Feel the fear anyway and do it anyway book review
This book does what it says on the tin, or front cover should I say. This book isn’t telling you how to get rid of fear, because that would pretty much be impossible and some fear is useful, it’s actually teaching you how to conquer your fear and use it to your advantage so you can become the best version of yourself!
Before we look into this book in more depth, let’s first talk about the author of this book. Susan Jeffers was a PhD psychologist and taught courses about how to handle fears at the new school for social research. She later then became an author in 1987 with a best seller and probably her most famous book “feel the fear and do it anyway” from this she was called “the queen of self-help” by The Times and has been regarded as one of the most influential people in the industry. She has written several more self improvement books such as Embracing uncertainty, End the struggle and dance with life and The Feel the fear guide to… lasting love but most famously her book feel the fear and do it anyway which we’re now going to look at the golden nuggets from it!
The three levels of fear
In the book Susan breaks down fear into three types. It is important to understand that fear is natural as it has helped us to survive generation after generation and it often is a signal that you are growing but sometimes it can become unhealthy and that’s where this book comes in.
Level 1: Surface fear
This is the fear that we know most, they happen in short bursts and are external things that we can’t control. This level can be split into two categories, the first is the fear of things that happen and the second is things that require action.
Level 1 Examples:
Those that “happen”
- Becoming disabled
- Getting old
- Being alone
- Losing a loved one
- Lack of money
- Children leaving home
- Natural disasters
- Public speaking
- Seeing a doctor
- Chatting someone up
- Having an interview
- Ending a toxic relationship
- Learning how to drive
- Putting your point across
- Joining a new school
Level 2: Ego
This level is to do with your inner state of mind rather than external things. This is one step deeper in to fears and they’re often the reason why you have your surface level fears.
Level 2 examples:
- Being vulnerable
- Loss of image
Level 3: Power
This is where all fears stem from, it’s the lack of belief in yourself. To put it best, it’s when you say “I can’t handle this“
So to overcome fear you have to take back control of the power and understand that you can handle it!
New job? I can handle it!
Break up? I can handle it!
Illness? I can handle it!
Whatever the case may be…
you can handle it!
Can’t it just go away?
You might be thinking “can’t you just make the fear go away“ in short, no, but you can work on things to help you take back control of your life but, before you do this, you must learn the five truths of fear.
The 5 truths of fear
- Truth 1: The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow. (this is good)
- Truth 2: The only way to get rid of your fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
- Truth 3: The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and do it.
- Truth 4: Not only are you going to feel fear when in unfamiliar surroundings, but so am I and everybody else.
- Truth 5: Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness and regret.
From pain to power
I’ve littered the word control all over this blog and this is what it’s all about, taking back power! Not from anyone else but from that voice in your head telling you can’t handle it. You need to change your mindset from pain to power because when you stay in the victim mindset you begin to feel lost, down and like there’s no way out but, when you choose power you feel in control, you make the choices and you only.
“How do I turn pain in to power?” I’m guessing that’s what you’re thinking, well in this book Susan gives you two ways you can turn pain into power and these are through vocabulary and through you pushing the limits of your comfort zone. I’ll talk a little about these two ideas but to get the full package you’re going to have to buy the book!
Susan explains that how you talk determines your actions, so what you say, is what happens. If you come from a place of pain you will use vocabulary like “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t” and “it’s impossible” which causes you to be weak and paralyzed by fear but, if you can change your mindset and your vocabulary to a place of power you can take back control.
Every opportunity you get to push yourself out of your comfort you should and every time you do, your fear will get less and less paralyzing. If you are scared of public speaking try speaking to more people and slowly Increase the amount of people you speak to. If you would like to learn more about comfort zones you can read this blog…
Perspective and accountability
The best way to take back power of your life is to take responsibility for everything within it, this includes your actions, feelings and emotions. In life we often blame others for what we do but you need to understand that they are not responsible for your actions. You have to options, be Reactive and lose all of your power or be proactive and live the life you want to live! The realization that you are in total creation of your own misery or joy is truly a blessing.
Pollyanna is when you find the positives in every situation, no matter what obstacles or adversities you face you know you can handle it! People often see this as being immature or to innocent but you’ll often find that you’re being more realistic than them.
In the book it reports that over 90% percent of what people worry about, never actually happens, so who’s really being the immature one? Not you! So you need to look on the brighter side of life as this is actually more accurate. Instead of thinking something bad is going to happen, believe in your ability and understand that you are capable, and if something goes wrong, instead of thinking why always me and losing all of your power, look for what you learnt from the experience. Always find a way that your winning.
There’s many ways you can change your mindset to a more Pollyanna one, some examples are using affirmations, educating yourself, reading powerful quotes and learn to be confident in your own ability.
Being positive isn’t about disregarding the struggles of life, it’s about having perspective and not letting outside circumstances control your outcomes. It is also very important to have a strong support system. You should surround yourself with people who are further along than you, who empower and encourage you, and who see life in a positive way. We can go to clubs, meetups and now with the power of the internet, have friends from all around the world! The most important thing you must understand is that you are never alone, you’re always with that voice in your head so if it’s their, you’re going to want to make it your best friend, you need to be your own best friend. Feed your subconscious full of positivity and it will fill your life with positivity in return!
They don’t want you to grow
You’re down and out, you’ve hit rock bottom and you’re about to give it all up… until you stumble on to something, self improvement, you stumbled on to self improvement. You read a book, start exercising or start a new hobby and you begin to see the light, all your fears and the doom and gloom of life begin to fade away, you feel like you have a new lease of life but all of a sudden, people start saying that you’ve changed and they don’t mean it in a good way. Even though your life was in such a mess before, they like the old you. You begin to see significant people in your life drift away. Family, close friends and everyone else you hold in high regard. You begin to wonder “did I make a mistake?”, “should I go back to how I was” but you have to understand that in life you have to level up, Susan uses this quote in the book which I love.
The reason why this happens is because people grow accustomed to the old and outdated you, they’ve always treated you the same and they are scared of the level 1 fear, CHANGE, they don’t understand that they can handle it.
I don’t want to cause friction and problems between you and your loved ones but, negativity is contagious and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to catch anything. You need to really look at the people in your life and see if they are helping you grow or holding you back. I’m not advising you to ditch everyone at the drop of a hat, give people time to adapt and show them how you want to be treated, let them know that you can handle it. In the end you will see who really wants to be a part of your life.
I can relate so much to this part of the book as my journey wasn’t gradual, I went from rock bottom to being happy again and I don’t think people could keep up, I’m not saying I’m perfect, far from it really but from where I was I’ve come so far and people have come and gone but I can’t let it distract from what I’m going to achieve.
Win win decisions
Making decisions is one of the biggest fears in most people and it’s probably one of yours to. The problem is that you have been taught to “Be careful! You might make a wrong decision!” all your life and this is why you are so indecisive. Another reason why you struggle to make decisions is that you’re trying to be perfect and not make mistakes not understanding that mistakes are what you grow from, you win or you learn, you’re in a no lose situation. This fear keeps you petrified of making any decisions so you sit on the fence not getting either of the choices. Remember “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
So when you have to make a decision there is some things you should take into account:
Before your decision
Think of it as a can’t lose situation, you either win or you learn. Do your homework and see all the possible outcomes, look for alternatives in what you can do. Trust your gut but don’t take your decision to seriously, you have plenty of time to make mistakes and here’s hoping you will!
After your decision
Don’t have any expectation of the outcome, remember you are in control of you and only you, not anything else. Take responsibility for your decisions, don’t try and blame anything on anyone if things start to go wrong, if your decision is wrong, no worries, just correct it and move on.
This is the end of my book review of feel the fear and do it anyway This is one of the first books I read and before I even got to the end of the book, it was already my favourite, it’s packed full of useful and practical information. This blog is such a small amount of the book there is probably about another ten chapters full so I strongly recommend that you buy this book!
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Before you click off this blog I have a challenge for you, the next time you face adversity I want you to say this…
“I can handle it!”
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