Kenny Soto Logo 2020

Fear Setting vs Goal Setting

I quit my job

As of January 17th, 2020 I will be self-employed. I am leaving my comfort zone to travel the world with my girlfriend. I’m planning on sustaining myself through remote work (copywriting and online teaching to start).
How did I get here? How did I decide to make such a frightening change? I credit fear setting as the main catalyst for this big life-changing shift.
Fear setting is a mental exercise I learned from Tim Ferriss. Instead of defining your goals for 2020, I recommend defining your fears instead. Tim describes the exercise in far greater detail but, simply put:
Fear setting is a mental exercise where you define your fears, how you could repair them if they occurred, and how putting off the decisions that may change your life are affecting you and the people closest to you.
I did the exercise in my journal (pictured below) and it helped to bring clarity to my whole situation. After speaking to my girlfriend about it, it turns out all of my responses to the questions in this exercise are highly accurate.

 

Once I had established what I was really afraid of and the cost of inaction, it made more sense to take the risk. I have been an English teacher in China for a year and eight months now. The experiences I have had in this country will always stay with me and I will be forever grateful for what I’ve learned here. However, it is time for me to continue my journey around the world and challenge myself to grow more.
 
My suggestion to anyone reading this is to sit down after reading Tim Ferriss’s blog post or watching his TED talk and do this exercise. If your life seems boring or unfulfilling, it most likely feels that way because you are postponing an important decision out of fear. Do not be afraid of failure.
 
After doing this exercise, you’ll realize that the failure you fear isn’t fatal and even if you fail you can always start from square one and try again.
 
I have no idea if this new change in my career will be a successful one. What I do know is that if I don’t try to do this now, I will end up losing out on a big opportunity to see the world and growing my writing skills. Most of the people I admire have done something similar to this. It would be a great disservice to myself if I don’t try taking travel more seriously.

Below is a quote from author Sebastian Junger that I often revisit — found through one of Tim Ferriss’s books. It sums up why fear setting is so useful.

School programs you to always succeed which makes you safe. You have to learn how to fail in order to learn.”

— Quote from Sebastian Junger, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss, page 422


 

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