A book of advice on how to cope with fear of various kinds of experience, such as public speaking, self-assertion, decision-making, intimacy, being alone, ageing, losing a loved one, and ending a relationship.
The books basic premise is, that your aim should not be to get rid of your fears. You should feel your fear, but not let it stop you from doing things you really want to do.
The book describes three levels of fear. The first level is the actual event that you fear - say losing you job. The second level is the deeper fear, triggered by the first level - eg. rejection (if being fired would make you feel rejected). Beneath that on the third level there's only one fear: The fear that you won't be able to cope. If you knew in advance that you could take it, there would be nothing to be afraid of. So all fear reduces to fear of not being able to cope.
This is interesting, because this means that the best way to handle your fear, isn't to make your life safer - it's to increase your abilities, or your faith in your abilities. The more you know you can handle, the less reason there is to fear.
This point is illustrated with several stories of people who have diminished their lives time and again, to keep safe. This doesn't reduce fear, quite the contrary, these people lived in perpetual fear. When some catastrophic event interfered with their reduced existence (say the death of a spouse), some of these people found that they were forced to reconnect with life, and that they could cope. And this reduced their fear.
The book also emphasizes positivity as a way to reduce fear. The book argues that you need to constantly train your positive thinking, or you'll revert to negative thinking.
There's also an excellent chapter on decision making, which argues that many of us see a decision making process mostly in the light of what we'll lose or risk in each alternative before us. To reduce the fear (or discomfort) of making a decision, we should realize that all options are good, and that no mater what we choose, it's still up to us to make it work.
The book contains many illustrative stories and exercises you can try yourself. I found it informative, entertaining and thought-provoking, and I recommend this book to anyone interested in the mechanisms that hold people back from growth and change.
I lost the plot for a while and all areas of my life suffered immensely. I was finding it difficult to locate a simple philosophy that might enable me to gain some control over my life. It was quite be accident that I came across this book. I saw it peeping out of a shop window as I headed to work. My first impression of the book judging by the title was that it was another American self-help book, designed to help lardy-arsed Yanks get to grips with their obesity, or something of a familiar vein. I was feeling particularly cynical and almost didn't bother buying it, dismissing it as a crutch for emotionally weak people. I think my inner-voice cried out and pleaded with me to try something, whatever it was. I was desperate; I was close to the edge and had often considered a more 'permanent' solution for all of my problems.
I had nothing less to lose and was feeling pretty sorry for myself before I started to read. If there ever was a book that changed my life it was this one. I think that I had to hit the low that I was did to subsequently be able to appreciate life for what it is and how it can be. This book basically teaches us that we are all responsible for our lives and that it is only a matter of applying a consistent, and moreover healthy/productive, attitude.
I am now in total control of my life and this book was the catalyst that gave me an essential boost in the right direction. My personal life, business and general outlook on life have changed for the better and I now look forward to all of the challenges that life might present. It really was a great help from the first page. Give it a whirl, you to will benefit from realising that you can handle anything in life, and once you cross that bridge there's no looking back (apart from when one is writing the occasional book review.)
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