Career,  Self-Development

Tim Ferriss’ exercise to conquer fear by facing it head on with “fear setting”

I’ve digested quite a bit of Tim Ferris’s content over the past year and a half. Over the next few days, I’ll be detailing some ‘quick hits’. Here’s the first:

TED Talk,

This talk rescued me shortly after my move from San Francisco to Mumbai in May of 2017. After a very lonely first month in Mumbai, during which I spent most of my free time studying for the GMAT, I felt I’d made a huge mistake by choosing to take a leave of absence from my firm in San Francisco. Why had I done this to myself? Could I really make it through a whole year working and living on my own in India?


By encouraging me to lean into my fears instead of avoiding them, this talk taught me to embrace the fear attached to my ‘big risks’ of 2018. I’ll let you watch the talk, but in summary Tim recommends detailing out worst case scenarios and strategies for dealing with said scenarios. Spoiler alert: the worst case scenario is never that bad, and you can and would recover should they to transpire. Here were mine, as pertaining to my India move:


Worst case scenario: I could have zero friends

Possible course correction: I could make friends


Worst case scenario: I could fail at my new job

Possible course correction: I could move back home to San Francisco and resume my consulting career


Worst case scenario: My long-distance relationship could fall apart under the strain of living on different continents

Possible course correction: I could date someone else, or otherwise utilize the additional time for myself


Worst case scenario: I could be terribly homesick

Possible course correction: I could book a ticket home or call my parents


Worst case scenario: I could get an awful GMAT score

Possible course correction: I could study again, book another test, and retake the exam


Worst case scenario: I could get dengue and die

Possible course correction: I’d be dead, so who even cares?


Defining the boogeymen in my life helped me understand how fear and ego drove insecurity in my life, and gave me the courage to forge ahead with less angst. I try and do this exercise as much as possible whenever I feel afraid, which during this tumultuous year has been more often than I care to admit. Also, leaning into fear provides much-needed relief from the frankly irritating conventional wisdom of “don’t think negative thoughts” and “imagine only the positive outcomes.”

More Tim Ferriss resources to come!

Part 2 here