The Confidence Gap – By Russ Harris – Better Brain Book Summary

Today we’re taking a look at an amazing book about overcoming fear and self-doubt. It’s honestly written, has a ton of very useful techniques and great mindsets, plus a couple really big amazing ideas. Get ready to change your relationship to fear! Enjoy the review of “The Confidence Gap – By Russ Harris”

The Confidence Gap - By Russ Harris
The Confidence Gap – By Russ Harris

“The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.”

I think this is the most important point of the book…and it is life changing.

Can you think of how many times in your life you’ve thought… “If only I had that confidence of THAT person…THEN I could really kick ass and achieve my goals in life?”

Or…”I want to do that so badly…but I’m feeling afraid…so I must not be cut out for it…or I must not be ready?”

I know I have, faaaaaaaar too many times to count.

Even in the illustrious world of self development…we are not immune to the trap of believing this falsehood.

Just like every other group of humans…those of us within the self development realm fall victim to believing in the fantasies…

In what I call “Believing our own bullshit”.

Thinking that we rode a magical star to success and fame…and we start to lose touch with our former fear…self doubt…anxiety.

We start to believe that the confidence we might feel now in things we’ve worked hard to be skilled at…was always there.

That it wasn’t forged in a smelting pot of heat, pressure, time, and pain.

I wish I could have received this message years earlier…it would have saved me so much pain, struggle, self doubt, anxiety, and mostly…


So many times I’ve been waiting…holding off on what it is I REALLY wanted to do, until the time where I could feel 100% fully confident that I wouldn’t fail.

And here it is…spelled out in crystal clear letters in “The Confidence Gap”.

Shattering a great myth which is responsible for millions of withered, wilted dreams floating to the floor…never to be pursued…to shrivel on the vine and dissolve into nothingness.

It’s the first Rule of the confidence gap…and the most important.

If you remember nothing else, remember this…

It’s what all those in “successful” circles know…and even they often forget:

1. RULE #1: The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.

According to Harris:

the trouble is, if you wait for the feelings of confidence to show up before you start doing the things that are truly important to you, chances are you’re going to be waiting forever.

These feelings are not likely to magically appear out of thin air.

Sure, you may be able to cultivate them while you’re listening to a self-hypnosis CD, or reading an inspiring book, or participating in a motivational seminar, or when a friend, coach, or therapist says something that boosts your confidence.

But those feelings don’t last.

Once you get into the real situation, they just vanish like a puff of smoke.”

Have you ever wondered how you can feel so motivated, inspired, and pumped up after listening to a great speech, a mentor, coach, or attending an event or seminar…

And then a short while later…you don’t even remember how you felt that excited?

And you forget all the things you were going to put into action?

Mystery solved.

Transforming your relationship with fear isn’t an EVENT…


Fear is perfectly normal, function, and actually helpful part of the human experience

And to begin this process, first we need to ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCEPT Fear…

Fear is a normal part of life.

If you feel fear…then congratulations…you’re a human!

The problem, Harris points out…

Is that our society has built up a belief system that reinforces and idea that if you feel fear, you’re somehow weak, deformed, or flawed.

Modern psychology treats many of our common fears, anxieties and doubts as symptoms of an illness…to be treated, or cured.

All heroes in modern mythology are portrayed as “Fearless”

It’s the unattainable ideal we’re all encouraged to seek.

I don’t see the ideal as a problem…or even pursuing it…

The problem is that when we feel fear, we feel dysfunctional.

As harris shows us, in fact the opposite is true.

In truth, fear is a totally normal function of a human brain and never goes away.

And here’s the cool part…when you change your relationship to it, fear can become a Powerful Fuel.

Fear is a response generally created by the stress hormone cortisol surging in our brain…

And it has one natural purpose: To Inspire Action

In a pure natural state, this is an amazing survival tool.

At moment’s notice whenever we find something in our environment that we think threatens our life, BAM a spike of cortisol, adrenaline, and sharpened awareness…exactly what we need to take immediate action and get ourselves out of a sticky situation.

However, this adaptation doesn’t suit us as well in the modern world.

Fear still serves a very good function.

It alerts us to people, places, and situations that may pose a potential threat. This is still great for our survival and our health.

However…the fear response gets triggered far too often by things that actually won’t cause us harm.

So we should never aim to feel no fear. If you felt no fear, something would be terribly wrong with you.

Feeling fear isn’t the problem.

The problem is thinking that when we feel fear, we’re somehow “Bad”…and instead of learning how to accept, acknowledge, and channel fear into powerful and exciting action like some very successful people do…

Most of us get stuck. Afraid of our own fear.

But here’s the truth (according to Harris):

“When you step out of your comfort zone, take a risk, or face a challenge, you will feel fear. That’s not weakness; it’s the natural state of affairs for normal human beings.”

And from this concept comes my favorite summary of the genius of the book, and perhaps the greatest quote:

1. Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear.

And nobody knows this better than the small group of people we would call “top performers” across many fields…

Top performers change their relationship to fear. Call it “pumped”, “revved”, etc.

The best of the best, apparently…have largely been able to get to where they are, because they don’t see fear like most people.

Instead of cringing, avoiding, and feeling ashamed of fear…They embrace it.

Now, it is ESSENTIAL to point out here, that this is not because they were BORN with the ability to embrace fear (despite what they might tell you).

They have, through one process or another, LEARNED through a process of training their brain…to have a different, and much more useful relationship with fear.

And THIS IS IMPORTANT: Every single one of us can change our relationship to fear, too.

Top performers don’t get afraid, they get excited. They get pumped. They get amped. They feel the same chemicals rush in that normally tell us “run! Escape! Cower! Hide! Flee!”

And it’s as if they have a little translator inside their head, working feverishly to covert those same feelings into phrases like “Meet the challenge! Rally! Kick Ass! Charge!”

But the feelings and the chemicals they’re feeling are the same. They’re human just like anyone.

They’ve just created a new relationship to those feelings.

And according to Harris, when a performer occasionally forgets (because they are human too, and just like all humans…they’re in the PROCESS of changing their relationship to fear…they’re never “done”)…

When they forget, and they start to think that FEAR is BAD…they develop stage fright. And they can become paralyzed.

So how do we all learn to harness the power of fear instead of cowering, running, and hiding?

How do we get our own little “fear translators” to live inside our head?

Harriss offers a simple 3-step A-B-C formula:

A – Allow it – by saying something like “here’s fear again” and expecting that It will happen whenever you’re leaving your comfort zone, so come to expect it.

B – Befriend it – by trusting that your fear is here for a reason…to deliver a message. To give you strength, speed, courage, and help you respond to a big challenge in your life

C – Channel it – The most important part! By noticing the adrenaline that you get, noticing that you too feel “revved”, “pumped”, “wired” or “amped”, Hariss says…you can channel it into a force of good.

Ask yourself – “How can I make use of all this energy?”

Usually the answer is to take action.

In the classic book “The Magic of Thinking Big”, author David J. Schwartz says that Action…is the antidote to fear

You probably have something in your life…a challenge that is out of your comfort zone, that is creating these feelings of fear. And the only solution is to take necessary actions to do what you need to do to step up to this challenge and conquer it.

By using the A-B-C method, you can use your fear as fuel to face the challenge.

And to help us further change our relationship to fear…

It’s helpful to remember that these thoughts of fear, anxiety, and doubt…are just thoughts…

“Genuine confidence is not an absence of fear, it is a transformed relationship with fear.” – Russ Harriss

I highly recommend you get a copy of the book. You can find it at the amazon link below: The Confidence Gap – By Russ Harris