Tim Ferriss attributes much of his success to the practice of “fear setting“: he takes a sheet of paper, divides it into three columns and labels them “Define”, “Prevent,” and “Repair.”

Under the first column, write 10-20 things that could go wrong if you answer your question in the affirmative. Under the second column, answer: “what could I do to prevent each of these bullets from happening?” In the third, answer: “if the worst-cast scenarios happen, what could I do to repair the damage?”

I, on the other hand, attribute all of my success to the practice of “cheer setting”.

It’s very different, and not explicitly useful in the slightest.

Taking a sheet of paper (perhaps the back of an old calendar or the subscription inserts that always fall out of magazines), I start writing headlines.

“Things that . . . “, “Top Three . . . “, etc.

And then I list three ridiculous mostly-truthful bullets under each heading.

It doesn’t really put me on any path to success. It doesn’t help to reduce anxiety surrounding imaginary fears. It doesn’t put anything under a microscope.

But it cheers me greatly.

For your viewing pleasure (but more, I must admit, for my own) I present today’s cheer setting:

 Things that make me unjustifiably satisfied:
  • When I can knock the sensor on the road for the right turn arrow with my bike. And there are forty cars waiting to go straight on Lincoln Road, and little old me chillin’ solo in the right turn lane wanting to go to Universal Drive. You can bet that I am soaring as I peel out.
  • When it’s raining and cold and I rock on up to the train station just as the train is pulling in. I leap to tag on and leap on the train, pulling my bike after me, celebrating my victory, not remembering that there’ll be another train in ten minutes.
  • Every time I inadvertently squeeze an “eh” or an “oi” into one of my sentences. (“That’s a whole lot of rain for such a little pond, eh?”; “Oi, you rabbit! Get off the cycle path!”)
Things I want to want to do:
  • Read Stephen Hawkings’ A Brief History of Time.
  • Learn how to sail.
  • Eat less peanut butter.
My favorite types of people to watch:
  • British elderly women twins drinking tea in the cafes.
  • Pointy-shoed business men talking on cell phones.
  • Middle aged women shamelessly singing in the cars that pass me as I cycle along.
Things that remind me of my inner child:
  •  Samuele, the 7-year-old that I look after, wants to be an artist. Sometimes we watch Bob Ross episodes on YouTube, which rocks both of our worlds. My father, a smashing amateur painter himself, used to show me Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” episodes when I was little. And there’s nothing quite like my joy when Samu says “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents! That’s what Ross says, anyways,” to his mother when she burns the mushy peas.


  • Listening to LeVar Burton read Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, and Neil Gaiman stories on his podcast, “LaVar Burton Reads” as I pedal along the harbor. Reading Rainbow, a child’s show that teachings reading habits and attitudes (which my elementary classes used to watch habitually), was hosted by LeVar Burton.


  • Writing letters to non-human friends. Reminds me of when I would line up my stuffed Roger (border collie), Biggle Bear (big-ole-bear), Yvonne (floppy bunny), Nina Simone (rooster), and Mastadon (german shepherd) in a row and play teacher. I would have a popsicle stick with each of their names scribbled in a coffee can. They had better be prepared to answer my questions when selected from the can.
Words that I think are sexy:
  • Creed
  • Coexist
  • Sequin
Things that make my day:
  • When I get the chance to write so much that my pinkies get all inky. Inky pinkies! Is there anything greater?
  • When I see a chicken running across the road, and I can’t help but shriek: “what motivates you?!”
  • Not being constipated (graphic, but very true).
Things I wish for when I blow out the birthday candles (in morse code, for the sake of secrecy):
  •  … ..- -. -. -.– / … -.- .. . … / – — / .-. . .- -.. / ..- -. -.. . .-.
  •  — .-.. -.. / .– — — . -. / …. ..- –. …
  •  .- / … .–. — -. … — .-. … …. .. .–. / ..-. .-. — — / .— .. ..-. ..-. / .–. . .- -. ..- – / -… ..- – – . .-.

From my inky pinkies to yours–

Peace and blessings,



1 Comment on “Cheer Setting

Leave a Reply to Linda Ende Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: