We are animals – nothing more. Like all animals, we evolved over the years, adapting to our surroundings and circumstances. We developed skills and physical traits that would allow us to survive, to guarantee longevity for our species.
I understand that you believe yourself to be special – just about every human being does. And understandably so. What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our cognitive abilities (although likely not quite as large a separation as you may think).
We don’t just think, we explore. We dissect, deduce, induce and imagine. We draw conclusions in ways that other animals cannot. We can foresee, with a level of certainty, certain future events. This allows us to make decisions that other animals could not possibly make.
Nevertheless, we are still only animals. This is something that too many seemingly forget or wish away. We still have many of those most basic instincts, instincts that all other animals share. The most basic of which is fear. Animals feel fear just as do we.
What differentiates the fear that we experience, however, is that extra ability of understanding – we understand the possible consequences of a fearful situation. This fact is both a blessing and a curse.
You see, while all animals (I’m using the word "all" liberally) have a switch that tells them to either run or fight – the famous "fight or flight" scenario – we as humans seem to have more control over which way that switch is flipped.
Initially, we will have a reaction to the fear-inducing circumstance, and that reaction will either be to run and hide or to stand up tall and fight.
Yet, after that initial reaction, we begin to understand that initial reaction. We begin to dissect our reaction and then decide whether or not to go ahead and continue in the direction our instincts told us to head.
Some will follow their initial reactions all the way. Others who initially felt fear and a need to run may decide to stay instead and fight. Others still, experiencing the initial reaction of fighting, may decide that it’s in their best interest to turn around and run for the hills.
The point is that, in the end, regardless of our fight or flight instincts, we as human beings decide how we react to fear – nature no longer decides for us.
Calling our reactions a part of the "fight or flight" scenarios no longer does us justice – especially when introducing more complex situations that don’t necessarily involve a risk to our lives.
Fear, in reality, induces one of two responses. We either have to Forget Everything And Run or we must Face Everything And Rise.
Simplifying our experiences to just fighting or running only touches on the surface. There is much more involved, or rather there is much more that needs to be involved when dealing with a frightening situation.
Because so few people understand what implications the simplest of decisions have on their psyche, few bother to follow through properly.
If you decide to get yourself out of a dangerous or frightening situation, then you can’t simply run and hope for the best.
Your cognitive abilities are too highly developed to allow you to simply go on living like nothing happened – something did happen and the more difficult the decision to call it quits was, the more profound and lasting effect it will have on you.
If you’re going to run then you have to actively forget about the situation you were in. You can’t simply go on living your life the way you were living it before because it will all catch up with you sooner or later.
The only way to truly forget is to delve deeper into the problem, dissecting it to the point where you understand that the issue no longer requires or is deserving of your attention. Most will call this closure.
Deciding to run and call it quits, in any of the most important facets of life, is a difficult decision to make and an even more difficult decision to live with. If you react to your fear by running then don’t just brush the situation off, do your best to understand why the decision you made was the right one.
Get that much needed closure so that you can focus your thoughts on the present and future. If you now regret the decision to run then dissect the matter until you understand why it was a bad decision and why you will never make that same decision again. Once you understand, forget and move on.
On the other hand, if fear triggers the fighting response in you then be sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. If you decide to fight, then you have to fight to win. You have to face everything fighting against you and rise above it all. If you are going to fight then fight to kill.
Most people fail in life because they make decisions they cannot follow through with. They respond to fear, aggressively for example, but then fear the decision they made and end up failing miserably.
If you decide to fight then be sure that you are ready to fight. Be sure that you are willing to do what needs to be done no matter how difficult or scary it may be.
If you get in the ring then fight until you either rise above everything and everyone else or until you are torn to pieces. If you’re going to fight then fight until the end – fight to come out on top. You’re already lucky because you’re human. Make that mean something.
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