Reads to Rewrite Your Life 1: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers is such a classic that people think they know what it’s all about without reading the book. They assume that its catchy title tells them everything they need to know. That’s a shame, because Feel the Fear is both motivating and practical.

The first time I read Feel the Fear, it was a revelation: it told me that everyone feels fear! At the time, I assumed my anxiety was proof of being a freak. Everyone else seemed to glide effortlessly through life while I got intimidated by the simplest tasks. It was helpful to read that I was not alone; that everyone feels fear when they are outside their comfort zone.

It doesn’t matter how small (or big) your comfort zone is: you can follow the advice in Feel the Fear to expand your life. I have been diagnosed with anxiety, so I’m a relatively extreme case, and found the book indispensable. I first borrowed it from the library and knew straight away that I would buy my own copy. I have also highlighted my copy, for quick reference when I need a boost. When my anxiety was at its worst, I also made flashcards to carry with me.

 

Feel the Fear is centred on 5 truths:

  1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out… and do it.
  3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.
  4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
  5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

 

These truths are explored in detail and it is vital to understand their importance. Fear is not a weakness and neither is it insurmountable. Jeffers also discusses a lot of related topics, such as how to make a no-lose decision and moving from a position of pain to a position of power. The tone does come across as a bit “new age-y” in places, but not as much as the book’s reputation would suggest. A problem faced by every self-help book is how to use a vocabulary to talk about our innermost feelings without the words having undesirable connotations, which is a difficult task and Jeffers succeeds for the most part.

I recommend Feel the Fear to anyone whose anxieties have ever prevented them from living life the way they want. The advice applies whether you are struggling to leave the house (a frequent issue for me) or if you want to push yourself to deliver a speech to a large audience. Without this book, I would not have gone to university, I would not have learnt to drive and I sure as hell wouldn’t be writing this blog.

 

About the Reads to Rewrite Your Life series

This series discusses books which have helped to change my perspective on life. Many will be self-help guides, some will be classics and others will be a little different… I aim to provide an eclectic mix to inspire everyone, regardless of whether or not you have mental health issues.

  1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
  2. Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking – Susan Cain
  3. The How of Happiness – Sonja Lyubomirsky
  4. The Art of Non Conformity – Chris Guillebeau
  5. Wherever You Go, There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  6. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  7. Undoing Depression – Richard O’Connor