Fear Setting

I was inspired to do this ‘fear setting’ exercise by Tim Ferris. His recent TED talk that inspired me is further explained in this blog post of his.

Here are his six questions and my six answer regarding what action I want to take and what fear is holding me back.

 

“1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—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 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?”

I am considering getting loud and fully behind my message. Being certain and behaving like I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Really inviting people to join me in my efforts, now!

The worst would be that the only thing that comes back is negativity. Nobody passes my content on, and everyone who sees it is pissed, bored, offended, or confused. Nobody wants to work with me, and my attempts just come off as spammy junk. The only ones who care are the ones that are offended. The fascists from the left and right all come down on me. Basically everyone I communicate with likes me less, and my attempt is detrimental to both my own reputation and to the messages I tried to represent. I could get emotional and get made fun of.

This wouldn’t be the end of my life, it would just require the start of a new one. Except if big brother comes out swinging suddenly, I might be the first on his list. Well maybe like the 10th. I’d still be part of a really big group, and not the first of many’s concerns. What it could otherwise mean is a loss of reputation. I’d learn a lot from trying though. I’d probably learn to give even fewer unnecessary fucks, and I’d learn a lot about what doesn’t work, presumably some about what does. I am blessed to have people who will love me no matter what, and I can always try again in a new community.

It is likely that I get some negative response, but very unlikely that I don’t get a lot of positive responses. I know this because I’ve already seen results of my actions in smaller amounts, and there is often an incredible promise. I’ve already seen the results of my actions when I was far deeper consumed by fear, and it can only get better from there.

 

“2. 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?”

The way I’d get things under control is by quitting what isn’t working. I’d always be able to make a basic living, and I’d be able to fall back on some passionless but quite safe way to spend my time. I can always examine what I’ve done, and try it again. People will forget readily I think, as long as I’m not trying to harm them personally, which is never an issue. I think the worst of what I’d do is make people uncomfortable, and any of those relationships could probably be readily restored if necessary by some personal attention and service. I could use the opportunity to be even more vulnerable, honest, and trustworthy by saying, so here’s what’s been happening and why I’ve been the way I’ve been.

If I simply get no attention, then nothing really happens. My ego gets hurt again. I just get to try in different ways.

By trying harder, I’d make it easier for myself to keep trying harder. I’d have a tremendous amount of new freedom to try things, no longer having to protect any reputation.

 

“3. 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 1–10? 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?”

More probable scenarios include me getting a lot of really positive responses, and coming into my own as a thought leader. If I’m hungry for something, others probably are too. My own confidence would grow, and support would be found. This would be absolutely tremendous for me- a 10. It is extremely likely that I can pull this off to at least some extent.

Many much less intelligent people have pulled it off. The certainty is free, seemingly independent of intelligence or merit. This consideration greatly increases my felt likelihood of success.

 

“4. 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 1–3 above. If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track if you absolutely had to?”

If I was fired from my job today… well I wouldn’t, because I don’t have one. I’m already sort of at financial rock bottom- the worst would be having to go deeper in debt and wait longer to pay it off. I’m already trying things in an unconventional way, it’s all downhill from here really. There are tremendous opportunities for financial stability that are and will continue to be available.

 

“5. 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. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous business people for advice.”

What I am putting off out of fear is acting like an authority in my actual areas of understanding, and even more so trying my hardest to build a team.

Alright. I will reach out today for a business partner. I can take this action every mother fucking day.

 

“6. 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 10 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.”

Inaction is costly. It keeps me performing far under my potential. It keeps me in a place where I’m not explicitly needed, and I have the space to do less important shit, bad habits. This could be drawn out for a long time. I will see sadness and suffering which I’ll know I could have transformed.

It is very possible to remain in this state of a rogue character, with inconsistent action, and flashes of brilliance that don’t allow you to see more. With financial troubles, and some bad habits, often low energy. This can go on for a long time. I can see people less intelligent than me moving crowds in ways I know I could improve on.This will lead to certain regret. This is the greatest risk of all. Not growing would lead to insanity.

 

“7. 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 repair-ability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.”

What am I waiting for? The kind of approval that guarantees success. Getting picked up by the crowd before even starting the game, much less actually winning it. Being absolutely sure I have approval, that I won’t hurt people’s feelings. The cost of waiting is that feelings are already being hurt in our human condition, and I could be helping more.

I think I’m also waiting for emergencies to throw themselves upon me, knowing I show up at my best when I have to. The cost of this is being much less prepared when emergencies actually do come, and having to do my best with no preparation. The emergencies are already there in reality- socially, politically, and environmentally.

Action means: What is the connection I most need to make? Reach out. What’s the message I most want to share? Share it.

Is Overpopulation the End?

The world’s population does not seem like it gets talked about enough. And when it does, it’s usually by somebody with gloomy predictions and shallow understanding. To solve both of these problems, here is one of the world’s most beloved statisticians talking on the subject for an hours.

Key takeaways:

-Population hits a peak in developed countries. This is largely due to the drop in infant mortality rates inspiring parents to try having less children, contraceptives and education, and a general shift in cultural norms and lifestyle.

-The global population is estimated to peak at around 11 billion. The additional four billion people will almost all come from Asia and Africa, the least developed parts of the world.

-We have reached ‘peak child’. The population is still growing, but the number of children on Earth has reached its peak. The older and smaller generations will die off and be replaced by the younger, big generations. Once the current, peak generation of kids becomes the oldest segment of the population, the peak of eleven million will be reached.

-Our perceptions of the current quality of life in different countries is completely wrong, because the world’s development in the past 50 years has been drastic to say the least. You would be embarrassed at your results of a “which country has a higher infant mortality rate?” test.

-The poor tend to all look the same from where we’re at, the top segment of earners. However, a person living on less than one dollar a day (the definition of extreme poverty, currently on billion people), who doesn’t know if there will be enough food on the table each day, is living a radically different lifestyle that the person living on ten dollars a day. Extreme poverty can be eradicated.

-The bottom fifth of people (stacked by income) can hardly afford a pair of shoes

-The second from bottom fifth of people hope to buy a bicycle, a transformative investment

-The next fifth of people will invest in a motorbike

-The second-from-top fifth will buy a car

-The richest fifth of people can travel by airplane

-The few megawealthy can contemplate space travel

-The top fifth of earners currently consumes more than what we think is possible for everybody to have. Population does not have to be the end of us, as long as our consumption is kept efficient and low.

Transformational Problem Solving

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This is helpful in demonstrating one of the most useful laws that humans miss- resistance is not always the way to stop something. It’s a balance of give and take ❤

I have been blessed to have this and much more shared with my through an amazing program offered by SAGE – Senior Advocates for Generational Equity

Is Bill Gates Evil?

I just watched a video of Bill Gates on MSNBC, talking about “Clean Energy, Donald Trump, And Stocks”. It was dope. He’s a strong speaker, and incredibly well informed on his areas of interest. He’s also particularly good at admitting what he doesn’t know, and dodging invitations to emotional or critical statements.

He has a strong air of, “not only do I know about the crazy shit people would want to argue with me about, and not only have I researched and considered those things, but I am on top of my shit to such an extent that I can remain silent as the ridiculous swarms of bullshit pass by and try me.” (This parts more of an opinion).

He talked about Trump with the calmest tone of anybody who’s, let’s say, trying to save the world from climate change, and overall made me feel pretty optimistic. Sweet video, I’d recommend it.

And then- I clicked on a suggested video called “Bill Gates just met with Trump at Trump Tower, look what he said” by a channel called “end times prophecy news” (youtube hasn’t forgotten my intense interest in all things end times from a few years ago).

I didn’t watch much of it. I glanced over some of the comments, restrained myself from jumping into the ridiculous conversations, and wrote a lone comment that I think anybody could benefit from, especially somebody as fascinated by conspiracies as I once was. I share it with you now:

Background: People believe that Bill Gates is evil

“One would have to study a tremendous amount to really understand the motives of Bill Gates and the world in which he operates- and then, I think they would realize that he is a pretty normal (except really smart and successful) guy who is doing his best to make a positive impact.

Having been consumed in conspiracies for some years of my life, I find it amazing how confidently people speak of understanding the world situation, even as they’ve done almost no background research. One can easily find a self-confirming stream of information that will make you feel like you know what’s going on. Yes, the mainstream is dumb, but an easy answer to the situation is preying on that very dumbness, not curing it.

Religion is the classic, simple explanation of why things are the way they are. We can come to conclusions quickly, having hardly tapped the potential of our own understanding. We can be loud, critical, and dogmatic- completely ignorant to how we would otherwise be able to actually change somebody’s mind.

If we stop defending what we know, and start trying to disprove it, we are finally on the path to truth.”

Does Apologizing Show Weakness?

I just stumbled upon an article that made me shake my head: “Barack Obamas Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower

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This article made the drastic mistake of thinking that apologizing shows weakness. On the contrary, I see sincere apologizing as a sign of strength and one of the most important tools of influence for any diplomat.

Apologizing shows awareness of ones mistakes. Awareness is the necessary step to understanding, thus right action, thus strength. If one does know what’s actually going on, their understanding of their own power is flawed. Since everybody makes mistakes constantly, not admitting to any mistakes shows supreme ignorance. In this article’s example, Obama apologizes for some mistakes carried out by the American government. Since this body has done more stuff than an entity in human history, that will inevitably include a lot of errors. Admitting to some of his government past efforts in fact showed confidence.

Apologizing for mistakes can be a completely separate discussion from talking about successes. Talking about what a shame it is that the United States has an unfortunately strained relationship with the Middle East, for example, has nothing to do with the fact that this country has been a beacon for many peoples’ individual freedom, or that we have lead technological progress in the last century, or that hip hop was born here. It is a standalone statement. A person who has great confidence in their successes is the most likely admit their mistakes.

Not only is apologizing a demonstration of personal virtue, it is a powerful and essential communication tool. The best way a leader can get somebody to admit a mistake is by admitting one his/herself first. How foolish would Obama be to go to some country with a history of difficult interactions and say, “I want you do to some things differently, because you have made mistakes. America, however, has no mistakes to admit”?

A personal example of this: I went streaking in high school. The game me and some friend anonymously interrupted was a girls basketball playoff game- the furthest our school had gone in the tournament in 25 years. The next day at school and beyond, everybody was talking about it. Unfortunately, few people talked about the girls’ smashing victory. After us streakers had been discovered and punished, I was brought into a meeting with the varcity coach. After hearing how frustrated she was with the attention being stolen from her hard working team, I gave a sincere apology. She was pleased. As a couple weeks passed and I was completely honest about my opinion of the ordeal as basically awesome and beneficial to humankind as a whole, it must have become clear to her that I was never apologizing for streaking as a whole. I was apologizing for its negative consequences with complete sincerity and compassion, and I was simultaneously proud of how many people peed their pants with laughter. I never spoke to the coach again, but the way that an ensuing smile in the hallway was followed by a stone face and never making eye contact again made me think that she changed her mind about what my apology meant. That’s all speculation, but the point remains: one can be sorry for their mistakes, without deeming themselves as a whole wrong.

Back on a more serious note: It is so important to admit mistakes, one is shocked that it is not employed by such seemingly educated people as the one who wrote this article or leading American politicians saying the same. In regards to America, or any other entity, it is the people who will not admit its mistakes that lead it toward destruction.

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PS- I apologize if my brief statement neglected to mention any of the virtues of the article above mentioned. I imagine there’s a lot we agree upon, like the fact that America has made some incredible contributions to humankind.