Click Here

How to Conquer Your Fear, First Galaxies, & More

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

One Quote:

"Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance." - Steven Pressfield

One common trait of uncommon performers:

When they feel the Resistance, they run towards it.

(Share this on Twitter!)

One Framework:

Fear-Setting

I first came across the concept of "fear-setting" in 2017 via a Ted Talk by Tim Ferriss. I registered it as interesting, but didn't really dive in until 2021, when I was going through my own big life changes that were scaring the hell out of me.

The foundation of fear-setting is captured in a famous stoic quote:

“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca

Fear plays dangerous games with our minds. It distorts our ability to think clearly and rationally about a decision.

When we feel fear, we:

  • Overstate the negative consequences of our decisions or actions.
  • Completely ignore the potential positive consequences and the costs of inaction.

The human tendency is to (a) feel fear and (b) run away from it. Fear-setting forces you to do the opposite—it provides a structured way to get closer to your fears in order to grow through them.

Here's a generalized model of how it works:

When faced with a big, intimidating decision, grab a notebook and pen and sit down in a quiet place with no technology or distractions.

Step 1: Deconstruct the Fear

The first step is to get closer to your fears.

  • Define your fears. What are the worst case scenarios? What might go wrong from making this decision or taking this action? Get intimate with your fears.
  • Determine how you could prevent those scenarios from occurring. What actions could you take that would reduce the probability of them happening?
  • Determine how you could fix it if the bad scenarios occur. What actions would you take to repair the damage done? How hard or costly would it be to repair your ship?
Illustration by Sachin Ramje

At the end of Step 1, you should have a very clear understanding of your fears, your tangible ability to prevent them, and the costs of fixing the situation should the worst case become real.

Step 2: Deconstruct the Upside

The second step is to get closer to the benefits.

As mentioned, fear distorts reality. By deconstructing the benefits of taking action (and the costs of inaction), we force ourselves back into a more normal headspace that allows for rational decision making.

  • Determine the benefits of action. What are the potential positive consequences of the decision or action?
  • Quantify the benefits of action. How big of an impact will these consequences have on your life, happiness, and fulfillment?
Illustration by Sachin Ramje

At the end of Step 2, you should have a very clear understanding of the upside of a decision or action.

Step 3 (OPTIONAL): Deconstruct the Inaction

The optional third step is to get closer to the idea of inaction.

  • Determine the costs of inaction. If you do nothing, what will happen? What are the costs of taking no action? Write them out clearly.

We often fail to quantify the costs of doing nothing, so this can be a helpful way to wrap the exercise.

After completing the steps, zoom out from the trees and look at the forest. You'll have a clear, rational picture of the decision before you and an intimate understanding of your fears. The quality of your next move will be dramatically improved.

Fear-Setting provides a thoughtful, structured approach to get closer to your fears and mitigate their distorting effect on reality.

The next time you're faced with a big decision, give this a shot and let me know what you think.

Note: Fear-Setting is a framework that changed my life. If it's interesting to enough people, I will plan to write a deep-dive post on it and share my own real example of how I deconstructed my big life decision with it. Reply to this email with "YES!" if you're interested in reading that post.

One Tweet:

This was a pretty underrated thread from what is becoming one of my favorite accounts.

A few of my favorites from the list:

  • Socrates never actually wrote anything. Everything we know of his philosophy comes from his students (including Plato). Apparently he believed that writing was an inferior method of discourse, so he never did it. I guess there's at least one thing Socrates and I disagree on!
  • The term "barbarian" was created as a form of propaganda by the Greeks, who used it to describe non-Greeks with language that sounded like gibberish.
  • The oldest board game in the world was called the Royal Game of Ur and dates back to 2,400 B.C. It looks pretty fun, like it has some ancient Settlers of Catan vibes. Might have to buy it for the next game night over some wine with friends.
  • Pakistan is actually an acronym for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. This one blew my mind.

Highly recommend checking the thread out (and giving the account a follow). Really interesting stuff on a regular basis.

One Article:

The Spiders That Choose Death

Ok, you can go ahead and place this in the "utterly random but fascinating" box. After all, who doesn't need another interesting piece of science fodder to casually drop at their next cocktail party to wow the audience?!

Photo: Sean McCann

In a scientific anomaly, the male Redback and Brown Widow Spider will offer himself up to be murdered by the female after having sex. The males are just 1-2% the size of the female, so they don't really make for a hearty meal. Scientists *think* the sacrificial behavior increases the mating efficiency of the males, so it is a biological mechanism to ensure they pass on their genes. Still seems like a lot...

I really hate spiders, but this is pretty neat. Nature is confusing and mesmerizing.

One Podcast:

What's the James Webb Telescope Searching For?

The James Webb Telescope has arguably become the most popular thing in the world. The first images that came from it went mega-viral on Twitter and blew everyone's minds with their clarity.

This was a great listen from the Vox Unexplainable podcast.

A few facts that I find incredible:

  • The James Webb Telescope weighs about ~50% of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, despite being much larger in size and having a collecting area that is ~6x+ larger. All thanks to material science improvements.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is remarkably still running after more than three decades in space thanks to four servicing missions that fixed and maintained key components. It won't be as easy with James Webb, which will orbit at ~1 million miles from Earth (vs. Hubble's 340 miles).
  • The James Webb is so strong that it can clearly see a single penny from 24 miles away.
  • One of its first missions will be to spot the first light ever created in our universe (i.e. the light from the first stars and galaxies). Mind-bending stuff!

Worth a listen if you nerd out on space as much as I do!

Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

How to Conquer Your Fear, First Galaxies, & More

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

One Quote:

"Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance." - Steven Pressfield

One common trait of uncommon performers:

When they feel the Resistance, they run towards it.

(Share this on Twitter!)

One Framework:

Fear-Setting

I first came across the concept of "fear-setting" in 2017 via a Ted Talk by Tim Ferriss. I registered it as interesting, but didn't really dive in until 2021, when I was going through my own big life changes that were scaring the hell out of me.

The foundation of fear-setting is captured in a famous stoic quote:

“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca

Fear plays dangerous games with our minds. It distorts our ability to think clearly and rationally about a decision.

When we feel fear, we:

  • Overstate the negative consequences of our decisions or actions.
  • Completely ignore the potential positive consequences and the costs of inaction.

The human tendency is to (a) feel fear and (b) run away from it. Fear-setting forces you to do the opposite—it provides a structured way to get closer to your fears in order to grow through them.

Here's a generalized model of how it works:

When faced with a big, intimidating decision, grab a notebook and pen and sit down in a quiet place with no technology or distractions.

Step 1: Deconstruct the Fear

The first step is to get closer to your fears.

  • Define your fears. What are the worst case scenarios? What might go wrong from making this decision or taking this action? Get intimate with your fears.
  • Determine how you could prevent those scenarios from occurring. What actions could you take that would reduce the probability of them happening?
  • Determine how you could fix it if the bad scenarios occur. What actions would you take to repair the damage done? How hard or costly would it be to repair your ship?
Illustration by Sachin Ramje

At the end of Step 1, you should have a very clear understanding of your fears, your tangible ability to prevent them, and the costs of fixing the situation should the worst case become real.

Step 2: Deconstruct the Upside

The second step is to get closer to the benefits.

As mentioned, fear distorts reality. By deconstructing the benefits of taking action (and the costs of inaction), we force ourselves back into a more normal headspace that allows for rational decision making.

  • Determine the benefits of action. What are the potential positive consequences of the decision or action?
  • Quantify the benefits of action. How big of an impact will these consequences have on your life, happiness, and fulfillment?
Illustration by Sachin Ramje

At the end of Step 2, you should have a very clear understanding of the upside of a decision or action.

Step 3 (OPTIONAL): Deconstruct the Inaction

The optional third step is to get closer to the idea of inaction.

  • Determine the costs of inaction. If you do nothing, what will happen? What are the costs of taking no action? Write them out clearly.

We often fail to quantify the costs of doing nothing, so this can be a helpful way to wrap the exercise.

After completing the steps, zoom out from the trees and look at the forest. You'll have a clear, rational picture of the decision before you and an intimate understanding of your fears. The quality of your next move will be dramatically improved.

Fear-Setting provides a thoughtful, structured approach to get closer to your fears and mitigate their distorting effect on reality.

The next time you're faced with a big decision, give this a shot and let me know what you think.

Note: Fear-Setting is a framework that changed my life. If it's interesting to enough people, I will plan to write a deep-dive post on it and share my own real example of how I deconstructed my big life decision with it. Reply to this email with "YES!" if you're interested in reading that post.

One Tweet:

This was a pretty underrated thread from what is becoming one of my favorite accounts.

A few of my favorites from the list:

  • Socrates never actually wrote anything. Everything we know of his philosophy comes from his students (including Plato). Apparently he believed that writing was an inferior method of discourse, so he never did it. I guess there's at least one thing Socrates and I disagree on!
  • The term "barbarian" was created as a form of propaganda by the Greeks, who used it to describe non-Greeks with language that sounded like gibberish.
  • The oldest board game in the world was called the Royal Game of Ur and dates back to 2,400 B.C. It looks pretty fun, like it has some ancient Settlers of Catan vibes. Might have to buy it for the next game night over some wine with friends.
  • Pakistan is actually an acronym for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. This one blew my mind.

Highly recommend checking the thread out (and giving the account a follow). Really interesting stuff on a regular basis.

One Article:

The Spiders That Choose Death

Ok, you can go ahead and place this in the "utterly random but fascinating" box. After all, who doesn't need another interesting piece of science fodder to casually drop at their next cocktail party to wow the audience?!

Photo: Sean McCann

In a scientific anomaly, the male Redback and Brown Widow Spider will offer himself up to be murdered by the female after having sex. The males are just 1-2% the size of the female, so they don't really make for a hearty meal. Scientists *think* the sacrificial behavior increases the mating efficiency of the males, so it is a biological mechanism to ensure they pass on their genes. Still seems like a lot...

I really hate spiders, but this is pretty neat. Nature is confusing and mesmerizing.

One Podcast:

What's the James Webb Telescope Searching For?

The James Webb Telescope has arguably become the most popular thing in the world. The first images that came from it went mega-viral on Twitter and blew everyone's minds with their clarity.

This was a great listen from the Vox Unexplainable podcast.

A few facts that I find incredible:

  • The James Webb Telescope weighs about ~50% of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, despite being much larger in size and having a collecting area that is ~6x+ larger. All thanks to material science improvements.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is remarkably still running after more than three decades in space thanks to four servicing missions that fixed and maintained key components. It won't be as easy with James Webb, which will orbit at ~1 million miles from Earth (vs. Hubble's 340 miles).
  • The James Webb is so strong that it can clearly see a single penny from 24 miles away.
  • One of its first missions will be to spot the first light ever created in our universe (i.e. the light from the first stars and galaxies). Mind-bending stuff!

Worth a listen if you nerd out on space as much as I do!

Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.