How To Look Fear In The Face – A Case Study

polls_HHN072_0649_769174_answer_2_xlargeRecently, I finished Robert Greene’s, The 50th Law, which was a follow-up to his book, 48 Laws Of Power. The book was about rapper (and now business mogul) 50 Cent and how he attributed all of his success to overcoming fear at a very young age.

Last week, I was in yet another conversation about the idea of overcoming fear with Big John, who is my (& Gary’s) business partner in our newest venture.

One of the greatest characteristics I admire most about Big John is that he is fearless. Not fearless in the bravado way you may think, but fearless in a very rational, intellectual, and strategic level that I will talk about in a moment.

Fear’s Strangle Hold 

I am a firm believer that learning how to overcome fear is the key to living a successful life (both professionally and personally). Fear subconsciously kicks our asses in so many ways that we are not aware of. It is the reason why we stay stuck on stupid so to speak…

Fear is is why we procrastinate.

Fear is why we don’t ask for help.

Fear is why we don’t ask the pretty girl out to the prom.

Fear is why when we do ask the girl to the prom and she says no, we don’t ask anyone else

Fear is why we don’t knock on the doors of potential customers to buy what we are selling.

Fear is why we go home after the customer who we  finally do ask says no… as opposed to knocking on the next door and trying again.

Fear is why we don’t go to the gym because we are afraid people will judge us.

Fear is why we stay at jobs we hate.

Fear is why we stay within our comfort zone.

Fear is why we accept complacency over eagerness to be better no matter how far we have gone.

Fear. Fear. Fear.

Big John… And The Man With The Gun

Big John’s route to overcoming fear has a lot to do with his extensive training in martial arts and Eastern discipline. He studied with a grand master who taught him that fear serves no purpose.  Naturally, I challenged him as certainly he would be fearful in extreme circumstances. He said he wouldn’t. He re-assurred me that fear is fear and has no purpose no matter what the circumstance.

“OK, Big John,” I paused…then I asked him, “Would you be in fear if someone held a gun to your head? “ His answer I did not expect.

He replied, “Would I be in fear if someone held a gun to my head or do you mean when someone held a gun to my head?”

As it turns out, Big John was no stranger to a gun being held to his head…

I’m not going to go into all of the details of the story but what you need to know is that he had no fear. To him, if he had been in fear it would not only serve no purpose but may have hindered his judgment.

John gave the man his money and his watch and then told the man, “OK, we’re done”… The man told him “What do you mean you’re done? You’re done when I say you’re done”…

John explained to him, “you have my money and my watch, we’re done.” John then turned around and with his back to the man, walked away and headed toward the entrance of his home.

I asked John if he was afraid that the man would shoot him. His answer was that it was not his decision. Either the man would shoot him or he wouldn’t so it would pointless to worry about it. He had already accepted the decision either way.

As you can probably guess, the man didn’t shoot John but very sadly, the man shot and killed another innocent person a few hours later as John was doing a ride along with the police trying to find him after the incident.

{Here is a pic of Big John and I about a month ago}

Big John MJ

Looking Deeper Into Fear

The principles of why Big John was not afraid gets deeper…

When John competed in martial arts tournaments, his grandmaster used to train him to accept death before he got into competition.

He explained to me that the trick is that you have to already have died before the fight.

He explained that when you have already died your opponent can’t do anything to you that you haven’t been through already. It’s only then when you can fight without fear.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs .

Just Scratching The Surface

John and I talk quite a bit about fear and how to overcome it. I have had about a million talks with Gary about fear as well. He was the one who turned me on to the 50th Law.

I will talk about Gary’s take on fear in the next post. I will, however give you a hint…

What is the opposite of fear? If you know the answer you will have an idea of what the post is about.

Have a great day!




“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

Daymond John
Co-host of ABC's, 'Shark Tank'

Hustle Branding Featured In:

Hustle Branding in Fortune Magazine
Hustle Branding on Fox News
Hustle Branding in Sales Force
Hustle Branding in Forbes
See All Media

4 thoughts on “How To Look Fear In The Face – A Case Study

  1. MJ,


    Wow….Big John has mastered fear. I am not in that space but am improving, day by day, to embrace fear.

    I do not mind experiencing fear; I am learning to face, embrace and release it quickly, so it does not influence me to make fear-filled decisions.

    Thanks for sharing MJ!

    1. Thanks Ryan,

      Yeah, pretty crazy story. Like you I try to improve day by day. Before you know it, those improvements add up. Quite often, we just don’t realize it until after we have consistently put in the work. We wake up and realize, “wow, I actually did all this?” … I try to practice delayed gratification knowing that as long as I stick to something the results will pay off in the long run.

      Thanks Again my man.

      Best- MJ

  2. MJ, didn’t know that my experience with fear had such an impact on you. But I must make it clear that all fear has one father and that’s the fear of death. Death is certain and defined in each and everyone’s life; and as I’ve been taught fearing it is a mindless exercise in futility. Whether you go to the doctor and are diagnosed with a degenerative disease that will take your life in 20 years or you are given a clean bill of health and you fall down an elevator shaft leaving the doctor’s office its all the same. Embrace the notion of its inevitability and free yourself!

    1. Thanks Big John! Ahhh yet another lesson and another topic to discuss until the cows come home! Though what you say makes complete sense, I AM NOT THERE YET, despite the fact that I so desperately want to get there… the point is that I’m trying, right? Thanks again my man.

Comments are closed.