(photo: Ks of W)

Learn the difference between fiction and reality; what will actually harm you and what you perceive will harm you in some unspecified manner. Be sure you are always dealing with reality and that your fears are truly reality based

In the Martial Arts you learn Self-Defense to handle physical challenges in life. This book is for dealing with the mental challenges in life and most importantly, for dealing with our worst enemy: FEAR.

Fear is the most universal reason we do not achieve our full potential. Fear is at the top our list when it comes to the most common of all mental challenges.

My goal, and the purpose for this series of books, is to teach you how to get ahead, not without fear, but in spite of fear.

These lessons will help you succeed and find ways to keep fear from holding you back.

Fear has a legitimate purpose – reality based fear (a knife wielding mugger, for example, or a slobbering tiger, coming after us) causes us to beat feet and therefore survive. It is illegitimate or unreasoning fear (I can’t speak to that group; they will eat me alive.) that we must work and develop strategies to overcome.

We all have those sudden feelings that give us an almost uncontrollable fear of moving forward. It may be fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of humiliation, or fear of the consequences of dealing with success. Yes, some people are actually afraid of success and the pressure that often comes with it.

What is fear? For many, the following list helps to sum it up:

FEAR BREEDERS (negative self-image):



















Do you suffer from any of the above? By becoming aware of what Fear is and the limitations it has, we can better learn to deal with it and prepare ourselves for future events.

With the above list in mind, let’s look at what the opposites of fear might be:

FEAR KILLERS (positive self-image):














Of the two lists, which one do you experience more of on a regular basis? When contemplating the idea of speaking to a large audience, what word would you use to describe how you might feel? Would it be from the Fear Killer list or the Fear Breeder list?

President Roosevelt was right: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Our goal in combating fear is to replace as many as possible of the negative feelings we get with ones that are positive. Although we can often summon up the courage to deal with an in-the-moment situation, our goal is to develop a stable supply of the positive feelings so that we are automatically capable when the time comes to act.

F.E.A.R can be broken into the following two opposing acronyms:

Forget Everything And Run

False Evidence Appearing Real

The first is fear with a realistic foundation. You come upon a huge bear in the woods; the only sensible thing to do is run.

The second is a fear with an unrealistic foundation. You have been offered a promotion at work but you’re hesitating to accept it for fear that you won’t meet expectations.

So let’s try to see fear in one of two ways:

  1. Physical – Fear designed to keep you alive in that moment.
  2. Mental – Fear designed to kill your self-image in that moment.

For many, one of these is what starts to breed fear. If you see a lion at the zoo, you have very little fear because he’s caged, and you might simply ask:

I wonder what they are feeding him.”

But if you are in Africa taking photographs of giraffes and a lion steps into view, you might ask:

I wonder if he wants to eat me.”

This question spawns a realistic fear and you most certainly should respect the fact that this lion may be considering you for dinner.

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

But an audience of 3,000 isn’t going to eat you, is it? Yet we can still feel as if we are going to be chewed alive when we contemplate an upcoming public speaking event. Fear is useful in an event where we might become cat food. You would be experiencing a perfectly normal feeling; there isn’t anything wrong with you. That fear can keep you alive and it is more than okay to Forget Everything And Run.

However, if you think about the fact that an audience will do us no physical harm and yet we experience the same level of fear, then you need to realize it is only: False Evidence Appearing Real.

There are so many challenges that we already have to deal with on a weekly basis that we just don’t have time to procrastinate our achievements because of some non-existent issue. So we shouldn’t be paralyzed by the fear of speaking. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Regardless of the fact that the audience is not full of hungry lions, you can still act, feel, and fear them in a similar manner. And if you feel that way, it’s real to you, which is what I call the “Reality of Fiction.” It may be false (fiction), but you believe it. In your mind, it is reality.

When you don’t feel you are good enough, you begin to suffer a version of trying to be a perfectionist when it comes time to perform. Many of us experience that feeling of being judged and we ask self-doubt questions such as:

Will they like me?”

What if I forget my speech?”

What if I trip and fall flat on my face?”

This is where that seed gets planted. Just as if you needed to jump from one building to another and you ask:

Will I make it?”

Will I become a sidewalk stain?”

These questions breed doubt and Shakespeare said it best with this quote:

“Our doubts are traitors of thought and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

– William Shakespeare

When we doubt, we trigger images of this doubt which in turn gives us the feeling of its existence in reality. Even though it is false, we experience the feeling as if it were real (reality of fiction). Being extremely shy and dealing with issues from childhood, I have had to search for ways to deal with my fears. After overcoming extreme shyness and accomplishing many of my life goals, I look back and remember a time when I would have never considered speaking in front of a group as a career. But after thinking about it, I realized that a good martial arts instructor, really is a public speaker. In every class, I am speaking to a small group of 10-20 students on any given night. By the end of a week I would have spoken before others a total of at least 20 hours. So a transition to speaking makes more sense when I look at it from that perspective, or the perspective of experience in speaking as opposed to simply a new career and or a different type of audience.

One of the problems that plagued me most of my life was the feeling of not being good enough. This, along with many other challenges, was rarely (if ever) revealed to the public. This feeling would hinder my abilities and limit my potential by keeping me chained in the closet. Instead of sharing and showing my talents and sharing my personality, I would limit my potential by locking myself away in an environment free from judgment. Prior to speaking at an event, self-doubt would appear and I might have the following thoughts:

I don’t know if I am prepared for this.”

The environment isn’t what I expected.”

I don’t know any of these people.”

I hope they like me.”

All of these self-doubt-oriented-statements would breed a feeling of anxiety and discomfort which in turn would lead to the following questions:

Can I wait until I am more prepared?”

Can I postpone the event to next week?”

What excuse is good enough to get out of this?”

What can I hold on to while I have my anxiety attack?”

Still, you can only hide for so long, and when you have a non-stop passion for helping others (or for becoming a black belt in what you do), you have to get out – or stand up – and face the people.

One thing I have learned is that it is never as bad as you think it’s going to be, and it’s often much better; more fun. Audiences are there, not to frighten you or judge you, but to hear what you have to say; to learn from you or be entertained by you. They are unfailingly open and receptive, and tend to be much more generous than you might imagine in your worst fearful moments. I have never heard of or read about an audience eating a speaker alive, so . . .

Take a deep breath, smile, and picture yourself taking a big bow to huge applause. It will happen, this time or the next, but it will happen.

Winjitsu Work Out

Public speaking at some point, whether before 5 people or 500, is going to play a role in your success. If public speaking is a fearful experience for you, schedule an event today. This might be a presentation before your Rotary Club, or a sales presentation to that company you’ve been trying to land; it may even be a talk before your Sunday School class. Anything counts. If you survive (and you will), this will give you tremendous confidence in yourself.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

Scroll Up