Fear Is A Lie, But It’s Story May Save Your Life

Fear Is A Lie, But It's Story May Save Your Life

The survival skills one acquires after living in Manhattan are comparable to those of a CIA training program; a mastering of the Secret Squirrel training trifecta:

Know your surroundings. 

Trust your instincts. 

Always have a plan.

Three simple skills that are proven to increase survivability, but for whom many outside the concrete jungle are rarely utilized and often never honed. A “City Sense” akin to a “Spidey Sense” or a “Gift of Fear” becomes second nature. A level of awareness that matures with each day spent ignoring everyone yet noticing everything.

A walkable metropolis requires a keen sense of awareness. An innate ability to perceive and to feel. To be conscious of events which may not involve you — but which may nonetheless affect you.  A knowingness that tells you when something is “off” even if there is no tangible proof as to what that “something” is.

Conflict will always have better ratings than peace, and tragedy will always be more sensationalized than success, so it’s no secret the twenty-four hour news cycle does their part to chum the waters with fear. If it bleeds, it leads. But just because the lead story on the evening news comes crafted as a slickly produced story about another terror alert, another senseless shooting, or another bad guy doing bad things to good people, does not mean you are in direct danger. Yes, car accidents happen every day, but that doesn’t mean you are going to be in one tomorrow, the next day — or even ever.

Here’s something else you already know: Fear isn’t real.

Fear is your imagination preparing you for a possible conflict. It’s a physiological preparedness that gets you emotionally prepared and physically primed should the moment of fight or flight present itself.  Fear is a liar, but it tells a story that may one day save your life.

Fear remembers. Fear reminds. Fear prepares you on a subconscious level to save yourself — taking the necessary steps to safety often before you even realize the danger you are in.

Fear may be a liar, but it tells a story that may one day save your life.

Safety is a byproduct of awareness and preparation

You don’t have to be a Carrie Mathison or a Jason Bourne to live a life protected. All you need is an awareness of your surroundings, a trust of your instincts, and a practical plan  that will keep you safe should the moment arise.

You want to train your mindset to be proactive, not reactionary. Every time you get that sense that something may not be right, you want to be thinking to yourself, ‘How will I react?’  “What will I do?”  “Where will I go?” You want to be prepared before something happens, so that if something does, you know exactly what to do, where to go, and how to get there.

Far too often – especially in the wake of national tragedy – we vacillate from being complacent to  hyper-vigilant than back to complacency. Safety lies in the middle, a byproduct of awareness and preparation. Everyday vigilance is a small price to pay for our safety of self. It’s those three simple skills that make all the difference:

Know your surroundings. 

Trust your instincts. 

Always have a plan.

Spencer Coursen is a nationally recognized threat management expert who has an exceptional record of success in the assessment, management, and resolution of threats, domestic and global security operations, investigations, policy authorship, and protective strategy.

Spencer Coursen | Threat Management Expert


Love of Country

Love of Country

When I was six years old I spent a week in July with my Godmother in New York City. On the 4th of July, after a fun-filled cookout in the park, we all went up on the rooftop of her Battery Park apartment to watch the fireworks.

That’s when I first saw the Statue of Liberty. She was breathtaking. Leaning forward. Her hand held high to light the way. Embraced in that moment by the warmth of the nation, she seemed to conduct the spectacular fireworks display that echoed in cadence to America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner. That was all it took. From that day forward: America was mine, and I was hers. A patriot had been born.

All four of my grandparents served in World War II, yet none of their children served. As the first grandchild, groomed under the blanket of my grandfathers protection, I was molded with a military bearing. I remember my Grandfather’s stories of his time in the Navy, the pride in his eyes as he recounted the heroics of his fellow servicemen, and at times, the tears that would begin to form in that moment’s memory of his fallen brothers.

I didn’t have any brothers growing up, but I found some in the Army who’s bond will forever hold stronger than blood.

Combat is an especially emotional engagement. Love of country, and camaraderie abound, but the highest of highest of highs and lowest of lows are experienced in a rotating order of priority. It is a purpose that honors the ideals of liberty, freedom, and love that may not always be touched, but can always be felt. When compared to the sacrifice required in WWII or today’s modern engagements, my own military service was neither exemplary nor particularly heroic. But to this day, having served my country in combat remains the single greatest honor of my life.

Throughout my time overseas, I kept what I called my “war journals.” Sometimes they were nothing more than unsent letters to my sisters, my parents, close friends, or loved ones. Other times they were just for me. Hand-scribble notes that were written down and and tucked away for future reflection. At other times there were nothing more than the ramblings of youth – a maturity perceived, but not yet achieved.

There is a permanence to the written word. Even when those words are nothing more than a soul-bearing, emotional diatribe, inked down alongside the photographs of whoever is being craved, missed, or forsaken. They offer a solace in their memory that – at least in those moments – can not be found elsewhere.

Today they all sit in a battered brown box buried deep in a trunk I once used on deployments. Every now and then, I’ll pull down it down from it’s quasi-hiding place at the back of a top closet shelf. Just opening the box releases a flood of emotion and memories. Old sand, dried tears, and faint perfume, mix constant reminders with memory of times almost-forgotten. Notebooks safeguarding too many funeral cards and too few kiss-sealed envelopes. Reminders of a time most honored in my heart yet most tormented in my soul.

Looking back, I realize those days were a long time ago for me. Where I once stood, another now stands in that same sand, having those same thoughts, fighting that same fight. Another vigilant guardian with a ready sword.

Today I am home, and I’m looking forward to once again seeing my old love on her perch of peace as she welcomes some and comforts others with her vigilance, certainty, and genuine sincerity. This year, on America’s birthday, I’ll renew the same oath I pledge to her every year: to try and serve her as best I can in helping to ensure a certainty of safety for all, and my thanks for being afforded such a privilege.

We are not beholden to our past, nor locked into a preset future. We must embrace those moments when the purse strings of good fortune are opened. We must seek out the glory awaiting to be shared with others.

So this year, after the sun has kissed our skin, the burgers have been devoured, and we make our way to open fields with loved ones in tow, let us all take a moment to reflect upon what it took to get here, and the price we have all paid along the way. Fourth of July’s always have the best endings: fireworks, music, and the promise of a better tomorrow. Freedom will never be free, but it will always be worth the sacrifice it requires.

To all of the veterans: THANK YOU!

You have done more than your part. You have given more than any could ever ask to give. Know in your heart you have the thanks and love of generations yet to come. If you’re anything like me, your chest will will swell with pride during the chorus of America’s anthem. And in that moment when memories turn into salty tears burning the corner of your eyes – having cried not for the moment, but for the memory the moment reminds – remember this: The fallen ask only to be remembered, and they ask nothing more in return.

With Love of Country,

Spencer Coursen


Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security advisor, threat assessment consultant, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.


 @SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity