Christian Long

Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 9:41 am

Reflection by ALEX F.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Tim Ferriss:  Smash Fear, Learn Anything

The concept of smashing fear is not new to the world; it’s been known for quite some time that fear is one of the biggest factors keeping people from their dreams. But what people have failed to figure out is how exactly do we get rid of that fear?

What I love so much about this talk is that he explains the same thing that I have come to discover; that by learning more about your fear and making it your own, you can conquer and destroy any fears that stand in your way.

Ferriss opens with a story about how he used to think he was the Incredible Hulk, and realizing that he wasn’t, because of his huge fear of swimming. I think that that’s the one big contributer to a fear; having that feeling of invincibility crushed and your mind brought back to the very scary earth. That’s what puts the fear in our heads, because we as human beings don’t like to be proven wrong. If something we believed with our whole hearts is shown to be wrong, that puts a lot of doubt in our heads.

[That would be why younger children are more fearless than adults, because they haven’t been totally crushed by reality yet. They know they can get hurt, but they’re too smart or too clever or too lucky for it to ever actually happen to them. And as they get older, they’re proven to be invincible over and over again, which makes them afraid.]

But Ferriss shows how he got over his fear by actually understanding what he was afraid of (in this case, swimming), and actually changing it in a way that made it easier and more fun to him. He does the same thing with learning language and dancing. He takes something that he’s useless at, learns the basics, and then makes it his own. The way that he effectively conquered his fears was through deep understanding and exposure to what he was afraid of.

He has, in short, done what many people struggle to do for their entire lives: smashed fear.

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