April 2017 | Click here to watch the TED talk
He likes to think of stoicism not as a philosophy but as an operating system for thriving in high-stress environments and for making better decisions.
The purpose of it is to train yourself to separate what you can control from what you can’t control and to focus only on what you can control.
We suffer more often in imagination than in realitySeneca
To prevent this suffering, he found the exercise called Premeditatio Malorum -or the pre-meditation of evils- which makes you visualise the worst-case scenarios that you fear so that you can overcome them.
He then adapted it to his current fear-setting exercise.
Ask yourself “What if I…?” and then fill it with the thing you fear most.
Once you have it define all the worst case scenarios, what can you do to prevent them and what can you do to repair the damage if they happen.
What if I go to London?
- I’ll be depressed
- I’ll miss a letter from the IRS
- Bring a blue light
- Change the mailing address
- Go to Spain
- Call a friend who’s a lawyer
A good question to keep in mind is: Has anyone else in the history of time less intelligent or less driven figured this out?
What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success?
Maybe you’d build confidence, develop skills, grow emotionally or financially. Spend 10 to 15 min answering this question.
What’s the cost of inaction?
If I avoid this action or decision, what will my life look like in 6 months, 12 months or 3 years?
Get detailed and cover all the areas impacted: financially, emotionally, physically, etc.
The cost of inaction
Oftentimes knowledge is already available, we just need to make it our own.
Using this exercise will not make tough decisions and facing your fears easy, but it’ll make it easier.
Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.Jerzy Gregorek
Click here to go to TED’s website or watch the talk down here:
Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month – Here’s an article on Tim’s Blog where he talks about the exercise and elaborates around it.
Stoicism and the Art of Happiness is a book by Donald Robertson that Tim recommends if you want to read more about Stoicism.