FEAR by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

  • Written by  Jules Stewart
  • Published in Books
FEAR by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
26 Jan
2017
Panic, Fiennes tells us, is to be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, fear is a welcome mechanism that enables the body and brain to work at their best

In his latest book, which deals largely with the experiences of ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’, Fiennes takes the reader through situations that have made him anxious, at times nervous, and on occasion ‘scared stiff’.

One might assume that fear is unknown to a former SAS officer who has led more than 30 expeditions to the world’s most inhospitable corners and has climbed Everest. Not so. Fiennes has suffered from some very basic human phobias, such as falling from heights and spiders. In this book, he puts forth numerous, highly readable accounts of how he has confronted these fears. Some, like vertigo, were tackled with extreme measures: for instance, climbing the North Face of the Eiger. ‘I knew that I had failed to shake off the curse of vertigo, but facing up to it, thinking [others] did it and survived,’ writes Fiennes, enabled him to meet the challenge of Everest.

Fiennes’s arachnophobia puts a different twist on overcoming fear. While manning a machine-gun post in Oman, a hideous-looking wolf spider hopped onto his bare ankle. His immediate reaction was to scream and smash his fist down on the monster. Instead, he forced his jaw into a grin and brushed the spider off his leg. None of his fellow soldiers had exhibited fear of spiders, hence, ‘My dread of losing respect managed to trump my lifelong spider phobia and served to break the spell for good.’

Fiennes is thankful for having known fear for, he says, through the successful control of the mind, using fear rather than letting it imprison us, offers the best chance of winning the battle and achieving happiness.

Click here to purchase Fear by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

 

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

The dreadful pandemic of 1918, writes Laura Spinney, ‘engulfed the…

Books

Those of us who enjoy good travel writing know that…

Books

‘I look around me and I see a world populated…

Books

Convergence has long been a talking point within evolutionary science.…

Books

At its core, Thomas’ book is about a big hole…

Books

I’m not sure how much of a market there is…

Books

Watling Street connects Dover to Anglesey. Once a meandering track,…

Films

An epic journey alongside the nomadic crew of the Infinity…

Films

Vice President and climate action advocate Al Gore returns with…

Films

A new Netflix documentary investigates the dire state of the…

Books

After two years, you’d probably think it nigh on impossible…

Books

Not for intrepid travel writer Norman Lewis the melancholy tea…

Books

Twenty-year-old Nigel Halleck – Kief Hillsbery’s many-times removed uncle –…

Books

Jason Hickel’s bold book is full of stark facts and…

Books

Bridges are more than just a means of connection, writes…

Exhibitions

A wildlife exhibition in central London is displaying huge artworks…

Reviews

Exploring ancient Japan in a serene game of tactical beauty

Exhibitions

With a blue whale skeleton due to be unveiled in…