The ideas behind fear-setting come from Stoicism

Stoics preferred to control fears and desires, rather than being their prisoners.

That led them to visualize worst-case scenarios in detail, in order to control them.

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Self Improvement


We are risk-averse by nature, and we're also imaginative. That gives us the capacity to overthink our fears until they become way worse than truth.

The act of defining fears gets the worst-case scenario on the page. And in most cases, it’s not as bad as we thought, or as likely.


It is a decision-making tool for risky situations. The main point is that visualizing the worst-case scenarios lets you manage them rationally.

There are 3 stages in fear-setting for any decision:

  • Defining fears
  • Predicting the benefits of attempting an action
  • Calculating the costs of doing nothing.
  • Fear-setting is for any decision that’s causing you stress.
  • It’s a way to stop fears from preventing success and spiraling out of control. 
  • Fear-setting doesn’t work if you’re not honest.
  • We like to keep things the same. And keeping things the same usually seems like the safest play. But that's not true.
  • Every choice comes with costs. So when you choose to keep things just as they are, you give up the benefits of everything else.
  • You have to count the costs of doing nothing.

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Fear-setting is a tool to help us overcome the fear of making difficult decisions.

Fear setting is an operating system for thriving in high-stress environments. It is a way to make a checklist of all the bad things that could happen, so you become less afraid of taking action.

Suffering from the fear of heights

People that have acrophobia have an irrational fear of heights. Many symptoms of acrophobia are shared with other anxiety disorders, such as shaking, sweating, a racing heart, difficult breathing, nausea, and a dry mouth. Symptoms unique to acrophobia include vertigo and the desire to drop to the knees or clutch on to something.

If your fear of heights starts to interfere with your daily life, then you might want to try to do something to reduce it.

Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

Accept your fear relative to you.

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