Showing posts with label Fight or Flight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fight or Flight. Show all posts

June 14, 2019

Leading Change

I heard a great presentation on change management.

Some highlights I really liked:

- U.S. Army War College in developing high performance leaders seeks to develop competency to operate in an "VUCA" environment:

Volatile
Uncertain
Complex
Ambigious

- The key is NOT to get "emotionally/amygdala hijacked" where our "reptilian brain" in response to threats jumps to:

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

- Instead, we need to manage change methodically as "transitions" (which are personal and emotional) so that we understand that:

Every Ending is a New Beginning

(G-d does not close one door without opening a new one for us.)

-  When one thing in life comes to an end, this is where there is enormous potential for growth in:

The Reinvention of Ourselves

Release the emotions and be ready to move on!

- In short, it can be difficult to accept change unless we realize that:

Problems = Opportunities

And this is the critical place where we can try new things and learn and grow. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 19, 2018

Boiling A Frog

So sometimes you don't know that something is happening until it is too late. 

A colleague yesterday told me this great simile:

It's like when you put a frog in a pot of water and turn up the heat, the frog doesn't know what's happening until it's too late, and he ends up being boiled alive!

With better knowledge of the context, of course, you can have the foresight to act, to fight, to get out, whatever. 

Similarly with the frog, if you throw him into an already boiling pot of water, he immediately jumps out, and viola he's saved. 

It's really important to have good situational and political awareness. 

Not everyone out there is so innocent--even when they have a good act and pretend, "Who me?"

Many of them know how to work the system, so that the system works for them. 

G-d forbid, when you're in the way, they'll often turn up the heat. 

And if you don't realize what going on, you'll be the frog that's a not so tasty dinner. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 8, 2018

Fight or Flight


So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.

Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 

Fighting (turning towards the threat)
1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)
2. Non-physical aggression
Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)
Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)

Flight (turning away from danger)
1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)
2. Non-physical withdrawal
Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)
Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)

When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the "Amygdala Hijack" in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)
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February 7, 2018

Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant"
"When you see crazy coming, cross the street!"

I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:
"If you can run, run!"

That doesn't mean your not strong or courageous.

It's just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 

When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 

And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.

Peace is always desired.

But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 

This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it's nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.

Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2017

What Do You Do With Fear?

Thought this was a really good perspective on fear.

"You have two options:

Forget Everything And Run

Or

Face Everything And Rise"

It the old fight or flight!

- Running may be good when you can avoid a devastating fight and get yourself and your loved one to safety.

- But sometimes you don't have that option and you have to "fight the good fight" and overcome the devils you face. 

Everyone is afraid of something(s) and/or somebodies. 

If someone isn't afraid then they are brain dead!

Strengthen yourselves, ready yourselves, and pray. 

What do you fear and how will you face it? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 29, 2017

Why People End Up On The Sh*t List

This was a funny sign...the old "sh*t list!"

When people do cr*p to you and they do it maliciously and with intent, and as repeat offenders enjoying their evil ways hurting others. 

Invariably, they can end up on the sh*t list. 

However, I've never actually seen such a list until this. 

You have your:

- Offender
- Violation
- Was it a friend, stranger, lover, family, other?
- When did it occur?
- Severity level

It even has a line for your "plan of attack"--whether you confront, ignore, stew, avenge, talk sh*t, or other. 

And finally whether the terrible offender is still on or off the list. 

While not every offense is a mortal blow and we need to have compassion for people and try to love everyone...sometimes, people can behave so badly and don't stop no matter how much you try and beg and offer to help them that they just force themselves onto the bad boys/girls list. 

We don't want to have ill feelings to anyone--we are all G-d's creatures--but what do you do when people go so far astray or have problems so big that they hurt others so bad and so often.

Surely, we need to have understanding and compassion first for people and try to do everything to help them and bring peace to the world, but when your dealing with the true worst of what people have to offer and they lack basic human self-control and decency, perhaps that's why victims revert as a last resort to their sh*t list. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2016

Flying Sneaks

We can all fly.

Not necessarily through the air.

But through life and ultimately in death, we can fight and take flight and soar. 

It is our attitude and determination to overcome the hardest of hardships that we face. 

We feel the pain for the situations where we fell, failed, and lost control over outcomes. 

People who told us what they thought we are and where we can go...our ego busted, our shame written all over us, our regret and fear over what we did or should've done differently.

We can't go back.

We can only go forward.

We can learn, and we can grow.

We can compartmentalize the problems and hurt. 

We can pick up the pieces wiser than before and more determined to succeed.

Wings are not just for angels, but also for sneakers and for souls. 

I want to fly all around the world, and more so into the heavens to see my Heavenly father and be reunited for eternity with my family and loved ones.

Fly free and wide.

Fly high and unobstructed by poverty, illness, abuse, and loneliness. 

Fly and soar beyond anything we could ever have imagined. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2016

Conflicts That Challenge Us

My wife told me something good today (first time ever, haha).  

There are three types of conflicts:

1) Between Man and Himself -- these are our internal conflicts or demons (fears, anxieties, guilt, compulsions, and evil impulses) that we must conquer. 

2) Between Man and Man -- these are conflicts we have with others and we must resolve them with either empathy, compromise, giving, and forgiveness or at the other end of the spectrum with fight or flight.

3) Between Man and His Environment -- these are conflicts that are man-made or natural in our surroundings and may involve scarcity, harsh or destructive conditions, and obstacles to overcome with scientific and engineering problem-solving. 

I would add a 4th type of conflict:

4) Between Man and G-d -- these are conflicts we have in trying to understand why we are here, what G-d wants from us, and "why bad things happen," and involve our relationship and reconciliation with and service to our maker. 

Basically, these four conflicts are more than enough to keep us busy day-in and -out for our entire lifetime, and either we resolve them and go to the afterworld, or perhaps we have to come back to do some more work on resolving them again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 22, 2016

Silence Or Violence

So when it comes to "Crucial Conversations," they unfortunately frequently end in silence or violence.

When the "stakes are moderate to high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong" that's when communication really seems to break down, rather than achieve their goals of working things out. 

Like when our lives are in danger and we have the adrenalin rush reactions to fight or flight, similarly with potentially "dangerous" communications, people become aggressive and abusive or shutdown and withdraw. 

When your afraid of a negative outcome, either you start hammering others with your ideas and opinions or you exit the conversation and seek safety. 

Either way, at this point, there's no real common ground, negotiation, compromise, or win-win to be easily had...in this pressure cooker poor excuse of a dialogue, it can basically become a tragic win-lose situation.

Perhaps, that's why there are mediators and neutral third parties that are often brought in to make people feel (relatively) safe again, help them be understood and to understand, and to find a negotiated peace or settlement. 

And what happens when even this doesn't work and communication and diplomacy fails?

Well that's when people and countries bring out the big guns and they essentially go to war to win what they hoped to achieve with dialogue. 

Now words are no longer the only choice, but all options are on the table, and that's when benign words can quickly turn into more drastic or deadly deeds (aka the children reframe of "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me."

And there is always the thermonuclear option--people supported it with Japan in WWII and they say they would support it with a Tehran that violates the very generous nuclear deal they received.

Words are a prelude to a possible peace or an unwanted war. 

They can be the last chance to work things out the way we hope for.

And if words alone can't resolve the issue, then blood and treasure is spent and spilt to resolve the otherwise unresolvable. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 25, 2015

Kid's Games, For Survival Mostly

Some nights, I dream of fighting and others of running for my very life.  

This last night, I woke up from the dream, and thought how these instincts of fight or flight are so pervasive in our lives, and even in our sleep. 

But more than that, we are literally from the youngest age, programmed for survival (of the fittest). 

Ok, here's a simple hypothesis about kid's play:  

Kid's play is not just play, but rather the preparation through acting out of these basic human survival instincts.

At it's core, kids games mimic the fundamental human tendencies of fight or flight. 

Think for a second of some of the most popular games that kids play...the ones that mostly have been around forever, and kids from the youngest of ages gravitate too.

Tag -- Running after from someone else running after you. 

Hide and Go Seek -- Running to hide from someone looking to find you.

Play Fighting -- Fighting an opponent to see who is stronger and can overcome the other. 

Action Figures -- Often superheroes and villians that once again, fight each other.

Dress Up -- Girls often dress as the beautiful princesses to be admired by boys who are in turn dressed as (macho) heroes that seek to protect them. 

Video Games -- The most popular ones, first-person shooter (fighting) and racing (running away, faster than anyone else, and over the finish line or into the safety zone). 

Whether we are playing games, sleeping and dreaming, or going about our daily life activities, make no mistake, we are in survival mode. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 5, 2014

Go Quick And Far

I love this African proverb that I heard recently:

"If you want to go quickly, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together."


When we're alone, we are traveling "light"--we don't have to worry about or help another person...we can go quickly.


However, when we go together with another, we have a companion and support, and can endure more and go much farther.


In life, going it alone...is more of a "flight" response. When you have to run, you get away as quickly as you can.  


In the movie Last of the Mohicans the fleeing male character yells to the woman, "Stay Alive! No matter how long it takes, I will find you."  They disperse, each one moving as speedily as possible to survive.


Similarly, when we have to "fight," there is power in numbers. We are always stronger and more capable as a team.


Already from The Three Musketeers, we acknowledge the familiar refrain of, "All for one, and one for all."


Similarly, when a military force advances it does so in strength with coordination and in unison, but when it is under severe attack and is retreating, often it does so chaotically, running with "every man for himself" trying to save as many as possible.


Overall, while we need the strength of unity and the speed of an agile runner, in the end we have to have faith, hope, and perseverance to survive.


Ernest Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone, and afterwards some are strong at the broken places." ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 1, 2014

Outrunning The Needle

This nice gentlemen who works in the medical profession was telling me a funny story today.

He grew up amidst a collection of small villages in El Salvador.

The person who gave the vaccinations to the children used to go to the school to administer the medicine to them.

When the kids saw him coming, they would run out of the school, through the school yard, over the fence, and all the way home to try to avoid the shot.

He also said that the school personnel would chase them to their home to bring them back…one way or another, they were getting the dreaded needle. 

It reminded me of when I was a little kid in the pediatrician's office, and the doctor was pulling out a long needle to give me a shot, and I hopped off the table, and ran for my life. 

I ran out of her office, past the nurse's station, and into the welcoming arms of the patient reception area.

But the doctor and nurse caught up to me as well and brought me back for my shot too.

It sort of reminds me of the saying, "You can run, but you can't hide."

In life, it really doesn't matter whether we want to do something or not.

When the time comes to face the challenges that await us all, even if you try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it…it will eventually catch up to you.

Maybe it's worth a run sometimes, if you can avoid an unnecessary fight, but if it is something you have to face, like your medicine, you might as well just stay and take the needle like a man/woman and get some cookies and ice cream afterwards. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dan4th Nicholas)
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October 26, 2013

Smartphones, Dumb People

On the Street in Washington, D.C., there is this circular sign on the ground.

It says: "Look up! Watch where you are walking."

This is a good reminder, especially on the corner, right before you step off and possibly walk into some ongoing traffic.

People get distracted walking and even texting while driving and they can have big accidents because of this. 

But an article by Christine Rosen in the Wall Street Journal takes this notion quite a bit further. 

She proposes that people are so busy on their smartphones and tablets that they are either "oblivious to their surroundings" or more likely to want to film emergencies rather than get involved and help someone in trouble. 

She has examples including in December 2012, when a freelance photographer took a photo of a man run over by a train instead of trying to help him off the tracks. 

However, I am not convinced that it is the computing devices that make people into "apathetic bystanders" or "cruel voyeurs" any more than the salons in the Wild West made people into alcoholics, gunslingers, and patronizers of prostitutes. 

Let's face it, people are who they are.  

Things do not make us do bad, but lack of self-control and base impulses, poor moral upbringings, brain chemistry and brainwashing, and psychological problems and disorders cause people to behave in antisocial and immoral ways. 

If people weren't filming someone being attacked on the subway, then very likely they would be running out at the next available stop or changing cars as soon as they could get that middle door opened. 

Those helpful people, good samaritans, and even heroes among us, are not there because they left their iPhones at home that day, but because their conscience tells them that it's the right thing to do, and perhaps that they would want someone to help them or their family member if the situation was reversed. 

People like to blame a lot of things on technology, but saying that we are "losing our sense of duty to others because of it" is absurd. 

The technology doesn't make the person; the person makes the technology!" ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 23, 2011

How To Cope When The Boss Is A Bully

We are living in tough economic times, and according to a recent news article, even those who have jobs are often feeling the pain.

USA Today, 28 December 2010, features a cover story called “Bullying in the workplace is common, hard to fix.

The subhead: “One in three adults has been bullied at work” – based on research conducted by Zogby International.

This reminds me of the poster “Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten,” since the old schoolyard bullying is faithfully carried over to the “adult” workspace.

How unfortunate for our employees and our organizations—because abusive leaders not only harm employees through ongoing intimating and demeaning behavior, but ultimately they bring down organizational morale, innovation, and productivity.

It’s like poison that starts with the individual bully and spreads—permeating from his or her human targets (our precious human capital assets) to chip away bit by bit at the core of organization’s performance.

According to the article, the bully often behaves in subtle ways so as not to get caught:

- “Purposely leaving a worker out of communications, so they can’t do their job well

- Mocking someone during meetings, and

- Spreading malicious gossip about their target”

To further protect themselves, bullies may exhibit the pattern where they “kiss up and kick down.” Therefore, the higher ups may close their eyes to the abusive behavior of the bully—as far as their concerned the bully is golden.

By menacing their employees, bullying bosses spread trepidation amongst their victims and prevent them from telling anyone—because their targets fear that there will be “hell to pay,” in terms of retribution, if they do.

So bullied employees react by withdrawing at work, calling in sick more, and trying to escape from their tormentor by finding another job elsewhere in the same organization or in another.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, “slightly more than 60% of bullies are men, and 58% of targets are women.” But generally, the sexes tend to prey on their own: “Women target other women in 80% of cases. Men are more apt to target other men.”

For employees who are victims, professionals offer four basic strategies, which are adapted here. Of course, none of these is ideal, but all of them give people a way to cope:

1) Talk It Out—it may be wishful thinking, but the first thing you want to try and do is to talk with the bully and at least try and reason with him or her. If that doesn't work, you can always move on to strategies two through four.

2) Fight—document the abuse and report it (e.g. up the chain, to the C-suite, to internal affairs, the inspector general, etc.). Like with the bully in the playground, sometimes you have to overcome the fear and tell the teacher, so to speak.

3) Flight—leave the organization you’re in—find another job either internally or at another outfit; the focus of the thinking here is that when there is a fire, you need to get out before you get burned.

4) Zone Out—ignore the bully by waiting it out; this may be possible, if the bully is near retirement, about to get caught, or may otherwise be leaving his/her abusive perch for another position or to another organization.

Experts point out that whatever strategy you chose to pursue, your work is critical, but the most important thing at the moment is your welfare—physical, mental, and spiritual. And your safety is paramount.

As a human being, I empathize with those who have suffered through this. Additionally, as a supervisor, I try to keep in mind that there are "two sides to every coin" and that I always need to be mindful of others' feelings.

Finally, know that challenging times do pass, and that most people are good. I find it comforting to reflect on something my grandmother used to say: “The One In Heaven Sees All.”


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November 30, 2009

Leadership: Fight or Flight

When we are confronted with difficult situations, people tend to two different responses: fight or flight.

Generally, people will stand and fight when they are either cornered and have no other option, when they will suffer undue harm if they just try and “let it go”, or when the issue is something that they really believe strongly in (like a principle or value such as equity, justice, righteousness, etc. that they feel is being violated).

In contrast, people typically will flee when they feel that they can get out of a bad situation mostly unscathed and their principles will not be violated (such that they can live with their personal and professional dignity intact). Often, people consider fleeing or a change of venue preferable to “getting into it” when it’s possible to avoid the problems that more direct confrontation can bring.

There is also a third option not typically addressed and that is just “taking it,” and letting it pass. In the martial arts, this is akin to taking someone’s best shot and just absorbing it—and you’re still standing. You go with the flow and let it go. This is sometimes feasible as a less dramatic response and one that produces perhaps less severe consequences (i.e. you avoid a fight and you still yield no ground).

Harvard Business Review (December 2009) in an article called “How to Pick a Good Fight” provides some guidelines on when as a professional you should consider standing up and fighting, as follows:

  1. “Make it Material”—Fight for something you really believe in, something that can create real value, noticeable and sustainable improvement.
  2. Focus on the Future”—Don’t dwell on the past or on things that cannot be changed. Spend most of your time “looking at the road ahead, not in the rearview mirror.”[This is actually the opposite of what 85% of leaders do, which is trying to figure out what went wrong and who to blame.”
  3. Pursue a Noble Purpose”—Make the fight about improving people’s lives or changing the world for the better.” I’d put it this way: stay away from selfish or egotistical fights, turf battles, empire building, and general mud slinging.

“The biggest predictor of poor company performance is complacency.” So leaders need to focus “the good fight” on what’s possible, what’s compelling, and what’s high impact. Great leaders shake things up when the fight is right and create an environment of continuous improvement. Leaders create the vision, inspire the troops, and together move the organization forward to greater and greater heights.

As for fleeing or “turning the other cheek” those venues are best left for issues of lesser consequence, for keeping the peace, or for times when you are simply better off taking up the good fight another day.


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April 4, 2009

Social Media Can Free Us All

An action by a lone decision maker may be quick and life-saving as in response to extreme fear or stress, when a person must in a split second select from the “fight or flight response.”

Given a little more time to make a decision, people have found that there is not only strength in numbers, but also wisdom. In other words, vetting a decision among a diverse group and hearing different sides to an issue, generally yields better decisions than an individual could make alone. Colloquially, we often here this referred to as “two heads are better than one.”

Now, with the power of the Internet, we are able to employ collective decision making en masse. Through Web 2.0 tools like Wiki’s, Internet forums, social networks, and other collaboration tools, we can reach out to masses of people across the social, economic, and political landscape—anywhere in the world—and even from those orbiting the planet on the International Space Station. Soon enough, we will take the power of the collective to new extremes by reaching out to those who have traveled and reside on distance worlds—I think that will probably be in Web 4.0 or 5.0.

What’s amazing is that we can get input from anyone, anywhere and in virtually limitless numbers from anyone interested in participating and providing their ideas and input.

When we open up the discussion to large groups of people like this it is called crowdsourcing, and it is essentially mass information sharing, collaboration and participation towards more sophisticated and mature ideation and decision making.

The concept of participatory thinking and intelligence, to me, is an outgrowth not just of the technologies that enables it, but also of the freedom of people to choose to participate and their human right to speak their minds freely and openly. Certainly, this is an outgrowth of democratization and human rights.

While the Internet and Social Media technologies are in a sense an outgrowth of freedoms that support our abilities to innovate. I believe that they now will be an enabler for continued democratization, freedom, and human rights around the world. Once the flood gates are opened a little for people to be free virtually (to read new ideas online, to vote online, to comment and provide feedback online, and to generally communicate and share openly online), a surge of freedom in the traditional sense must soon follow.

This is a tremendous time for human civilization—the Internet has connected us all. Diversity is no longer a dirty little word that some try to squash, but a strength that binds us. Information sharing no longer cowers behind a need to know. Collaboration no longer hides behind more authoritative forms of decision making. People and organizations recognize that the strengths of individuals are magnified by the power of the collective.

The flip side is that voices for hate, chaos, and evil can also avail themselves of the same tools of social media to spread extremism, crime, terrorism, and anarchy. So there are two camps coming together through sharing and collaboration, the same as through all time—good and evil.

The fight for truth is taking a new turn through technology. Social media enables us to use mass communication and collective intelligence to achieve a high goal.


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