Letting Go of Fear

I’m going to be honest with you now: there’s a chance that you already know this deep down.

It makes logical sense that you should be making small, concrete steps to achieve your goals rather than making bombastic plans to ‘become a rock star’ or abstract visions like ‘get richer’.
So what has been preventing you from doing that?

Two things:

1) It’s a lot of work – it’s much easier and more satisfying to dream big and get the reward that comes from that, rather than face the reality of grinding towards your goals. We’ll be talking about this more later in the book when we discuss how to stay motivated and stick at your goals even when the going gets tough. Then there’s the matter of feeling it’s not the right time: you procrastinate instead of looking for other work. Again, this just needs a bit of rocketfuel, which we’ll be looking at later on.

2) You’re afraid. This is what I see so often and it’s what condemns so many of us to a dull and unexciting lifestyle. We just don’t want to take that leap and put ourselves out there. And in fact, it’s easier to imagine ourselves as being very successful and to pretend we’re going to get around to it, than it is to put ourselves out there and risk having our ego shattered when things don’t go our way.

We’re about to address that second issue. Because if you want to be successful, then it’s no good to continue procrastinating or trying to put off taking that plunge!

How to Know if You’re Procrastinating?

Some examples of procrastinating include:

 Spending ages reading books and researching the topic instead of just getting stuck in. I see this a ton when it comes to fitness goals. So many people will spend countless hours reading books and blogs on fitness programs, hiring consultants and buying gym kits. But the one thing they never do? Actually start working out! There’s nothing wrong with researching health and fitness of course. In fact, it should be applauded. The problem is when you use this as a convenient excuse for not actually training. The reality is that any training program is better than nothing. If you want to start getting into shape – if you really stand any chance of success – then you should start doing press ups and pull ups right now. There is simply no reason not to. You can then improve your routine over time but you start NOW.

  • Working on projects and never completing them. I work as an app developer and have released two highly successful apps in my lifetime that have together earned me in the region of $90,000. Not life-changing amounts over the course of a few years but certainly enough to make my life a little more comfortable, especially as they continue to earn money while I work my regular job. As a result of this, I am often approached by people who tell me that they’re planning on releasing a successful app too. They then work on it for three years and never release it. The difference between them and me? I released my app when it was an MVP – minimum viable product. This is called the ‘fail fast approach’ and we’ll talk about it more later. Point is though, I put myself out there whereas they made excuses. Perfectionism is often just a delay tactic. Assess yourself!
  • Claiming the time isn’t right. We touched on this briefly but just to recap: the time is never right. You’re not travelling now because money isn’t good? Sure, save up some cash – but by then you’ll probably be at an exciting point in your career and not want to take a break. Then you’ll have a partner and not want to leave them. Then you’ll have a kid. There is never a good time to start a relationship, to get married, to have kids, to travel, to start a business. You do it anyway. And if you’re worried what other people might say? Then follow the advice to ‘ask for forgiveness, not permission’. Do it and worry about the consequences later. If it really means that much to you, then it is really the only option you have.
  •  Ignoring your own dissatisfaction. Do you know anyone in your life who clearly wants to be in a relationship and who ignores this fact by throwing themselves into their career? Every post on social media is about how excited they are about their new job, or about their travel. But you suspect that really, they just wish they had someone to go home to? In this case, they are trying to cover up one lacking area in their lives by focussing on the other. What about people who claim they are happy without pursuing their dream career because they have a family? Sure, that’s great… but why not go for both? And that way be able to inspire your children with your inspiring story? Don’t make this mistake because you need to be fulfilled in every area of your life if you’re going to be truly happy. 

Fear Setting

If you still can’t overcome these psychological blocks though, then it time to employ a technique known as ‘fear setting’ that was described by Tim Ferriss in his book: The Four Hour Workweek.

The idea here is simple: you are going to write down all of the things holding you back and all of the things you’re afraid of and then you’re going to present counterarguments, contingency plans and more to remove those fears. So take a moment to think about your goals and dreams and then write down all of the things that you want to accomplish. Write those goals and the steps you need to take as we discussed in the last chapter and then think about taking that first step right now. What’s holding you back? What are your fears? Be honest and thorough and make sure to include every possible concern.

Let’s say you want to start your own business. Here are your fears and concerns:

  • You don’t have the money
  •  Taking out a loan may be reckless and leave you in serious debt if the business isn’t a success
  •  Your partner might see your investment as irresponsible and lead to relationship problems
  •  You might lose your job and find yourself without stable income
  •  You might be unable to find future work and that could lead to your family going hungry and you losing your home
  •  Your business might be a failure and make you look like a failure too

Now go through each of these objections and address how likely they really are and how you can deal with them/prevent them.
For example:

  •  You don’t have the money
  • Taking out a loan may be reckless and leave you in serious debt if the business isn’t a success 
  • Consider a PayPal loan, this is a loan that you pay back only through PayPal income, meaning that you won’t owe anything until you start earning
  • Try Kickstarter
  • Bootstrap your business – design it in a way that will allow you to start the business for less
  • Consider asking parents for a business loan
  • Look for a business partner with capital to invest
  • Your partner might see your investment as irresponsible and lead to relationship problems
  • Your partner is more likely to support you in your ambitions
  • If you use the above methods, you can demonstrate that you have been sensible and taken every precaution
  • You can even take out business insurance
  • Your partner might even be able to help you bring in extra income to support your goals
  • Have a rainy day fund
  • Explain to them the risks and why it’s important to you
  • You might lose your job and find yourself without stable income
  • You might be unable to find future work and that could lead to your family going hungry and you losing your home
  • In most cases, you’ll find that your employer will offer you your job back if you need it
  • At the very least, you can probably find lower-level work to fund your survival
  • Even if that means just doing a part-time job
  • You don’t have to quit your day job until you’ve proven to yourself that you can make money from your business idea
  • Or even maintain a part-time salary in the meantime
  • You can probably survive on a lower salary than you think and for longer than you think
  • Your business might be a failure and make you look like a failure too
  • You will do market research and take every precaution to ensure your plan is a success
  • You will gain advice from knowledgeable third parties
  • Who cares what other people think
  • The alternative – never trying to make anything of yourself or pursue your passions – is far worse 

Okay and with that out the way, now we can start actually making progress in the various areas of your life that you want to improve!

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