The first time I read about The Fear Project was in this tweet. Which was more than enough reason for me to check the book out.
For those of you who don’t know . Mark Mathews is one of the best known big wave surfers around. But surfing big didn’t come natural to him. As a child he was scared of big waves. Dealing with fear has been an important part of the challenges he has faced in life. Mark and Richie ‘Vaz’ Vaculik actually made a movie about it, called Fighting Fear. And it is a definite must see!
Jaimal Yogis’ book couldn’t relate closer to Mark mathews’ story if it was intentional. Whereas Mark had to prepare himself to surf Shipstern’s Bluff again, Jaimal was getting ready to surf Mavericks for the first time. But the Fear Project relates just as much to the more common lifestyle.
We may not all cope with the fear of riding giant waves, but we all fear things such as social discomfort, not being able to realize our dreams, being trapped in the wrong jobs. Basically we all fear and we all need methods to make us cope with those fears.
The book takes us along Jaimal’s quest for answers to how fear works. In the progress he talks to neuroscientists, psychologists, meditation teachers and sports athletes. The mix of personal experiences, relevant testimonials of several elite athletes and scientific research works well, and never becomes hard to read. Particularly the way Jaimal tries to adapt the knowledge he gathers to his personal life makes the book so life-like. It’s all baby steps, and none of it really comes easily either. It’s no Rocky Balboa story, which makes it that more tangible. There’s no 2D superhero here. It’s a person of flesh and blood to whom we can all relate. He even manages to balance the insights of scienctific research with a more holistic approach to mental and physical health. So it doesn’t really matter what your interests are. The book offers a broad view and delivers strong insights that may help you better understand your fears and find better ways to cope with them.
The Fear Project by Jaimal Yogis
published by Rodale
ISBN 978-1-60961-175-0 (hardcover)