’s scary and how you can move from fear to confidence
1. Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs food and shelter
--Realize the important and spend time on it
2. As humans, our brain functioning goes back to the days of living in caves. We had to be afraid to survive. If we weren’t always in a state of worry or fear, we could run out of food or get eaten by an animal as soon as we left the cave. Now, we have to put that fear somewhere. It is still part of our brain functioning. We worry about many things, and money is at the top of the list.
Even if people who have a lot of wealth worry they’ll run out or won’t be able to support the lifestyle they have adapted. I watched All the Money in the World recently, the movie about J. Paul Getty. According to the movie, he washed his own underwear so he wouldn’t have to pay for the laundry service. The way he lived and spent his money was centered around lowering his taxes through a charitable trust. In 1966 Guinness Book of Records claimed he was the world's richest private citizen. He was worth an estimated $1.2 billion, which is almost $10 billion today.
--Notice when your fears are unfounded
3. We don’t know about investing until we have done it. It’s like raising a child, especially that first one. Every investor has made big mistakes. I am listening to Ray Dalio’s new book now. He is a billionaire investor. He is the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds. As I record this he is one of the world's 100 wealthiest people, according to Bloomberg. He made huge mistakes after he had been investing for several years.
---Learn from an unbiased and experienced source
4. We make mistakes, then beat ourselves up relentlessly after we make investing mistakes.
--Remember that everyone makes mistakes
5. Most people invest without knowing even the minimum basics about it. It’s crazy. Information is power.
--Learn the basics of investing

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TED Talk | Why you should define your fears instead of your goals
How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls fear-setting.

This video was created from a video from TED ( which holds the copyrights of the audio content of this video.


On episode 271 of the #AskGaryVee Show, the legendary author, entrepreneur, and speaker, Tim Ferriss stops by and we talk about:
- Tribe of Mentors, Tim's new book which is a compilation of answers to questions that Tim posed to a bunch leaders in various disciplines
- Forcing yourself and others to make decisions and learning when to say yes vs. no
- Having a lot of depth in your content so that you can put out as much content as possible

#QOTD: What failure or disaster ended up being a blessing in disguise that set you up for later success?

19:29 - I quit my corporate job and created my own company that I'm now looking to grow. How do I scale my company, hire an assistant, and bring in sub-contractors while ensuring that I keep the same level of quality in the work that is produced and same level of privacy with my clients?
32:00 - What have both of you learned from hip-hop that has transformed how you run your businesses?
48:21 - I traveled from Asia to the U.S for university and want to start my entrepreneurial journey, but I don't know how or when to start... What would you recommend I do?

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Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, a full-service digital agency servicing Fortune 500 clients across the company’s 5 locations. Gary is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times Bestselling Author, and has been named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists.

Gary is the host of the #AskGaryVee Show, a business and marketing focused Q&A video show and podcast, as well as DailyVee, a docu-series highlighting what it’s like to be a CEO, investor, speaker, and public figure in today’s digital age.

Make sure to stay tuned for Gary’s latest project Planet of the Apps, Apple’s very first video series, where Gary is a judge alongside Will.I.Am, Jessica Alba, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Tim Ferriss on Mastery: Start with End Game and Make Space for Creativity

Amid all the powerhouse, brilliant minds Tim Ferriss has interviewed for his podcast and new book Tools of Titans, one idea kept springing up: creating empty space. A second concept, by contrast, came up only once, through conversations with Joshua Waitzkin, an American chess player who takes an ‘endgame’ approach to every pursuit he undertakes. Ferriss explains these two concepts in detail, why they’re so vital, and how they can be applied across many fields.

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Transcript - One of the concepts that comes up over and over again with prolific creative minds that I've interviewed for the Tim Ferriss Show or for the book Tools of Titans is creating empty space. And one of the guests Josh Waitzkin, who never does any media, can I curse on this? He always texts me with profanity laden SMSs because I'm the only one who can pull him out of his cave to do media. But he is best known perhaps as the chest prodigy, and I'll explain why I put that in air quotes, besides how funny it looks on camera, that formed the basis or who formed the basis for Searching for Bobby Fischer, both the book and the movie. He was a very well known chess player and continues to be an incredible chess player. But he has applied his learning framework to more than chess. So he was a world champion in tai chi push hands, he was the first black belt in Brazilian jujitsu under the phenom probably the best of all time Marcelo Garcia, who trains in New York City and he's a nine-time world champion something like that. And he's now tackling paddle surfing and he can apply it to just about anything. He works with some of the top financial mines in the world, hedge fund managers and beyond, the best of the best; top one percent.

So, why? What are the principles that he shares? One of them is creating empty space, cultivating empty space as a way of life, and these are all tied together so I'll mention another one. Learning the macro from the micro and then beginning with the end in mind. And these all work together. So I'll explain in fact the last two first. Josh learned to play chess or I should say more accurately was coached by his first real coach in the opposite direction when compared to most training and most chess books. He was taught in reverse. What does that mean? He began with the end game and with very few pieces. So they cleared all the pieces off the board, instead of starting with openings, meaning what do you do first the first five to ten moves, he started with the ending game with king and pawn versus king. What does this do? Well this forces you to focus on principles like opposition, creating space, zugzwang, which is a principle of forcing your opponent to do anything that will destroy their position or anything they can possibly do will worsen their position. And these types of principles that you learn when there's an empty board with a few pieces accomplish a few things. Read Full Transcript Here:

How to Make the Right Decisions (Fear-Setting Method) | Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss explained how to make better decisions with Stoicism Philosophy and develop stoic mindset.

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 Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls fear-setting. Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.

Rather than get up and give any type of recipe for success or highlight reel, I would share my recipe for avoiding self-destruction, and certainly self-paralysis.

And the tool I've found which has proven to be the most reliable safety net for emotional free fall is actually the same tool that has helped me to make my best business decisions. But that is secondary. And it is ... stoicism.

Full Ted Talk:

HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR OF FAILURE | Tim Ferriss Fear-Setting Journaling Exercise

In this video, I share my favourite journaling exercise from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss - Fear-Setting (exercise starts at 7:25). This is the exercise that helped me overcome the fears I had around quitting my full-time job for blogging. If you have fear around any kind of life decision, big or small, this exercise will help you by having you get super clear on exactly what that fear is and see how the outcome you’re scared of is most probably reversible and temporary. I hope this exercise helps you! I’ve written out the questions below so it’s easy to follow along! 😘

O V E R C O M E ∙ Y O U R ∙ F E A R S 🙈

To make the most of this exercise, reflect on the below questions while focusing on a big (or small) decision that you’ve been struggling to make. I also recommend handwriting your answers as you’ll be able to access deeper and more meaningful thoughts than if you type out your answers (just my experience)!

The following questions are from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, I highly recommend getting his book because it’s FULL of amazing exercises like this - the link is below! Here they are:

Q1 - Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears and “what-its” pop up as you consider the big changes you can - or need - to make? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1 to 10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

Q2 - What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?

Q3 - What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios? What would the impact of these more-likely outcomes be on a scale of 1 to 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?

Q4 - If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?

Q5 - 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.

Q6 - What is it costing you - financial, emotionally and physically - to postpone action? If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years? Inaction is the greatest risk of all.

Q7 - What are you waiting for? If you cannot answer this question without resorting to the BS concept of good timing, the answer is simple: You’re afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction, realise the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.

M E N T I O N E D 📚

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Tim Ferriss’ TED Talk |

How I Make The Most Of Self-Help Books (my book tabbing system) |

The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast |

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Tim Ferriss on GETTING RESULTS. NEW Goal Setting Worksheet

Get the helper document for Tim's talk here: GOOD STUFF!

After years of healing cancer and degenerative diseases we are given a second chance. What we do with it is up to us. Goal setting (specificity) Gratitude heals overwhelm, Schedule 80-20 analysis, get to positive emotional states. Put together a to do and NOT to do list. Utilize force multipliers. Fear setting. Defining your fears. Focus, aim and take action. Live your life fully. That's it! Bill Z.

How to Conquer Your Fears | Overcome the fear of Failure | Inspired by Fear setting with Tim Ferriss

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Let’s talk about how to conquer fear. While I’ve been enjoying making these videos so much, doing it without a full-time income and a baby on the way is certainly scary. There’s also the factor of overcoming fear of failure. What if I’m not good enough?

During times like these, here’s a helpful exercise to do when making decisions that you might try.

Fear Setting TED TALK by Tim Ferriss


4 Hour Workweek Book

The basic premise is that when you fear into something tangible. Something you can examine closely. By defining the worst case scenarios of going after your dreams, you may see the obstacles in a new light.

Perhaps you’ll find, that they weren’t so bad after all. Maybe, as you do it. You are already conquering fear.

How to fight fear? Get rid of the idea that you should ignore fear. Instead, it’s all about facing it and conquering fear.

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American Dream U: Tim Ferriss - Stoicism and Fear of Risk

While speaking at American Dream U's Vetracon event, Tim Ferriss reminds us to not fear risk instead, disarm it and it will no longer hold the power of fear over you. Watch this video in its entirety plus our full video library by signing up for the free MVP membership:


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