Interview with Steve Bivans, Author of The End of Fear Itself


#1

I met @Steve_Bivans on this app you might have heard me talk about called Anchor. He is the first friend I’ve had who has made JRR Tolkien an official part of his own personal branding.

While in the past this may have made me raise my eyebrows, what I’ve learned in the past two years is making any assumptions about who you’ll be friends with or learn from is…

@Steve_Bivans has a lot of wisdom to share and he is about to launch his second book, THE END OF FEAR.

I’m going to be asking him questions here about it. Let’s go. I’m not scared.


#2

First question: @Steve_Bivans why did you decide to write this as a book instead of a series of articles?


#3

Hi Meredith,

First, I want to say thank you for having me. Love this site, though I don’t get over here often enough.


#4

To the first question, I had been looking for my second book for months. I had lots of ideas, but stumbled upon Fear during a discussion with our friend, Justin Finkelstein, on Anchor, back in March. It was a topic that I touched on in Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth, but I think deserves a lot more attention.

Articles are okay, but the topic is massive, so I thought it would be best served as a book. It’s funny though, because much of the book has appeared as blog articles on my site during the last 9 months, which made it difficult to put together, in the end, but helped to gain attention.

I myself suffer from overthinking, as we’ve discussed, which comes with headaches, neck tension, lack of sleep, all that great stuff. I attribute most of mine to a fear, what I call the Fear of Chaos, and a Fear of Missing Out.


#5

I’m so glad you are here now! You know you are really hitting my core set of interests when you start talking about physical manifestations of stress and overthinking :slight_smile:

Next question:

Did you do a lot of research for the book? How many faces of fear are there? How did you figure out your core fears?


#6

Good questions.

As to the research: yes and no? As an ex-academic, I’m used to buttloads of research just to write a 20 page paper. In comparison with that, the research for this book, in terms of numbers of sources, was low. In terms of years of dealing with my own Fears, and those of others, studying military history (war), I’ve spent decades on it.

Faces of Fear? Infinite, is the easy answer. I didn’t try to enumerate them all. That would take a thousand years, and replicate what clinical psychologists have been doing for 100 years. My goal was to un-explain Fear, to take it from the complex to the simple, if possible. I think I’ve accomplished it.

In the book, I use a metaphor of the Tree of Fear.
At the top are the Fruits: all of our daily, projected, or imagined Fears (failure, chaos, loss, stage fright, you name it). To group those into smaller categories, I used Brendon Burchard’s three: the Fears of the Pain of Loss, Pain of Process, and Pain of Outcome. All of our modern, daily Fears fall into one of those three. They are the Branches of the Tree, if you will.

Below that is the Trunk of the Tree: what I call the Known Fears.
Known Fears can be from any category, but we are at least vaguely aware of them, if we think about it for a few minutes. They usually stem from some past negative experience that we remember.

Under the surface, are the Roots of the Tree: what I call Unknown Fears. They are subconscious. We don’t really remember them anymore. They are still there, however, and since they’re subconscious, wield a crapload of power over us.

As to how I figured them out, the Branches are from coach Brendon Burchard, which he talks about in a video I saw on YouTube. I also mention the categories put forward by Napoleon Hill, almost a hundred years ago, in his Think and Grow Rich, book. Both of them left out the Known and Unknown, for some reason. I reasoned those out.

There is a Seed of the Tree, but you’re gonna have to read the book for that one :slight_smile:

I should mention, that the book goes live on Amazon, on Dec 11th. And it will be FREE for the first 2 days!


#7

Here’s the provisional cover for the book. Just so you’ll have one.


#8

This is super helpful @Steve_Bivans, thanks for all of this information about fear! Who is Brendon Burchard? He sounds important to this project, but I’ve never heard of him before? I also love any reference to someone from a hundred years ago. Who is this Napoleon Hill figure?


#9

Another question for you: why do you capitalize the word “fear”? Remember, this is an AMA, hahhaha. An Ask You Anything!


#10

lol.

Sure. Brendon Burchard is one of the biggest personal development coaches. He works with Fortune 500 companies and individuals from around the world. Check him out on YouTube. He has lots of helpful videos and some of them deal with Fear.

Napoleon Hill wrote one of the most famous books on success, Think and Grow Rich. He was one of the first to talk about the Law of Attraction. He’s still widely read. I didn’t know about him until earlier this year, when I ran across him as a suggestion from Amazon, believe it or not, after reading Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ Also a very famous book, and one I would recommend to everyone on the planet. That book is a hundred years old.

I started capitalizing Fear when I began writing articles that would eventually become the book, mainly to draw attention to it, because I argue, it’s the most important topic on Earth.

The thesis of the book, if put in a nutshell, is “There is only ONE human-driven problem on Earth: Fear Itself, it is human created, and it can be overcome.”


#11

I was thinking that Dale Carnegie might come up when you mentioned a 100 year old famous motivational book…

Next question: Do you think that some people are more likely to be able to tackle fear than others? I’ve been told before that I shouldn’t expect others to have my capacity to confront issues like anxiety, etc, because I have a different set of skills, past, experience, than they do. This is a common refrain in my house actually. “Meredith, not everyone can confront things the way you can!”

Do you buy this about the topic of fear? Do you buy that thinking in general?


#12

No, I don’t buy it.

I do buy that everyone has developed different skills, in many different things. But our minds work the same when it comes to Fear. That being said, will it be more difficult for some people to tackle their Fears than others? Hell yeah. Some people have more Fears than others, and some Fears are more severe than others. Everyone is different, but Fear isn’t. It works the same way, i think, everywhere. I’ve seen no evidence that it doesn’t, anyway.

What seems to be the problem, is that we focus on all of the Fruits of the Tree of Fear, the plethora of problems and Fears, instead of digging down to figure out what props them all up, the Roots, and going at THOSE, instead of wasting time trying to cope with every little Fear that pops up. That’s exhausting, and why most of us have never had much success in ridding our minds of Fear, in general.


#13

I definitely agree with you. I think the big point of difference is how much do people actually want to rid themselves of fear? How do you deal with people who don’t seem to care about how fearful they are? They just don’t perceive it as a problem? What do you do then?


#14

Easy answer? Nothing, lol.

Can’t make a horse drink the water.

I deal with that question in the book. The only thing we can EVER control, is our own actions and thoughts. We can certainly lead by example, help out those who ask for it, but we can’t beat it into those who don’t care.

I quote Gandhi, since he could say it better than I…
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

To those who are on the fence, there is some hope. That I handle with a series of questions, basically, “Is there something that you want to do, need to do, that would potentially make your life better, or happier, or more successful, that you AREN’T currently doing?” And then, “Why Not?” The answer is always Fear based. Always.


#15

Hi Meredith!!
As a casual observer of this conversation, but a silent contributor to Steve’s quest to write this book and as the Coach who helped him realize there was no one more qualified to write this book than him, I would suggest to your readers that Marisa Peer can help them get in touch with the answer to this question… And maybe, just maybe, Steve will offer his perspective about what he learned from her…
Oh, and if anyone is wondering if this book is worth reading, I can tell you I have literally read hundreds of personal development, self-help, and psychology books, and this is by far one of the best books I have ever read!
I am the quintessential self-made person who started down the path of personal development when my Mother, who I never knew growing up, sent me to a Jim Rohn seminar in 1991 after we were re-united… I have literally been studying Personal Development and human potential for the last 25 years. In that time, I have overcome many fears. This book of Steve’s truly has the potential to end FEAR Itself!!!
Bobby-


#16

Hi @bobby_kountz ! Great to see you :smile:

Would love to hear more about this Marisa Peer perspective that helps answer this difficult question. It’s a puzzler for sure.

And thank you for sharing your perspective and experience with this type of book, and why you think @Steve_Bivans’s is different and powerful.

You are a wonderful lighthouse, friend,

Meredith


#17

Thanks @bobby_kountz !

Yes, Marisa Peer is a super-star therapist from Britain, who Bobby turned me on to a couple months ago, just as I was hitting a wall on the book. It wasn’t organized the right way, and was missing something. When I saw her video, which I’ll post at the end, I was floored.

She had the missing piece to my puzzle. I should say, rather, that she caused me to realize that I HAD the missing piece all along: the Fear of Inadequacy! 'I’m not good enough, smart enough, something enough…" It is my opinion, that this one Fear is the Seed of the entire Tree of Fear.

Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3NyUMLh7Y


#18

Marisa Peer asks a powerful question. She asks if we are collaborating with our most powerful ally? And, if not, then why not? If we aren’t collaborating with our own mind we need to change our thinking, but how? She suggests that we need to make the unfamiliar familiar and the familiar unfamiliar… We basically need to change the relationship we have with ourselves at a subconscious level and we must choose very carefully the words we use and the pictures we create in our minds. The TED video explains the process extremely well!! Enjoy!


#19

Yes! Thanks @bobby_kountz!

I love this video, and the whole lanquage thing is a big one. One of the key methods to End Fear Itself, is to write down the toxic story we tell ourselves every day, then REWRITE IT!

All of us tell stories, all day long, to ourselves, to others, and most of the time those stories are very negative. We have to rewrite them if we are ever to rid ourselves of the power of Fear.


#20

This is so great!

  1. The mind doesn’t like what is unfamiliar. You gotta make the unfamiliar familiar.
  2. Many people believe they aren’t enough. How you deal with this problem: say to yourself over and over: I am enough. ( I love what what she says about therapists not really dealing with the problem itself).
  3. You mind does what you tell it to do. Communicate with your brain intentionally and tell it what you want to do (“I’m excited to be working all night because I want to build my own business.”)

I love that she said, “I didn’t learn any of this from a book. I learned it from people.”