What’s the worst that can happen?

For those who follow my posts, will already know I’m a massive fan of the TED videos (would love to get an invite to attend in person – hint hint).

I was catching up on some I’d missed and came across Tim Ferriss’ video. IF you’ve read Tim’s book 4-hour work week,  there’s a self-assurance that he has that can come across as being arrogance, at least that’s how I felt about it.

But that’s not what this post is about, if you watch Tim’s video, towards the end he announces ‘quietly’ a little secret of his (as he’s regaling his swimming project); and it’s this that caught my ear. When he’s setting about doing a project or overcoming some issue, he starts with “What’s the worst that can happen?“.

Then it struck me, what a great approach. Tim figured out that most of the reason why he’s not good at something yet! is that he’s not figured it out (he looks at things like an engineer would – that’s just his way!). But before he can launch into that he has to get over his own limiting beliefs or fears or whatever else that’s stopping him and here’s where the what’s the worst thing that can happen becomes a really powerful question to ask yourself, and also to spend the time an honesty answering.

So  I figured if it’s good enough for Tim, then It’s good enough for me. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon actually doing this exercise, and came up with these steps:

Here’s are my steps and how you can approach this:

  1. First give yourself some space and time, an hour or so, and with pen and paper.
  2. Make a quick list of the things you think you should be doing, but are procrastinating about, or really don’t want to do for some reason. You may want to write about more than one thing, but for this step just list them.
  3. Now choose one of them to write about.
  4. Next write down the first reason that comes to your mind about why you won’t do it.
  5. Then, and this is the powerful part, ask yourself: “so “What’s the worst that can happen” .
  6. Write down the worst thing and ask yourself how likely is this and what will you probably do to stop it, or avoid it?
  7. Keep repeating this until you completely run out of can’t/won’t do reasons, and your rational responses.

Go ahead – try it, you’ll be surprised how easy your reasons “not-to” will come flowing out, as well as your rational responses.

Now go ahead,  set a date and time to start doing it, you know what they say, half the work is in starting….

Good hunting

Simon