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How to Overcome Fear and Procrastination via Jonathan Fields

October 1st, 2011 · 2 Comments · Personal Development

Big Ideas

  • Jonathan Fields introduces three simple questions to help tackle your fears.

Jonathan Fields on Overcoming Fear and Uncertainty

Is fear of failure holding you back from success? Author Jonathan Fields has a great TEDx video providing a blueprint to overcoming fears with three easy questions.

What if I fail?

Most of us can be hesitant at times because we ask ourselves, “What if I fail?” Fields says that instead of thinking of realistic failure outcomes, we tend come up with doomsday scenarios. For example,  what will happen if you open your dream business and it completely fails?

We tend to imagine the worst case situation. I will lose all my money. My friends and family will hate me. No one will hire me again because I failed. I will never be able to earn the same salary as my current job. My spouse will leave me. I will be forced into bankruptcy and won’t be able to get credit again for seven years. I will be living on the street. My life will be over. Even my dog will leave me because I won’t be able to feed it.

Fields recommends coming up with a realistic failure scenario. What will really happen if you fail? A more honest assessment might be, you burn through all of your savings. You will have to get a job again. At the very least, you will have learned a great deal and you will probably have made some great connections. Make the failure scenario as clear and vivid as possible.

More importantly, Fields instructs us to give equal attention to the other half of the question, “how will I recover?” What will you do to get back on your feet if you fail? Most situations are recoverable, so answering this question alone will do a lot to minimize your fears.

What if I Do Nothing?

Jonathan Fields goes on to identify two more important questions. The first is, “what if I do nothing?” He says that the “what if I do nothing, is the most horrible scenario out there.” What if you do nothing towards accomplishing your dreams or goals in life and just continue what you are doing today? Think 10, 20 or 30 years into the future. How will you feel if you take no action and never really challenge yourself? Balance this inaction forecast with your how will I recover plan, and you will likely see that doing nothing is much more terrifying.

What if I succeed?

The next question Fields says we need to ask is “what if I succeed?”  Would you work towards achieving your dreams if you absolutely knew you could not fail? What does that success look like? How would you feel? Get a clear mental picture of what your success would look like.

  • What if you started exercising and you became much more energetic, healthy and felt good about yourself?
  • What if you started that business you always dreamed of, and it succeeded?
  • What if you took a year off to travel the world and you never came back home?
  • What if you wrote a book and it became a best seller?
  • What if you spent more time with your family and you all became closer?

Many of us are afraid of success so we sabotage ourselves? Achieving our life’s goals is not as evil as we might make it out to be.

Action Items

  • Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in life, don’t worry if they are too silly or unrealistic. Just get all your ideas on paper.
  • Number them in order of importance. What are the top five things you would like to do with your life?
  • Write a few sentences for each about why you want to achieve that goal.
  • Now, for each of those top five goals answer the three questions in as vivid detail as you can.
  1. What if I fail? What will I do to recover?
  2. What if I do nothing?
  3. What if I succeed?

Links

Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance – The website for Jonathan Field’s latest book.
JonathanFields.com
Follow Jonathan Fields on Twitter

 

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2 Comments »

Comment by Dezso
2011-10-11 20:01:21

Hi John,

Great post. Being a bonafide procrastinator. I practically see two types of procrastinating. The one the makes less trouble on the surface is the one you describe here – where you say: “Hmmm, I have a dream to become a millonaire!” I know it’s a bad one, but still many think like that. And then just do nothing.
The other type of procrastinating however, when you see and know what you should do, but still fail to do it. Might require a more zen-like approach like Leo Babauta nails it here: http://zenhabits.net/tada/
Keep on rolling!
Cheers,

Dez

 
Comment by Katy
2012-06-13 12:06:40

Procrastination. This article really caught my attention. Great article! I really enjoyed it. Good job!

 
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