The TED talk is titled "Why you should define your fears instead of your goals".
We all know about goal-setting. You sit down, think about what you want in life, and write it down. Perhaps, you even define OKRs to make it easier to achieve your goals, like I described in Know Your Goals.
Knowing your goals is important to make the right decisions. But what if it's really hard to make some decisions that bring you closer to your goals? Big decisions usually come with fears that start with "what if?". What if that new job will burn me out? What if people won't understand me when I'm moving into the country of my dreams? What if the building company that's building my house turns out a scam and leaves me with a ruin and a mortgage?
This is where "fear-setting" comes into play. It helps to focus on what we can control and separate it from what we can't control, leaving us in a much better place to make those big decisions.
Here's how fear-setting works.
"What if?" For the decision you want to work on, define all the things that float in your mind that could go wrong. What are the worst things that can happen? Write them down in a list. Then, for each of the things that can go wrong, list the things that you can do to prevent those things from happening. Finally, in a third list, write down the things that you could do to repair the situation if it really goes bad. These three steps "What are my fears?", "How can I prevent the fears from coming true?", and "How can I repair the situation if the fears come true?" already go a long way towards making that big decision, because they focus on the things that you can change, instead of on the things that you can't change.
"What might be the benefits of a partial success?" Next, focus on what the situation would look like if the big decision would only lead to a partial success. What benefits would you gain from making that decision even when it doesn't work out in the end? This exercise focuses your mind on the positive in the negative and takes away even more of the fear of making that decision.
Think about the cost of inaction. Not making that big decision is often the path of least resistance. But what would it cost you to delay the decision? What would it mean for the next 3 months / 6 months / 12 months if you don't make that decision? What would be the cost in money, freedom, or experience? Our brains put more value on negative things than positive things (this is called "negativity dominance"), so thinking about the negative things that happen when we don't make the decision will increase our brain's motivation to make that decision.
Doing the steps above on a piece of paper will help make that big decision and generate luck. Try it out with the next big decision in your life!
The motto "focus on what you can control instead of what you can't control" is not only true for this week's inspirational nugget above, but also for the technical article.
If a 3rd party system fails, we can't control it. We can control our own application calling that 3rd party system, however, and just try again after some time. Resilience4J and Spring Boot make this very easy to do.