August 19, 2017 ~ 2 min read

Dangerous vs. Scary

For most people, their first time rock climbing is scary. But as long as you're doing it properly it's actually quite safe.

Driving a car is much less scary, but it's much more dangerous.

The distinction here is that scary is about how we feel and dangerous is about statistics.

Quitting a 9-5 that bores you is scary, but is it really that dangerous? If your plans don't pan out you can probably find another job relatively quickly assuming you're good at what you do.

Humans are bias to believe that scary implies dangerous, and not scary implies safe.

It makes sense why we might use this as a heuristic, but often times it's dead wrong.

In reality, staying at your mind numbing job isn't scary, but it might actually be more dangerous than quitting to do something that lights you up everyday.

Most people would tell you that dropping out of school because your business is getting traction is risky. But is it? You can always come back and finish if your business fails.

To help combat this bias, Tim Ferriss likes to use a technique he calls fear setting.

The idea is to go through the worst possible scenario that could come as the result of a decision. Most of the time you'll realize the downside risk is not nearly as bad as you think.

Asking a girl out is scary. But worst case scenario she says no and you move on.

Now let's take not asking out a girl that you like. Not scary. But worst case scenario you just missed out on your life-long partner that would bring you a lot of happiness. Damn.

From this point of view, NOT asking the girl out is actually really dangerous.

Danger is a real thing. It's hard to change how many people die in car accidents every year.

But fear? It's all mindset. How we react to it is up to us. It's time to stop letting it dictate our decisions.

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .