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Book Summary – Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: The Phenomenal Classic That Has Changed The Lives Of Millions

Feel the Fear and do it anyway - Book summary

All of us experience fear. Some people are crippled by it while others thrive in spite of it. This book by Susan Jeffers help you to understand fear, and provides practical techniques and tools to conquer your fear and live life fully. In this free Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway summary, you’ll learn where your fears come from, 5 facts about fear, and how you can overcome fear.

Jeffers believes that fear is not a psychological problem but an educational one.  Many of us treat fear as an obstacle that stops us from moving forward. The truth is, fear surfaces whenever we take a risk or try something new—the issue is not with fear per se, but how we handle that fear.

Understanding Fear

In order to conquer your fear, you must understand it. Jeffers helps us to make sense of our fear by breaking it down into the 3 levels of fear, and the 5 facts about fear. In a nutshell:

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway summary_understand fear


Level 1 Fears

These are “surface stories” that you tell yourself about what will happen (e.g. aging, being alone) or things you must do (e.g. making a career switch, making a speech). Often, the fear of 1 thing can spill over into other areas (e.g. a fear of meeting new people can induce fear of crowds, parties, public speaking etc.)

Level 2 Fears

These involve your inner states of mind rather than external factors. These are generalized fears that cut across many areas of life—such as the fear of rejection, failure, success—to reflect your sense of self and abilities.

Level 3 Fears

Beneath every fear is the level 3 fear or ultimate fear that you won’t be able to handle something, i.e. all fears are fundamentally due to a lack of confidence. Use the tools and ideas in this book to build the confidence that you can handle anything in your life. When you can shift your dominant thoughts from “I can’t handle it” to “I will handle it”, you’ll fear virtually nothing.


When you can accept your fear and act in spite of it, you’ll naturally overcome it. Jeffers breaks this down further into 5 truths about fear:

Truth #1

So long as you’re growing and trying something new, you will feel fear. Hence, there’s no point in trying to avoid your fears.

Truth #2

Many people are trapped by when-then excuses, i.e. “when this happens, then I’ll do that”. The only way to remove a fear is to do keep doing what you fear to do. When you face the unknown and handle it, you’ll learn to do it better each time and gradually lose your fear of it.

Truth #3

It’s less scary to push through a fear than to constantly feel crippled and worried about the “what-ifs”. Each time you confront a fear, you remove some of the uncertainty. The more you do so, the more you realize that you can handle anything that life throws at you, and become more liberated and confident to live life fully.

Truth #4

When you confront your fear and do it anyway, not only do you overcome the fear, you also feel good about yourself. Mastering something you previously feared can be deeply satisfying and fulfilling.

Truth #5

Everyone has their fears; they just don’t usually talk about it. In short, you’re not alone.

Overcoming your Fears

How can you move from “I can’t handle it” to “I will handle it”, so you can move ahead in spite of your fears? The idea is to re-educate yourself about fear, then use one or more of the tools provided to move ahead whenever you feel afraid. We’ve organized these tips into 6 broad areas in our full 14-page book summary. Here’s a very brief overview:Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway summary_overcome fear

Moving from Pain to Power

Learn to move from a position of pain (helplessness, depression, paralysis) to one of power (choice, energy, action), so your fear no longer holds you hostage. In the full book summary, you can learn more about how to use the “Pain-to-Power Chart”, switch from Pain-to-Power Vocabulary, expand your comfort zone and put these into a daily program.

Taking Responsibility

Learn to recognize and exercise the choices and power that you actually have. In the complete version of the free Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway summary, we’ll dive deeper into 7 ways to regain control, with exercises to become aware when you fall into a victim mindset, so you can regain control and power.

Practicing Positive Thinking

Manage your frame of mind, which determines how you feel and act, and shapes your reality and outcomes. Jeffers shares various tips to reinforce positivity and counter the negatives around you.

Handling Changes to Your Relationships

As you grow, your close friends and family members may feel uncomfortable and start reacting negatively. In our full 14-page summary, you can learn more about how to handle such relationship challenges as you cope with your own fears.

Making “No-Lose Decisions”

Most of us are afraid of making the “wrong” decisions; we spend loads of time trying to figure out if each option is right or wrong, then revisit our decisions over and over again. Jeffers explains how you can make “no-lose decisions” to leverage opportunities no matter which path you take.

Living a Whole Life

It’s common for people to devote their entire lives to someone or something (e.g. their spouse, kids, or work), and feel devastated when they lose what they consider to be the centre of their lives. Get more details in our full summary on how live a fulfilling life with less fear, choose love and trust, and say “yes” to what’s placed in your path.

Getting the Most from Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

If you’re ready to start confronting your fears and transforming your life, do check out our full book summary bundle. This includes an infographic, 14-page text summary, and a 24-minute audio summary.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway summary - book summary bundle

The book includes many examples and stories of people who have pushed past their fear, as well as life scenarios to help us reflect on the concepts being presented. Jeffers also shares a simplified “Model of Being” to explain how we can use the tools and positive signals in this book to overcome negativity and connect with our Higher Self. You can purchase the book here, or get more resources (including stories and affirmations) at

About the Author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: The Phenomenal Classic That Has Changed The Lives Of Millions is written by Susan Jeffers–an American psychologist, author, educator and motivational speaker. She held a doctorate in psychology at Hunter College and at Columbia University. In 1971 Susan Jeffers became executive director of the Floating Hospital in New York. The first edition of this book was first published in 1987, and Jeffers went on to write many other books. She also taught and spoke widely in courses, workshops and seminars, focusing on overcoming fear, healing relationships and moving forward in life. Jeffers died from cancer of unknown primary origin in 2012.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway Quotes

“At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.”

“We can’t escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures; it is not an anchor holding us transfixed in one spot.”

“Until you full understand that you, and no one else, create what goes on in your head, you will never be in control of your life.

“There is no need to wait for anyone to give you anything in your life. You have the power to create what you need.”

“Nothing is realistic or unrealistic—there is only what we think about any given situation. We create our reality.”

“There was no right or wrong decisions, just different ones.”

“It is through confusion that you finally come to clarity.”

Click here to download Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway book summary and infographic

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