Have you ever experienced something that didn’t make sense? Something that did not compute with your rational self, so you convinced yourself you must not have seen things correctly? I would wager we all have. For the most part, these things are harmless, but it is those times where it could be harmful that I want to concentrate on today.
I saw a video years ago of a church shooting. A man walked down the aisle toward the pastor, shooting as he went. I couldn’t find the video now, but I believe he made it to the front of the church, shooting the pastor several times before he was stopped. Later, when parishioners were questioned, some said they assumed it was a play.
If you live in a suburb and see what you think, at first, is a bear, don’t dismiss it as a large dog. I live 30 miles from Minneapolis, in a fairly large suburb. The town next door had a bear wander in just a couple months ago. If you were walking your dog or small child, a hungry bear could be a big problem! The same can be said for any wildlife! In the last five years, I have seen reports of a puma, coyote, and an alligator all within 15 miles of me.
A few years back, while driving to work one morning I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was, at the time, what looked like a very large model plane, flying fast and very low, less than fifty yards from the road. This was after we started hearing about drones being used in combat but before we started seeing images of them. I knew this was too big and fast to be a model plane, and too small and low to be even a small passenger plane, not to mention too military-looking to be a civilian passenger plane. At the time, I figured it had to be a drone. Later, when images started popping up of some of the drones used, I saw one very similar to the “UFO” I had seen earlier.
Big deal, I saw a flying object I believed at the time to be a drone. I’ll admit I was fascinated by how this thing was flying. Having been an aviation electrician in the Navy, attached to an Aircraft carrier for four years, I have seen hundreds of planes fly. I had never seen anything this small move like this. The operator was clearly trying to get somewhere before rush hour set in and the sun was fully up.
Now, let’s say this happened ten years from now and drone strikes on American soil are rare but do happen. What if the car in front of me was believed to be a terrorist and the drone opened fire on it? If I don’t trust and believe my eyes and act immediately, I could be caught up in the attack.
In the book The Survivors Club, Author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10/80/10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.
A few pages later, he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”
We can prepare ourselves for a great many things that we’ve never actually lived through. I do this by inserting myself in situations I see in movies, TV, news stories, books and so on. But we should also try and condition ourselves to take action immediately even if we can’t understand, process or make sense of what we are seeing.
If you ever see something that doesn’t jive with how things should be or normally are, that is your intuition telling you to pay attention! Don’t let your intellect silence it! Pay attention to whatever is out of place, if it turns out to be nothing, move on. If it turns out to be something, your mind is primed to take action.
If you see a 75 foot lizard spewing fire, a spaceship descend from the sky, Super Mario and Big foot playing checkers, someone may have slipped you a funky mushroom. Seriously though, there is a saying that goes, “If you hear the thunder of hooves, think horses, not zebras”. While I agree, you should still get out of the way and make sure what it is once you’re safe.
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