The inspiration for this blog was basically from Tim Feriss’s 4-hour work week.
One of the titles was “Dodging Bullets: Fear-setting & Escaping Paralysis”
He mentions that it was paralysis thinking that was keeping him from doing what he wanted. Which was going on a short vacation.
So Tim discusses 7 important questions that we should ask ourselves. These 7 questions would help pinpoint and identify our own self-inflicted thought based paralysis.
If you are in any way unsatisfied with your current direction in life, you NEED to do this exercise. Write down your answers to these questions, and as Tim says, “Keep in mind that thinking a lot will not prove as fruitful or as prolific as simply brain-vomiting on the page. Write and do not edit. Aim for volume. Spend a few minutes on each answer.”
- Define your Nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you’re considering. What doubts, fears, and what-if’s popup as you consider the big changes you can and/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 to 10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?
- 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?
- 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 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?
- 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 through 3 above. If you quit your job to test other options how could you later get back on the same career track if you had to?
- What are you putting off out of fear? 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.
- 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 ten 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.
- 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 reparability of most missteps and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so:ACTION