How Tim Ferriss Learnt to Tackle His Fears

“Typically, people don’t overcome their fears because the fears are nebulous and undefined.” ~ Tim Ferriss

Your mind is your greatest asset. Tom Ferriss’s mind has gone toe to toe with bipolar depression. Bipolar depression causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior. Having been to the center of darkness enough times to threaten his future, he chose to find a way to manage the extreme ups and downs.

For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health. Until death do we part, fear will forever be along for the ride. From the uber successful to those just starting out, there is no one, not a single human being, for whom fear has not manifested in one form or another.

Fear has its purpose. A purpose as old as the ages. That purpose is survival. Fear is why we exist today. Without a healthy dose of fear, our ancestors would have adopted all the carnivorous animals as pets and ended up as pet food. They would have eaten the poisonous berries because they were just too pretty to resist and hugged each and every person carrying a deathly contagious disease because to be human is to be socially inclined. Fear is part of our genetic inheritance.

What fear we don’t get from our genetics, we get from conditioning. Conditioning is why two people can have two extremely opposing views of the same experience.

Fear conditioning is a form of classical conditioning, the type of associative learning pioneered by Ivan Pavlov in the 1920s. It involves the repeated pairing of a non-threatening stimulus such as a light, called the conditioned stimulus, with a noxious stimulus such as a mild shock, called the unconditioned stimulus, until the animal shows a fear response not just to the shock but to the light alone, called a conditioned response.

Fear itself is not the enemy says, Seth Godin. Paralysis is. It is the paralytic effect of fear and the conditioned response to stressful events in one’s life that Tim Ferriss’s approach seeks to conquer.

Ferriss’s journey led him to Stoicism where the teachings of Seneca caught his attention. It started with the quote “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” The quote led him to Seneca’s letters where he learned of the practice of “premeditatio malorum.” The premeditation of evils. The exercise involved detailed visualization of worst-case scenarios with the aim of taking action to overcome fear-induced paralysis.

Fear-setting, a simple yet powerful three-paged exercise was born of this journey.

Fear-Setting

Page 1 — What if I …?

The first page of the fear-setting exercise is titled What if I …? and is divided into three columns. Define, Prevent, Repair.

Define — List whatever you fear, whatever is causing you anxiety/tension, whatever you’re putting off/resisting.

Prevent — List what you could do to prevent or decrease the likelihood each of the fears you defined from happening.

Repair — List what you can do or who you can ask for assistance should the fears you defined actually come to life.

When working on this page, Ferriss reminds us to keep an important fact in mind. Our fears are not unique. Someone somewhere has experienced them and figured out how to prevent them and or repair them. If they can, so can you. Should you get stuck, seek them out for inspiration.

Page 2 — The Benefits of an Attempt or a Partial Success

The second page of the fear-setting exercise channels the power of positive thinking by reframing the fear.

I have written before on the brain’s bias for negativity which makes us more comfortable talking about all the bad things that could go wrong as a result of our actions. Fear-setting looks at the other side of the coin. The benefits of trying and of achieving a partial success.

Page 3 — The Cost of Inaction

The third and last page of the fear-setting exercise looks at the cost of doing nothing. Of maintaining the status quo.

On this page, you will list what all the ways, emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, spiritually, in a span of six months, 12 months, three years, what the price of staying as is would cost you.

When it comes to overcoming fear, exposure works better than avoidance. You can’t, however, expose yourself with any degree of success to something which you cannot clearly define. Fear-setting is an exercise in defining fear at its true source. The mind. Of identifying and breaking the invisible barriers of fears that are more yelp than bark or bite.

“You actually do live a fuller life when you face your fear,” says Dr. Srini Pillay, a Harvard psychiatrist. Ferriss says “I can trace all of my biggest wins and all of my biggest disasters averted back to doing fear-setting at least once a quarter.”

Become the person you’ve always dreamed about in your bold and wild mind. Use Ferriss’s fear-setting exercise to train your mind to act more courageously in everyday life. Not to eliminate fear in the hopes of becoming fearless but with the goal of fearing less and boldly acting when you should act.

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5 Key Life Lessons from a 106-year-old Culinary Genius & YouTube Sensation

At 106 years of fine life, Mastanamma is definitely overqualified when it comes to the topic of life lessons. Her story is now being retold far and wide but just in case you don’t know who she is let me tell you a little bit about her.

Mastanammaa is a grandmother from India. The fact that she is 106 years old is great but what makes her story even greater in this social media driven age, is that she is on YouTube. Even greater still, she’s totally crushing it!

She joined (okay actually her great grandson and a friend got her on) YouTube in August 2016 and to date, her channel has over 340,000 subscribers.

Mastanamma’s is a bonafide culinary genius whose creations include egg omelets in cucumber and chicken in watermelon. Not flavored by cucumber or watermelon, but actually cooked in a cucumber and in a watermelon. Foodies around the world are no doubt all raising their hands in salute and wondering whether there’s room at the table for one more.

Here are five key life lessons that I’ve taken from her inspiring story.

Lesson #1 — Simplicity always Reigns Supreme

Mastanamma is the epitome of simplicity. She uses only the most basic of tools. Cooks over an open flame while sitting in a field. Peels vegetables with her fingernails and slices food with a ‘Bonti’, a traditional Indian knife. She forbids the use of cutlery and this makes perfect delicious sense for food eaten by hand often tends to be the very best kind.

Lesson #2 — Aging Should Never Signify the End

Betty Friedan said, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

You may slow down, but aging does not mean you now simply have a life and should stop living a life. You’re only done when you’re dead.

Lesson#3 — Aging is an Attitude

You can’t stop the hands of time but you don’t have to get old. Mastanamma is proof positive that aging is nothing but a reflection of time on the body and that aging gracefully has more to do with attitude than it has to do with having access to a factory-made beauty product.

Lesson #4 — Always Stay True to You

Mastanamma’s grandson could have insisted that grandma moves to a modern kitchen and takes advantage of the latest technology. She said no and he listened. She stayed true to herself and this is why 340,000+ subscribers have tuned in. They’ve tuned in to watch her story that just happens to be told through food.

Lesson #5 — Food will Forever be a huge part of Your Story

When asked to give advice to her subscribers, Mastanamma said we should “cook a lot of curries and eat well.” You might not agree with the curry bit but we should all be nodding our heads in the affirmative about eating well. Well not in quantity but in quality.

The food you consume either builds you up or breaks you down. There is no in between. You are powered from the inside out. You are not a trash can. The sooner you can master this, the sooner you can start to flourish.

They are yet to crack the code of eternal youth on the physical but in the mind, eternal youth is thriving. We are just temporarily blinded to it.

We as members of the society we live in have turned the view of aging from one of wisdom and experience to something that should be feared and found a cure for. We have the power to change that.

So until the sands of time run out, may you remember that Mastanamma lives in all of us. Stay curious. Stay hungry. Stay learning and maybe plan a trip to see a 106-year-old culinary genius while you’re at it.

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How this One Piece of Mama’s Advice can Change Your Life when Applied Fully

Remember when Mama said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

You listened and you’ve done Mama proud.

You’ve minded your p’s and q’s. Dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. You’ve chosen words that have killed with kindness. You’ve been polite to a fault. And when you’ve struggled with something nice to say, you’ve said nothing.

There is however, one important point that I must draw your attention to. You forgot that mama’s sage advice also applies to the things you tell yourself. To the inner chatter. The ever present self-talk. Which if we are being totally honest, could do with an overhaul.

Communication in a relationship is extremely important because it dictates whether a relationship flourishes or flounders. No relationship in the world is more important than the one you have with yourself.

You are always talking to yourself. Sending yourself little messages throughout your day. If you could replace yourself with your best friend or a cherished loved one, would the words that comprise the body of your message build or break that relationship?

How you talk to yourself affects how you feel and act and this invariably affects the quality of your life.

“You become the architect and creator of the emotions you later experience through self-talk. Emotions do not come as the result of an observation or an experience but rather as the result of the things we say to ourselves about those situations. Thus, two people can have the same experience or observe the same event and come away with very different emotions.” ~ Marilyn Sorensen, Ph.D

Not only do you have to watch the words you use in conversation with yourself, but also the words you attach to your experiences because as Tony Robbins said, “the words that we attach to our experience become our experience.”

You are a creature of habit. Your habits help you get through your day. If every activity you encountered had to be faced anew, nothing would get done. It is for this reason that even though the English language contains some 500,000 words, the average person’s working vocabulary consists of only about 2,000 words.

Those 2,000 words form your habitual vocabulary. And out of your habitual vocabulary, you describe the various experiences you encounter using the same words. Over and over again. Unconsciously. Disregarding the experience’s intensity or lack thereof.

If the words you have attached to an encountered problem are daunting in nature like devastating or impossible then the solutions you are looking for must be equally so. Nobody is equipped to come up with those kinds of the solutions on a regular basis.

On the other hand, if the words you have attached to the problem convey hope and possibility like temporary inconvenience or minor hiccup, then mentally, a solution will always be within arms reach

Mastering your words and becoming cognizant of whether they are ‘useful’ or ‘not useful,’ ‘habitual’ or ‘transformational’ is crucial for your success.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Kathryn Stockett and your Mama said so. You are not a punching bag. For others or yourself. You deserve to hear words steeped in kindness from the outside and from the inside. And since you have no control over the external, you must take charge of the internal.

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Lifeisms In A Nutshell – #108 – How to Destroy Envy in 1 Step

Train yourself to remember that there’s always more to someone’s story than meets the eye.


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Happiness is not Hidden from You. You are Hidden from It

Many, many years ago in North Africa there lived a chief. He was very rich and had many wives and children. But he was not happy. He thought, “I have everything. But that does not make me happy. What must I do to be happy? I don’t know.”

Once he shouted angrily to his servants, “Why can’t I be happy? What must I do to be happy?”

One of his servants said, “Oh, my Chief! Look at the sky! How beautiful the moon and the stars are! Look at them and you will see how good life is. That will make you happier.”

“Oh, no, no, no!” the chief answered angrily. “When I look at the moon and the stars I become angry. Because I know I cannot get them.”

Then another servant said, “Oh, my Chief! What about music?

Music makes a man happy. We shall play to you from morning till night and music will make you happy. ”

The chief’s face became red with anger. “Oh, no, no, no, no!” he cried. “What a silly idea. Music is fine. But to listen to music from morning till night, day after day? Never! No. Never!”

So the servants went away. And the chief sat angrily in his rich room. Then one of the servants came back into the room and made a bow, “Oh, my Chief,” he said, “but I think I can tell you something that will make you very happy.”

“What is it?” asked the chief.

“It is very easy to do,” said ‘the servant. “You must find a happy man, take off his shirt and put it on. Then his happiness will go into your body and you will be as happy as he!”

“I like your idea,” said the chief. He sent his soldiers all over the country to look for a happy man. They went on and on. But it was not easy to find a happy man in the chief’s country. But one day the soldiers found a man in a small village who said, “I am the happiest man in the world.”

He was poor. But he always smiled and sang. The soldiers brought him to the chief. “At last I shall be a happy man!” said the chief and took off his shirt at once. “Bring the man in!” The door of the chief’s room opened. A small, dark man with a happy smile walked in.

“Come here, my friend!” said the chief. “Please take off your shirt!” The happy man with a little smile came up to the chief.

The chief looked at him and saw what did he see?

The happy man, the happiest man in the world, had no shirt!

 If you rely on unreliable objects – people, possessions, money, status- for your happiness, happiness will forever elude you. None of these can offer you a guarantee of happiness because they are outside your control.

“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are it solely relies on what you think.” Happiness is not hidden from you. You are hidden from it. Reveal yourself to it by appreciating what you have at this moment.

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Find Your Lighthouse so You can Ignore the Sea

Life has its Lighthouse, in each fleeting stage,
In youth, in manhood, and in hoary age…
In age illum’d with philosophic flame,
From Reason’s Lighthouse still we steer the same;
Calm and serene our vessels onward glide,
And share the comforts of a middle tide;
Till, the last squall by fate’s own edict blown,
Death wrecks our vessels on a coast unknown.

~John William Smith~

The Lighthouse

A lighthouse. A tower. Always placed up high. In an important or dangerous place. Always equipped with a light that shines brightly. Its main purpose. Navigational assistance. The lighthouse is the traffic sign of the sea.

In life, when we get lost it’s not the lack of knowledge of where we are that presents the challenge but a loss of sight of where one was going and ultimately one’s loss of their sense of purpose, that opens the door for despair. For when we always have sight of our purpose, we know our current situation is only temporary.

As much as we try, and superficially succeed, to cast blame upon our circumstances, our decisions have gotten as to where we are or don’t want to be. Driving every action is a decision powered by an acknowledged or unacknowledged purpose.

Your purpose is your traffic sign on the high seas of life. Your ‘why’ guiding you forward. When you get lost, find yourself off track, your purpose brings you home. Your purpose is what allows you to say, I AM NOT LOST.

The Lighthouse Keeper

“Never judge a man’s actions until you know his motives.” ~Unknown

Your purpose is your lighthouse. You are the lighthouse keeper. You are the person responsible for tending and caring for your lighthouse.

You are the person responsible for ensuring that your lighthouse can propel you past exhaustion. Inspire you from the depths of despair. Give you a reason that keeps doubt a spectator and not an active participant.

You are the person responsible, for when your sea of dreams start to multiple and conflict, to provide signage that will give you clarity and guide you to the dream you must focus on now and the one that you must allow to wait or kick to the curb.

You are the person who must craft a lighthouse that keeps you focused on great and not distracted or settled by good.

You are the person that must ensure that your lighthouse keeps your feet firmly planted in the present while your mind grinds away on creating your future. Whose lighthouse must allow for the organization of thought around that which is unknown with the sole aim of making it no longer so.

When you delegate the responsibility of tending and caring for your lighthouse. You get lost more often than you should and stay lost longer than is beneficial. You lose momentum and flow. You end up at destinations that will always be unrecognizable. That bring you zero comfort.

How You Find Your Lighthouse

“He who has a why can endure any how.” ~Frederick Nietzsche

Mark Manson, NYTimes bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck offers this advice.

“Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.

So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?”

Others may be counting on you but even more important. You are counting on YOU. When you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do. When you’re powered by a clear purpose, you can ignore the sea.

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Your 2-Step Guide for Dealing with the Things that Try to Break You

1

“The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.” ~ Katharine Hepburn

We love our stories of survival. Of life’s obstacles faced, fought and triumphed over. We identify with them so seamlessly because in our deepest depths we know that life’s obstacles were not designed with us specifically in mind. We were merely an obstacle in its path that it chose to go through as opposed to going around.

The obstacles are not unique or alien in nature. They have been seen before. More importantly, they’ve been flipped to a win more times than we can count. We won’t be the first. We most certainly won’t be the last.

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. With every ounce of survivorship that your spirit can bear, don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and cause you to sink.

2

If you acknowledge the dark night and open to it, it will teach you extraordinary lessons about who you are and what your life is about.” ~ Susan Piver

Of all the survival stories we hear, the one’s that stay with us the longest are the ones where the survivor used their pain as a stepping stone to a better life. This is only possible when healing has taken place.

Healing has taken place when what caused you ‘pain’ ceases to interfere with your day-to-day life and become the root of all your decisions.

Healing has taken place when there are no new tears and what caused you ‘pain’ now gives you power as opposed to taking power from you.

Healing has taken place when the emotional scar tissue stands strong at the first sign of agitation and continues to hold its own under continued pressure.

Healing has taken place when you no longer have the urge to continue with any destructive patterns you may have adopted to survive.

Healing has taken place when you are no longer defined by what tried to break you.

Healing is a multi-layered undertaking One size does not fit all. One time frame does not suit all. Healing takes the time it takes. How you approach it must be best for you and you alone.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of healing broken pottery with gold or precious metals. Through the healing process, the cracks and the brokenness of the object are accentuated, and the item becomes more beautiful than before.

That is the power of healing. You become more beautiful than before. This power can be yours if you fight to survive and then choose to heal from that which tried to break you.

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Who’s Got Your Back

“The bigger the dream, the more important the team.” ~Robin Sharma

There are no guaranteed routes to success but on this, there is a general consensus. If we want to be as successful as we know we can be, we cannot do it alone. We need the help of others we trust.

So who’s got your back?

When you need a bar that keeps being raised and people who keep making sure that you’re jumping to it?

When you need encouragement, feedback, and generous mutual support?

When you need to be held accountable and allowed to be vulnerable and candid?

When you need to be reminded not to give up and quit when your dreams have become big enough to scare you?

Who will remind you? Who can you confide in?

Keith Ferrazziauthor of Who’s Got Your Back calls the people who provide the above-listed benefits, your “lifeline relationships.”

Lifeline relationships are required both in your personal life and professional life. They are rarely serendipitous. More a result of an intentional pursuit. A pursuit that seeks more than mere connection and is propelled by need not want.

Who are your “lifeline relationships?”  Who in your life is vested in the best version of you?

Is it time for you to take a relationship roll call?

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How to Grant Calm Permission to Find You in the Midst of Chaos

“The music is between the notes, not in the notes.” ~ Robert Fripp

Imagine for a moment that you are listening to your favorite song. Imagine that song being sung with no pauses. If the song is an instrumental piece, imagine it being played with no rests.

The sound you would experience would undoubtedly be, a brutal assault on your ears.

Imagine listening to your favorite speaker. Imagine them speaking with no pauses. Just rambling on from word to word. Sentence to sentence.

Their intended meaning would be undecipherable.

Imagine yourself as a driver attempting to get from point A to B. Imagine doing so without letting your foot off the accelerator. Without heeding any traffic lights or signals.

The result would be sheer pandemonium and destruction. Not just to you but also to those around you.

When faced with chaos, most people are hard-pressed not to act. In the majority of chaotic situations though, action should first give way to pause. As Victor Frankl is quoted as saying “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

When we choose instead to pause, we take back the power that chaos has attempted to seize and thereby grant calm, permission to find us.

A pause allows us to assign deeper and more conscious meaning to all next actions. To respond thoughtfully and with compassion as opposed to merely reacting.

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?” ~Lao Tzu

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10 Quotes to Remind you that Solitude is a Journey You must Undertake

What is it about being alone that freaks people out? Has noise become so soothing that we can’t live without it? Is the thought of having to endure one’s own company so fear inducing that it must be avoided at all costs?

We are by nature, social creatures. We crave interaction and connection. Without it, we are undeniably incomplete. Even the most solitary of us, at one point or another, has sort out contact.

Though we are social beings, we have a limited mental bandwidth. There’s only so much that we can handle at any given time. Our senses are being overwhelmed with information. Our identities are constantly fighting against external modification. There is only one remedy. Solitude.

Solitude should never be confused for loneliness.

Loneliness is a negative state, marked by a sense of isolation. Loneliness is commonly defined as the feeling created by the discrepancy between one’s existing and desired social relationships. Loneliness drives people to seek connection to compensate for empty areas within themselves.

Solitude is a purely positive state.  It allows us to stand still and engage with our true self. Solitude restores, reignites and builds. It’s a springboard to greater self-awareness, greater creativity, fresh insights, and new growth.

In a world determined to craft your identity for you, solitude is an act of rebellion. An act of rebellion we must all embrace.

Here are ten quotes to remind you that solitude is a journey you must undertake.

| It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” ~Carl Sandburg 

| It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

| I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity. ~Albert Einstein

| Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines. ~Paul Brunton

| It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~K.T. Jon

| Without great solitude no serious work is possible. ~Pablo Picasso

| Children love to be alone because alone is where they know themselves, and where they dream. ~Roger Rosenblatt

| A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you. ~Rumi

| The person who has not learned to be happy and content while completely alone for an hour a day, or a week has missed life’s greatest serenity. ~H. Clay Tate

Solitude can be frightening because it invites us to meet a stranger we think we may not want to know – ourselves. ~Melvyn Kinder

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