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Are You Motivated by Fear?

by Taewoo Kim on January 16, 2014 · 26 comments

Let me ask you a question.

As marketers, ever wonder why most people act, behave, and talk the same way?

It’s because even though the human race is tens of thousands of years old, our brain hasn’t really evolved that much.

Much of human brain activity is based on the tiny part of your little brain called the “hypothalamus”.

It pretty controls everything – your heartbeat, your breathing, your digestion,  and basically anything that you don’t have to think about and just needs to get done, otherwise you’d be dead.

Imagine that you have to “think” about beating your heart… 90% of us would be dead very early in life.

So it does a lot of good things… but unfortunately, the it controls a whole lot of other things – like processing fear.

When our ancestors were monkeys (when I say monkeys, I don’t mean that we came from monkeys, but the “monkey”-ish people that preceded the human race in the evolutionary ladder….. although every time I attended Affiliate Summit, I saw lots of monkeys claiming to be businessmen), this hypothalamus would basically paralyze you so you don’t DIE… like falling off a tree while sleeping, or sticking your arm into a fire.

How? It would PROJECT fear. Not actual fear, but the story of pain made up in our brain.

Think about why you wince when you see a video of someone about to get hurt , like breaking his arm or leg.

You’re not actually breaking YOUR arm… your brain is projecting the pain onto you. (i.e. scared shitless for no reason)

And that’s what happens when you try something new – your brain is projecting a fear that it has not actually experienced yet because it does not know, like starting a new business, eating some exotic food, or starting a new marketing campaign on a channel that you’ve never tried.

The fear is, yes, irrational. And it is universal.

And as marketers, we can actually tap into this fear.

Good TV marketers know this and have exploited this to their economic advantage for years

People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.

- Jess C. Scott, Literary Heroin (Gluttony): A Twilight Parody

I am not the one to judge anyone .. but I am here to tell you that, it can work against you as well.

Remember, fear is universal.

Analysis Paralysis

Sign of fear with every new marketer and entrepreneur.. or anyone daring to go after a dream: analysis paralysis.

Launching a new product? Starting a new company? Asked to speak in public? Gotta write for thousands of people?

I’m sure you’ve felt it before – your brain telling you that ‘it’s never gonna work’… ‘you can’t make this work’… ‘what if you mess up’…. ‘what if I lose money’.

The voice inside you is telling you million reasons why you should quit. Why be a failure when you can sit there and do nothing …. and of course, become nothing and have nothing.

Unfortunately, marketers and entrepreneurs are paid to perform. Without action, there is no performance.

“So what”?

So what if you get 2000 clicks and zero conversion? You’re gonna give up and just sit there?

So what if you started a company and it tanked?

So what if you went for your dream and it didn’t work the first time?


You use that to learn, to grow, and to mold your character. But you gotta keep moving.

If you ever watch survival specialist Bear Grylls (that crazy dude who survives the Sahara  dessert by extracting water from dung), he says going the the wrong direction is better than sitting on your ass.

Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.

(Yes, surviving means you might have to drink cow dung water. So don’t throw your dog poop away just in case.)

It’s easy to give up when your paid campaign tanks…  it’s easy to give up when your product doesn’t sell… it’s easy to give up when you’re writing a blog and nobody reads it for months (which is why you should guest blog).. it’s easy to buy Shoemoney’s product but you don’t take any action and you dismiss his stuff as crap…

It’s much harder to keep going.. to keep pushing .. to keep trying new things… to learn things that you’ve never been exposed to before. Hell, if the voice inside your mind won’t shut up,  try meditating.

Yes, search engine marketing is hard. Yes, analytics is hard. Yes, doing landing pages is hard. Yes, creating a new product or business is hard.

But you know what’s harder?

Knowing for the rest of your life, that you gave up.

Remember, there are two kinds of pain: pain of discipline (as a result of trying again and again).. and the pain of regret (as a result of giving up).

Pain of discipline lasts a couple of weeks, months, or maybe years.

But pain of regret lasts forever. And that pain only gets worse.


Don’t give up and keep moving forward.

Hell, if you need help, ask help from people like me who’ve been there and done that. And do listen to people like Tony Robbins and Joel Osteen (and yes, my marketing tactics and motivational rant through my newletter).

Whether you think you can or you can’t, remember… you are ALWAYS right.

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 29 posts on

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

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1 Mike

I love this stuff! Never give up man! I am constantly reading motivational and sales books, right now I’m reading a great book from Joe Girard. Great post!

2 Taewoo Kim

Thanks. I’ll keep’em coming!

Shoemoney 3 Jamie

This post reminds me of Shoe’s “Are you scared shitless” post.

Shoemoney 4 Kelly

This gave me a new way to look at things. Thanks for posting.

Shoemoney 5 Tim Kaiss

Fear drives everything when you really think about it.

6 Taewoo Kim

THat’s true.

401k/Insurance/Pension (of any kind) for example… TRILLIONS of dollars involved…

Shoemoney 7 Kylee

Barf. The arm picture is absolutely disgusting! Must you be so graphic?! Vom.

8 Taewoo Kim

Haha, hope you weren’t eating lunch when you were reading this.

Brought home the point right?

1) it made you wince (i.e. false pain)
2) he does whatever it takes.

Two birds one stone

Shoemoney 9 Clint Mouse

Just like the old school shirts say man, “NO FEAR”. You just gotta get over it. Really 90% of the time the ‘worst’ thing that could happen isn’t even bad.

10 Taewoo Kim

You’re 100% right.

But i would say rich / successful people still have fear.. they just have better fear management than most people

11 David Melamed

“the best part of targeting self help and personal development consumers is that since perfection is impossible, you made a client for life!”
-John Chow

12 Taewoo Kim

I would agree to a certain extent, but that’s kind of a cynical way of looking at things…

That’s like saying a doctor doesn’t want you to heal b/c he makes more money from sick people. No, i doubt people would refer that doctor if the word got out that he’s just in it for the money.

Just like if Tony Robbins or those personal movitation coaches.. if they were doing it JUST for money and really doesn’t care if people improve, i doubt he would’ve gotten as big as he is now.

Yeah granted that there are these people who just wanna be pumped does not mean that the message they preach is necessarily self-serving.

Shoemoney 13 Phillip

Such valid points. It is the What ifs that keep us up at night and stop us from jumping in and moving forward. Just do it man, don’t let fear get in the way.

Shoemoney 14 Candice Yllescas

Bear Grylls is certifiablly bat-shiat crazy.

15 Taewoo Kim

Yeah. Did u know he broke his spine TWICE? not once.. TWICE..

Shoemoney 16 Joel

Good to see you back on here Taewoo

17 Taewoo Kim

Thanks Joel. Appreciate the welcome.

Remember to make some noise to the Shoemoney team so they’ll know i’m awesome and let me write more! ;P

18 Jenny Locke

There is something that just pushes some people more than others but totally agree we can all do ‘it’.

This is an inspirational talk given by Diana Nyad, the lady who swam from Cuba to Florida. One amazing lady.

19 Taewoo Kim

OH yeah, i saw that. Truly inspirational. I think she was like 62 when she did it.

20 Jay Palmer

Epic post shoe – great timing. Recently lost some big bucks, but back in the game. Nothing will stop me

21 Taewoo Kim

One believes he can. Another believes he can’t.

They’re both usually right. It’s their choice.

22 lananh

Nice review Taewoo Kim. I tell you, I’m loving your blog more each day. I definitely will be featuring you in a blog post very soon.

23 Taewoo Kim

Thank you!

Feel free to reach out to me

24 Angelina

wow..inspirationall..thanks for the motivation

25 Taewoo Kim

you’re welcome. now back to work!

26 faisal

Nice motivating post, just DO it.

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