You know when you are drowning the proven advice is to relax, stay calm fight your instinct and float, it is not panic, thrash or flounder which may be your natural reaction.
We should all take note on a daily basis to think before we react the “fight of flight” is not often required but we seem to allow this inherent coding in our minds to wipe out other thoughts and govern our reactions in life.
We don’t stop and assess the level and the impact but we react on instinct when we perceive a risk often even for the ones where there is no apparent threat to life.
We overreact and make the situation worse.
If you find yourself in the path of a bear or a bull the advice is to keep your nerve, and stand your ground. Even if your heart is pounding to a foreign beat and there are drums from the pulse in your ears.
What if the reaction to life’s challenges is to stop stand still, remain calm, assess and then react in a measured way?
When I was 8 I met a bull along the path as I walked to my Nans, he was only little, my size at the time I’d say, but his ring shone bright.
In Irish the expression is “bhí mo chroí i mo bhéal” my heart was in my mouth, and that sums up perfectly how I felt that day…
I knew to stop and stand still and I did for 30 seconds, he looked at me and then he lost interest “I wasn’t a threat” and continued grazing. Thinking ahead, I assessed that he wasn’t that big, I could jump the ditch or vault him if I needed to, and I had a stick in my hand, just in case (I was brought up in the country after all).
With my legs shaking I walked the rest of the way to my Nans who said he was only a child like me and that I’d done the right thing but to “never turn your back”. It taught me that you have to use your head and make decisions and have a backup plan you can enact with the information to hand. The Bull “clever fellow” didn’t knee-jerk react he assessed me as a low threat and carried on.
In the same way reacting differently in life to challenges might just make us more content. We deprive ourselves of the possibility because the challenge is unknown or unfamiliar. Living your life safely is the default for many because that is how the brain is programmed from man’s early days.
But constantly guarding ourselves makes us stay the same.
The habits the comfort blankets, the running away, avoiding the conversation they keep us on hold and the clock ticks away. Life is full of choices and decisions but all too often the easy and safe option is cherry picked. But what are we turning our backs on? Making our lives bereft of those joys that often come with taking the risk and the path less travelled .
Stepping outside your comfort zone, even though it will let you grow is just too hard to contemplate for many. Our brain mocks our efforts, flicking on our safety switch making us insecure and averse to taking a risk. We second guess, procrastinate we swap those thoughts of breaking free for the comfort of fitting in, we settle instead for average & for the mantra of “what could have been”. We sleep, eat and repeat and cover our eyes and ears to the opportunity. We can’t possibly take the scary choice, even though it might be the solution!
Or maybe not ? Lets take that risk……..