Sketchnotes of Tim Ferriss TED Talk on Fear Setting

In his latest TED Talk, Tim Ferriss flips the script on the way that most of us approach how we make important decisions. I’d like to share my sketchnotes of that talk as well as some reflections on the ideas contained in it.

The gist is this: rather than focusing on setting goals and basing important decisions on those goals, Tim encourages you to instead focus on your fears and dig deep in order to better understand them.

Here are some sketchnotes that I took of his talk:

Tim Ferriss on Fear Setting (Page 1) - TED Talk 2017 - Verbal to visual, visual note-taking, sketchnotes, doug neill

Tim talks often of the influence that stoicism has had on his life, the work of Seneca in particular.

Tim Ferriss on Fear Setting (Page 1) - TED Talk 2017 - Verbal to visual, visual note-taking, sketchnotes, doug neill

First steps in fear setting: identify the worst things that could happen, figure out how you might prevent each, and plan for how you’ll repair the damage if the worst comes to pass.

Tim Ferriss on Fear Setting (Page 1) - TED Talk 2017 - Verbal to visual, visual note-taking, sketchnotes, doug neill

Beware the atrocious cost of the status quo, and know that hard choices are well worth the effort.

After taking those sketchnotes and reflecting a bit on the ideas they contain, here are a few of the takeaways for me personally:

  • I like that I now have a specific process to turn to the next time I have a big decision to make, and I should probably block out a period of time quarterly to seek out those decisions that need to be made that I’ve been pushing to the background.
  • This makes me want to dig deeper into stoicism because I can see the value in the habit of focusing on the things you CAN control rather than the things that you CAN’T control. I just added Seneca to my list of books to buy next.
  • The first-page prompts of Define, Prevent, and Repair are useful even outside the context of making big decisions. The next time I have trouble sleeping or focusing because I’m worried about something, I’m going to turn to that three-step process.

As I take a step back and look at my sketchnoting process, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy the small Moleskine notebook for taking sketchnotes of talks like this! This style was my go-to for quite some time, but it has been a while since I’ve used it.

Unfortunately it seems that Moleskine is no longer making these thick-page pocket notebooks, which means I’ve got to start looking for a suitable replacement!

If you like the style of note-taking that you see above and want to learn how to do it yourself, then check out our course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.




Want To Dig Deeper?

If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.

If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.

If you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.

And if you want to create new personal and professional opportunities by sharing the authentic journey of your skill development online, check out Learn In Public.