🔥 The fear of X

Plan Your Next Letter No. 25

Good morning from Los Angeles, California, the land of fire and brimstone.

Fear is setting in all across California, and it’s coming in earlier than usual. Keep in mind that the Malibu/Paradise fires of 2018 didn’t start until late November, and the same goes for the Kincade fires last year. Unfortunately, it’s just starting.

Los Angeles Fire Season Will Never End

Thankfully, we’re generally out of the destructive path where these fires occur, but we’re moving this week to the neighborhood next door, Los Feliz. Instead of a fear of fires, the change in environments also strikes another type of fear in me. The fear of change.

I wrote about what happened to this newsletter last time we moved, and naturally, it has me fearing disruption in my habits again.

So instead of fearing that, I’ll write about it. Like George Clooney famously said, “this one’s for me,” but I hope you’ll find it useful too.

Let’s get started.


😨 Fear-setting your next big change

This wouldn’t be a true Plan Your Next letter without a mention of Tim Ferriss. Those who know me are probably tired of me quoting him over the past 12 years, but his impact on me is undeniable.

Tim has an exercise that he runs through quarterly on fear-setting. Instead of looking at the costs of action, he recommends looking at the costs of inaction over time. Staying still. Not moving forward.

Fear-setting exercise
Out of the entire exercise, he thinks this section is the most underused:

  1. Write down the problem you’re facing. (E.g. Quitting your job, leaving a relationship, starting a business, starting a family, etc.)

  2. Write down the costs of inaction that you might face in six months. What happens if you stay still and don’t take action? What will it cost you? What will it cost the people you care for?

  3. In twelve months, what will it cost you and the people you care for?

  4. In 18 months?

  5. In three years?

Use this list of reasons as an impetus to take uncomfortable action in your life. In many ways, this list takes on a more realistic form and not just guesswork.

🙀 Fearing your next adventure

From the book, A More Beautiful Question:

“If you don’t have that disposition to question, you’re going to fear change. But if you’re comfortable questioning, experimenting, connecting things—then change is something that becomes an adventure. And if you can see it as an adventure, then you’re off and running.” —John Seely Brown

It’s easy to fear change, especially when it’s a disruption to my own routines that I’ve slowly built up over the past two years. But as Brown points out, if you embrace these changes as an adventure, it changes our entire perspective.

Side note: How cool is it that these incredibly smart people are on Twitter? Brown was the Chief Scientist of Xerox and was a director at Xerox PARC. 😍

🎬 Fear is the mind-killer

I was a latecomer to the Dune series. I read it in my twenties on a whim. Like past relationships or traumas that have impacted my life, books that I can’t seem to put down have made comparable dents in my life.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” —Frank Herbert, Dune

In the book, Paul Atreidas recants this line to withstand the pain during one of his tests. By controlling his emotional reactions and conquering fear, he’s able to remain rational in how he handles obstacles.

How great is this trailer? I’ve only watched it eight times…


Until next time

If you’re new to this newsletter, this is Plan Your Next. It’s a conversation about being ready for what’s next. Well, because there is always a next. I’m Nate, a designer, and inexperienced pilot of this group.

If you have something to share or add, please hit reply and expect a response!

As always, my calendar is always open to chat about your crazy ideas.

See you next Sunday!