Use Fear to Motivate Yourself

You can harness fear to make your work and life run better. Find out how here. 

Stever Robbins
2-minute read

Use Fear to Motivate Yourself


Part of what makes humans so amazing is that we can fantasize about the future, get scared about it, and have that fear cause us to redesign our entire lives around what scared us. In other words, humans need to manage risk.

Unfortunately, our brains aren’t particularly well-tuned when it comes to deciding what to get scared about. I read a comic book when I was 8 that featured a killer snake. For my entire adult life, I’ve been terrified of snakes. Is that useful, given that I live in a major metropolitan area? Not so much.

But you can harness your fear to make your work and life run better. Do that by managing risk.

Before a major project, imagine everything that might go wrong. Really let yourself go. List all the ways the project could fail, from the likely (“I’ll oversleep – again!”) to the unlikely (“A major meteor will destroy the company supply room just as the laser printer runs out of paper.”) Make your thinking so vivid that it terrifies you. Then use the terror to motivate you to think through how to prevent risks before they happen, or how to recover from them if they actually do come to pass. A small amount of upfront planning will reap huge rewards in helping you navigate life’s minefield.

For details on how to do risk management before a big project, see the Get-It-Done Guy episode on how to manage risk.

One of the risks many people make with their lives and careers is worrying too much about financial risk and not enough about the risk of not pursuing their dreams. Check out my free presentation Living an Extraordinary Life at http://www.steverrobbins.com/living-an-extraordinary-life/.

Businessman with cellphone from Shutterstock

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.