We can make peace with the anxiety of anticipation. But it’s the hope that kills. What we need to gauge the nerves is preparation.
One way of accomplishing this is through fear-setting, a practice which requires that we envision the worst outcome. By going toward the fear, we undermine its strength and power our resolve.
The counterintuitive nature of the fear-setting approach is why it works. Using our imagination, we literally live through something before it happens. The mere process of visualization provides action steps that tame the monkey mind.
Wrote the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” At least we have mental exposure to help stem the tide.
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