How Fear Setting can make you happier


Hey friends

We’re all familiar with making to-do lists to manage our personal and professional lives.

I can almost guarantee that there’s one list that you don’t currently have, and that’s a list of your fears.

Our initial reaction when we’re faced with fear is to avoid it.

Our fears trigger negative thinking, which can lead to low mood, poor self-esteem, and anxiety.

To make things worse, a bias towards negative thinking increases the likelihood that you’ll spend time thinking about past mistakes or dwelling on things that didn’t go well.

Fortunately, there is a simple mental tool that we can use to manage our fears and the effects of negative thinking, and that’s where Fear Setting comes in.

The premise of Fear Setting is rooted in Stoicism, a 2000-year-old philosophy, which encourages the exercise of premeditatio malorum - the premeditation of the evils and troubles that might lie ahead.

We can overcome the impact of these events by preparing ourselves for their eventuality through thought experiments and visualization.

By doing this, you're solving problems in advance so that if (or when) they do arise, you already have solutions at hand and you're able to approach the problem in a calmer and more effective manner.

All you need to complete your own Fear Setting exercise is:

  • 3 pieces of paper
  • A pen; and
  • Up to an hour of uninterrupted time

I’ve created a Fear Setting guide that you can download, which makes it easier to complete the exercise.

🚀 Performance Hacks

How I journal for Productivity, Performance, and Self-Awareness (12mins)

I started journaling in April 2020 and it’s been a truly transformational journey that has increased my productivity, improved my performance, and made me more self-aware. There’s a load of evidence that points to the effectiveness of journaling for managing stress, mental health, and increased gratitude. If you've been thinking about starting a journaling practice, just do it. You won't have any regrets.

These three steps will help you reclaim more time and increase your productivity (2mins)

Time is our most valuable resource because it is finite. We only have so many hours in the day to get shit done. Some of us use the time effectively, others (me included) don't because we get stuck in a cycle of procrastination when we have to do stuff. The reality is that there are 3 simple steps to actually getting stuff done.

🧠 Brain Food

📖 Blinkist: The High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins. This summary proposes a single change to your morning routine that can help you change your self-limiting attitudes and kick your life into top gear, providing a blueprint for life transformation.

📝 Blog Post: The importance of preserving strength and muscle mass as we age. Since turning 40, I’ve taken more of an interest in longevity and maintaining my health + fitness as I get older. Dr Peter Attia is the leading advocate in longevity research and this post highlights why strength training as we get older is important. It also includes some valuable resources if you want to get granular on the research.

🎙️ Podcast: Irish Gangster Richie Stephens’ Guide to Sobriety (and Second Chances). I listened to this podcast episode this morning and it was hilarious! The underlying message is a serious one about recovering from drug & alcohol addiction, turning your life around and serving others. It’s the delivery of that message through the stories that Richie recounts which had me in stitches. Can you imagine taking 30 ecstasy pills in one day?! Light entertainment well worth a listen.

📱 Tools + Tech

💻 App: Evernote. Let me explain. I signed up to Evernote about 7 years ago and used it sporadically. Last year I quit Evernote and jumped ship to Notion. This month I re-signed to Evernote because it has some features (like searching + scanning) that are far better than Notion. The lesson - use apps for their main features. Evernote is an awesome note-taking app that helps you find things fast. The Evernote web clipper is amazing and the app is part of the foundations for my Second Brain.

🐦 Tweet Thread: Here are the top 7 phrases you need to memorize RIGHT NOW to build healthy relationships.

🧐 Useful: If you can never remember what size your photos or videos need to be for various social platforms, use this site

✍🏾 Quote of the Week

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.”

From Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. Resurfaced using Readwise.

❓❓Two Questions

Question for you - Think of something you struggled with in the last year. If you step back and zoom out, what is one lesson you have learned from the experience?

Question for me? Send me an email an I'll be happy to help. If you want to have a chat to go deeper, schedule a Discovery Call.