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Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway - Susan Jeffers

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11 Reviews

Genre: Health / Medical / Author: Susan Jeffers / Edition: Anv / Paperback / 240 Pages / Book is published 2006-12-26 by Ballantine Books

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      26.08.2010 16:11
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      A really inspiring read.

      My dad is a serious self help book junkie, so when I saw this book lying around our house about a year ago, I was pretty excited as i'd heard great things about it and had been wanting to see if it was really all it was cracked up to be.

      When I was younger, I was always an extremely confident person, but growing up, a lot of things happened to me that made me doubt myself and question my purpose in life. This lead to me almost closing in on myself and rejecting new oppurtunities out of fear that things wouldn't go the way I wanted them to. Hence this, I figured that this book would be a great thing to read to help me overcome these thought patterns and help me to move on.

      The book explains many psychological thought patterns, helping you to understand your reasons for being afraid. It focuses largely on something called the fight of flight response, which basically means that in a situation in which you feel endangered, you either do two things: fight, or flight, ie. run away.
      It teaches you that it is ok to be afraid, in fact it is even a good thing, but that you should always use fear to your advantage; instead of letting it paralyse you, you should let it motivate you, hence the title 'Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway'.

      It's been a while since I read it now, but I definitely feel that it hs had a huge impact on the way I react to fear. For example, I used to let it completely overcome me, but now, I keep calm and push myself out of my comfort zone using fear as motivation. It really is a very inspiring book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is tired of letting fear control them. Give it a go!

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      20.02.2010 17:30
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      A book to help you overcome any problem

      I was, of course, skeptical about reading this book, as I would assume most people would be, it doesn't stand out from any other self help book on the shelf. Tere are many different from covers as the book has been released again and again as it been around for ages and done very well.

      I read this book a couples of years back but I remember it very well and I think it will stick with me for a while. There is not a particular situation you can apply it to, it could be public speaking (or I used it for agoraphobia) so being able to assist in such a varied collection of problems it actually does very well. This is because it emphasizes the message that it is ok to be afraid.

      As counselors and other methods will inform anyone trying to overcome something really stubborn, they will be told to go step but step and relax etc but this book is very uncomplicated and all very relevant.

      One chapter divides your life into 9 boxes and helps you spread out your life (so your not putting all your focus on a husband or a job) and then if one aspect does not go your way, your not completely in the s**t as you can go just focus your attention elsewhere.

      It uses and explains psychological methods such as the fight or flight method and explains the power of the subconscious mind.

      The most important aspect which this book focuses on is accepting your fear and doing whatever it is anyway. So, to look around, know that your not the only one afraid and get on with and accept the fear instead of fighting it or running away.


      This book is very empowering and inspirational. It shows you that you, yourself have the power to help yourself and assists you journey.

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      19.04.2009 14:44
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      A great book can be life changing!

      There are stacks of self help books and when you glance along the book shelves in a book store it can be quite daunting. This book stood out to me as it has been a best seller, although it doesn't guarantee it is a good book! It has also been one of the most long standing books and has been going for nearly 20 years.

      Susan Jeffers is a trained psychologist and is very open and honest about her experiences with her feelings of fear. This book is too encourage the reader to live their lives to the full and to best of their potential.

      Fear can hold us back in trying new things. I liked this book, I did feel it was very full on I would have to read it a few times to get the full benefit of all of the exercises in this book. I did feel that this book had helped me from the first chapter and I must admit I did not do all of the exercises as I felt I didn't need them.

      I would definately read this book again and maybe read once or twice a year to get the full benefit. I found this book easy to read through and within a week I had finished.

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      19.12.2008 01:36
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      Heartfelt and challenging - but I am not fully sold on its message

      Nowadays hyperbole is everywhere, so we are inoculated against grand claims that a book is "life changing". Yet thousands of people appear to credit this book for genuinely changing their lives. "Feel the Fear" succeeds because it has its roots in both the author's bitter experience and her professional psychological training. Indeed, this book contains some great raw material that can help improve the quality of people's lives. However, this book is potential dynamite, so I will be handling with care.

      Fear is natural. In some cases, fear is a logical response. Without the fear reflex, we would have short life expectancies indeed. The kind of fear that keeps us from walking in front of fast moving cars is clearly a good thing. In other cases, such as fear of public speaking or being more assertive in our social relationships, fear is a purely social construct, a learned response, an excuse. It is this latter category of fear that Jeffers helps demolish.

      This lesson cost £6.99 to discover, in my case as a bookstore impulse buy at a pivotal time in my life, but I would recommend you acquire this book on Amazon for as little as £4.99. Its central message is that the root cause of fear is simply a lack of confidence that you could handle the events that would proceed from a decision. In other words, if you did X, and the worst case scenario happened, could you cope? Jeffers argues that the way to beat fear is to develop an inner self-belief in your capacity to handle whatever life throws at you.

      Jeffers' fundamental message is that in the long run living in a constricted, crushed comfort zone is a worse outcome that intelligently embracing the right kind of risk. In her words, "Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness".

      A compelling argument, but I would describe myself as only partially convinced. I wished there was more guidance on what kind and level of risks were acceptable. I can only surmise this depends on context, values and results. Quitting one's job to start a business could mean exhilaration, freedom and fortune to one person, or exhilaration, freedom and personal ruin to another. The fact that the risk-taker might have developed the mental resources to "handle" the second outcome hardly validates their choice. Outcomes do matter.

      That said, the book did have some powerful insights and it really makes you revisit your assumptions about what is possible, and strip away some of the more comfortable "softeners" we all use to justify our (in)actions. Here are some of Susan J's most lucid points:

      1. "I hope is a victim's phrase. I know has far more power"

      2. Take 100% responsibility for your own life.

      3. Avoid casting blame on external factors - the recession, the weather, the government, your partner, boss, friends, family, dog, upbringing, childhood, luck etc etc.

      4. The idea of diagrammatically mapping your choice points with - crucially - two "no lose" outcomes, both of which you can live with, is a good one.

      5. "The knowledge that you can handle anything that comes your way is the key to allowing yourself to take healthy, life-affirming risks"

      6. "Security is not having things; it's handling things"

      7. Create a life grid showing all aspects of your life. She defines these as work, family, contribution, relationship, hobby, alone time, personal growth, relationship, leisure and friends. In my view this is good as it encourages a "balanced scorecard" approach.

      8. "Your life is abundant, and you count" - Sweet, pithy and true. You feel sorry for readers who don't already believe this.

      9. Silence the inner "Chatterbox" or negative internal critical voice (if you have one)

      10. Focus on the spiritual side of your life.

      In summary, despite being an aficionado of personal development books, I am partially but not entirely convinced. I have nothing against the self-talk and positive affirmations she recommends, provided they do not result in over-exuberant or over-confident actions. Cold logical analysis rather than feelings should surely govern decisions. The main problem, in my view, is not that fear exists and needs to be overcome in some kind of existential struggle, but just that people are notoriously bad at assessing risk.

      In summary, this is a heartfelt, groundbreaking and fascinating book. Used correctly, it can have clear positive benefits. "Feel the fear and do it anyway" is a pithy, catchy slogan, but I personally will be applying it with care.

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        04.09.2008 12:22
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        This really can be a life changing book

        Susan Jeffers is a trained psychologist. She is honest in how this book came about and explains the low point in her life when she struggled to move forward and explained how she coped to get over this which led to the book "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" being written.

        To me this is more than a book it's a learning guide which should be referred back to time and again. I would recommend buying it rather than borrowing it from the library as it's around £5.00 and it's the type of book you might want to highlight passages from and certainly the type of book you will want\need to read more than once.

        The book itself has twelve chapters, which will educate you on how to grow and improve your life. There is a very common sense approach coming through the book but that just makes the ideas for branching out in your own life seem much reasonable.

        Excerpt from the Introduction

        "Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the world in a new way, we experience fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving ahead with our lives, The trick is to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY".

        The point is to increase your awareness of where and how fear has a hold of you, and it will provide the tools to overcome it. In most cases and I realize we are all different but once you have read this book and probably read it again you will find that you are less stressed and are much more likely to reach out and grasp opportunites because you know that no matter how things turn out - You'll handle it.

        Susan writes simply, her views and experiences are easy to relate to she gets you to think about what you want and how you are going to get it, but she always makes you think about how it could turn bad and gets you to work out a strategy if the worst comes to the worst. If you have your strategy in place for the worst case scenario then you may as well go for it and not have the worry about failing.

        Susan Jeffers does not claim to be able to cure agoraphobia\panic attacks\mental problems or to get you a top management job what she does claim is that she can set you on the road with small steps to being able to try to do anything you want.

        A lot of our problems in adulthood stem from the way we were brought up. If your mother waved you off every morning warning you to watch out for perverts, not to fall over, wash your hands or the germs will make you sick you are obviously more likely to grow up more afraid than someone who's mother waved them of at the door simply saying goodbye and cleaned up their bloody knees without mention of septicemia when you came home. These small habits effectively influence your later life.

        Some people have a tendency to always blame other "I'm unemployed, it's the governments fault", "I'm stuck in a rut, it's my husbands fault" but rarely look to see how they can fix things, always waiting for others to do the fixing. It's much easier to blame everyone else for your failings that to make the effort to make things better yourself.

        Susan describes three Levels of Fear

        The first level is an event that you fear - eg losing you job

        The second level - is what this could mean, I'll lose my house, my wife and kids will go, I'll have no respect, I'll end up on the streets living in a cardboard box.

        The third level - The fear that you won't be able to cope once this snowball effect kicks in. If you were confident that you could handle it and would make ends meet, eg work from home, temp, there is no point in being afraid of the first two. All fear therefore is a fear of not being able to cope when something happens.
        If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear? The answer is Nothing

        I believe this book for most people will help build confidence, raise self-awareness and build self-esteem. It changes how you see the present and future. You will still make lots of mistakes but with this book you will be able to accept these mistakes, learn from them and move on instead of wallowing in self pity for a long time.

        Reading the book without acting on the information within is like washing your feet with your socks on. You need to get in there, separate those toes, scrub hard if you want to get the results no glossing over the headings, read the content and act on it.

        You can choose to rise to the challenges that come your way and get through them intact or you can lie down and get walked all over. You need to switch off the nagging voice inside your head that says "I can't get that job" or "That fella wouldn't look twice at me".

        This book will not eliminate fear from your life but it will allow you to have more faith in your own capabilities to cope as Susan says - "If you can handle more then you can do more".
        She relates stories of people who have trapped themselves in a circle of fear and do not have the ability to climb out. Their lives do not move forward, they just continually stay in one place. Susan tells how she got them to fight back and reclaim their lives.

        Main lessons

        Positive thinking over negative thinking.
        Silence the nagging voice in your head
        Whatever the worst case scenario, imagine it and imagine how you could handle it.
        When making a decision all options are good - simply pick the best one

        There are exercises to compliment her teaching which are thought-provoking and should lead you to analyse your life and how you can improve it.

        A lot of self-help books seem to offer the same old stuff regurgitated in a new way I believe Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear is at the top of this genre and offer something a little different from most of the other titles.

        I have given this book to friends who are struggling after a painful experience, redundancy, divorce etc. It doesn't cost very much but hopefully it shows them that someone cares and that they'll learn to cope a little better with what they are going through.

        Even someone who poo poos the idea of self help books who reads this will take away an ability to be better able to deal with the type of situations which happen in everyday life.

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          06.05.2008 13:15
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          A book for life!!

          This exciting book, which I first came across 10 years ago is still a staple in my yearly reading!

          It's packed full of useful tools, and simple and effective activities to live a fear-less life. I've recommended this book to many of my friends, and all of them tell me about their 'Light-Bulb' moments, during and after reading this gem of a book.

          So many self-help books are avaibale today, and I must admit to reading quite a few of them, but Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway stands out from the crowd. I've made many changes in my life (for the positive) and can honestly say, that those decisions that lead to the changes would have been far more difficult if it wasn't for this book.

          I highly recommend it, and just know that you'll find yourself reffering to it's pages for a long time to come! A great read!!

          Andy Garland
          YOU...bethebestyoucan

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            06.05.2008 13:04

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            A book for life!!

            This exciting book, which I first came across 10 years ago is still a staple in my yearly reading!

            It's packed full of useful tools, and simple and effective activities to live a fear-less life. I've recommended this book to many of my friends, and all of them tell me about their 'Light-Bulb' moments, during and after reading this gem of a book.

            So many self-help books are avaibale today, and I must admit to reading quite a few of them, but Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway stands out from the crowd. I've made many changes in my life (for the positive) and can honestly say, that those decisions that lead to the changes would have been far more difficult if it wasn't for this book.

            I highly recommend it, and just know that you'll find yourself reffering to it's pages for a long time to come! A great read!!

            Andy Garland
            YOU...bethebestyoucan

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            13.12.2001 23:07
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            I work in Psychiatry and often recommend so called self help books to my patients. Susan Jeffers has written numerous books but in my opinion, this has to be one of her best. Firstly, I would recommend to you that you do not borrow a copy from a library or a friend. This never works as part of the importance of using these books is the ability to highlight passages that appeal to you, make comments on the margin and read it again and again. When you get the book, it is worth reading it from cover to cover, then going back to the beginning. The book in itself will not help you get the confidence and raised self awareness and self esteem you may crave, but it gives you some of the tools and tips to enable you to change the way you view the past and your interpretation of it and as a consequence, change the way you view the present and the future. It helps you interpret you reactions and actions in a different way. As the title suggests, it is not always pain free to change, but often it is the acknowledgment of how you feel that can give you the confidence to take a risk and change. It is true that often the fear is worth than the reality. The book is not expensive, less than six pounds and most good bookstores have it available or will order it for you. It is my opinion that it is well worth the money, but reading the book alone will not change how you feel, you have to think about what the book means to you and act on the advice and tips given.

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              07.10.2001 05:56
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              I found this book to be very informative as a 'self help' book, it is always good to have the opportunity to do the exercises, although I must say that I felt rather silly constantly repeating the affirmations almost to the point of convincing myself that I did have a problem which isn't really the idea of the book. To enable this book to be productive you really need to set some time to sit down and concentrate on it, I did find the book helpful but extremely hard going I certainly wouldn't read it for fun but then I guess that if that was the case you wouldn't be reading it. I have read other books by Susan Jeffers and have found them very helpful but I did need to push myself to read it and didn't complete the affirmation which it would appear relates to the majority of the book, in fact I am still in the process of reading the book and to be perfectly honest I don't think I will finish it. A disappointing book by a usually very good author...

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                06.06.2001 08:05
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                We all hear. Told to think positively. Its easier said than done though aint it? And then I read this book. Wow. It brings an whole new perspective to life and how to go about it. The tone is very good. It has that traditional self help book stylee but it is mixed up with personal stories by the author and she doesnt patronise you by thinking you should take what she says without questions. She argues her point and uses a very personal tone on many occasions. It has already been a best selling book that has sold millions of copies over the world and I'm not surprised It is very inspiring and full of simple exercises that can be practically used. It dispells many myths that are carried around and gives a much more realistic expectation on what you can do. For instance I always had the impression that acting positively involved trying to think positive thoughts all the time. Very difficult. But no thanks to this book I have found that one way is simply to repeat positive statements to yourself. Out-talk your negative "chatterbox" as she puts it. That might or might not make much sense if you dont read the book but it is veeeeryy useful. It is written by Susan Jeffers who has a doctorate in psychology and has written many other self help books. She has won many awards for her work in helping the poor and much of her advice that she tells in her book comes from her own experiences, and it has tranformed her own life. The book dismisses the many myths that people have about life that keep them down, such as lack of time. The book is over 200 pages long but it is split up into very managable bits. It is very easy going to read. It doesnt confuse you with complicated jargon. Im sure everyone who reads this will find it connecting with them in some way, whether it be over their job or about a relationship.

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                  29.08.2000 22:07

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                  This book had a big impact on my life and I recommend it to anyone who will listen. Are you feeling like a victim? Finding it difficult to make decisions? Lacking confidence in your choices in life? Susan Jeffers has written a fabulous book that is easy to read, inspiring and full of simple exercises that you can practically use in your life. You will be taken through all of the possible fears in your life and discover situations where you may have been feeling STUCK for some time. She will guide you through your fears and dispel the myths that make you feel that way. If you need a little encouragement in your life or a good kick up the #%^@, please, please read this book!!!

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