We are in essence prehistoric animals. The core components of our brains are basically the same as that of a lizard. Although we have the capacity for higher level thinking and reasoning, when faced with certain threats, the reasoning part of our brain gets short-circuited or overridden by our reptilian brain. The response of fight or flight is an instinct. In the modern world, we do our best to act as if we are civilized and rational. The problem is that when push comes to shove, we literally forget logic and go to our most primal reaction.
The only way to avoid this devolution is to train against it. This is possible because we are basically never in true peril. Letting our brains go on “fight or flight auto-pilot” is useful when under attack by an animal but how often are we in a life and death situation? Most likely the “peril” is only perceived. Only a metaphorical death is on the line. However we make it so real that we react with our lower self. The answer is action, not reaction. Reaction is usually the ugly head of the lizard.
The key to keeping the lizard at bay is to be prepared and take total responsibility. Most of our fight or flight responses are due to our interactions with other lizards. If you know in advance that you are going to be dealing with someone’s lizard brain, it’s easier to keep yours from reacting in kind. Also take total responsibility FOR YOURSELF. Break down that word, RESPONSE – ABILITY. Be completely able to respond to the situation, the actual situation and not some overblown version that was created mainly in your head. You most likely will not die from this situation. So why put yourself into the life or death mode? A better life is a result of better actions. Be better than the lizard today!
This concept came up during my recent interview with Laura G. on her radio show “Thoughts, Tools and Tough Love”. Click here to listen.