Customer Review

319 of 336 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent view on handling fear, 12 Mar 2003
This review is from: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway (Paperback)
This book is about the fears that we all have in our lives to some degree. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding. Fear of decisions. Fear of aging, of loss or of helplessness.
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.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jul 2009 01:52:10 BDT
Sean says:
Readers who have trouble getting motivated might be interested in "The Sixty-Second Motivator".

Posted on 9 Jan 2010 13:56:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2010 13:57:28 GMT
SygmaDelta says:
"all fear reduces to fear of not being able to cope"
OK - so I lost my job, and then I felt the rejection, and then I found that in every attempt to do things I feared I found that I actually couldn't cope. After a year of no job, heaps more rejection, and piles more examples of not being able to cope, where to turn next?
Sounds like this book is written by someone with innate self-confidence, telling other people to "just snap out of it". Ain't so easy, as I am discovering.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2010 15:39:31 GMT
a5456 says:
indeed it isnt so easy. have been in a job for 5 years, find it difficult to get out. feel as though there is no life within the office environment. re. finding another job, fear of rejection is key. change is big. and difficult to come to terms with. though in the long run you / I hope it will work out. otherwise whats the point?!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2010 03:03:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Feb 2010 03:13:17 GMT
David80015 says:
Re: SygmaDelta's comment.
I agree, telling someone to: "snap out of it," just isn't possible for the individual concerned. Unfortunately it is possible for fear to become an all consuming, and life-dominating feature. Which reduces a sufferer's life into a never ceasing misery of severe fear, which seems to have no cause, from the sufferer's point of view. Try to cure an acute anxiety depressive's condition, by telling them to read this book. If they had the concentration needed to do so, (which is be highly unlikely), and it worked. Then I'm certain all NHS psychiatrists would be handing out this book on prescription. Since they aren't, that leaves the question of why aren't they? It would certainly be a much cheaper and effective aid to the sufferer, than the drugs, possible hospitalisation, ECT, etc; needed to help such unfortunate individuals. Yes I have to agree with you. I think the author of this book is very probably an individual with a great deal of self confidence, who has probably never experienced really acute fear, for any significant period of time. Unfortunately such illnesses are becoming an ever increasing feature for people in the "West". Though they are almost unheard of in the third world.

Posted on 30 Nov 2010 06:36:46 GMT
Julie H says:
For SygmaDelta and David80015, it's not really useful to add comments like this when you haven't read the book. Susan had to make some very difficult decisions in her own life which she used as the foundation for this groundbreaking book. If you are experiencing fear in your life or find that you are holding yourself back, make the investment in this book, or take it out from the library and do some of the exercises inside. You might find the secret to overcoming your own limitations and start really moving forward - change takes time and Susan offers some great techniques to help you through that.
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