What is the Worst that Can Happen?

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

I was listening to Tim Ferris’s podcast last week. He did an episode called Practical Pessimism, you can watch his talk here. I’d encourage you to take 5 minutes to watch it.

In the talk, Tim encouraged listeners to define their worst fears. When I went home that day, I took a project that I am working on that I was experiencing a lot of fear around and made two lists. One list was worst case scenarios (what I feared) and the other was best case scenarios (what I hoped for). When it came down to it, here is what my lists looked like:

Worst Case: 

  • It fails and I deal with some embarrassment and humilation
  • People think I’m an idiot

Best Case: 

  • It changes a lot of people’s lives
  • People respect what I’m doing

After I was done with this exercise, I realized that my worst case scenario wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. That gave me the courage to overcome my fears and to just go for it. It was one of the most helpful exercises I have done in a long time.

Action Steps: 

  • I would encourage you to take any area of your life that you find fear in and make the same two lists that I did. It will help you define your fears.

Once your fears are defined, you will find that they are not that scary after all. Once you know that, you can go after your dreams with courage! 

Here are two more quotes that Tim shared that I thought were helpful in this area:

  • “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” -Yoda
  • “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” -Epictus

Thoughts? Comment below. 

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