Saturday, March 26, 2016

FearFactor

The Fight-or-Flight  (4F) Response is widely accepted and taught in the field of psychology.  It posits that humans respond to fear/threat in one of four ways: 

  • Fight - aggressively resist the threat, by violence or other means.
  • Flight - flee the threat as quickly as possible.
  • Freeze - shut down emotionally, intellectually, and/or physically in the presence of the threat.
  • Fawn - quickly acquiesce to the needs/wishes/purposes of the threat.
When we fear for our physical safety, the fight or the flight responses seem most often the ones to kick into gear.  However, when the threats to us are political/social/emotional in nature, it seems our natural response is too often to freeze or fawn.

The prospect of change often represents a threat to us and makes us fearful.  Thus, we respond in one of the 4F responses noted above.  We are wise, however, to discipline ourselves to face change primarily with the fight response (but not necessarily with violence).  We can and should "fight" intellectually and strategically, by seeking to understand the threat, by discerning what adaptions we should/must make in order to counter the threat, by learning how we can leverage/assimilate the threat to make us better and stronger.

Threats, interestingly, can be the trigger to our self-betterment.  The real danger is not the prospect of change (it is, after all, life's most intractable constant); rather, the danger is in our failure to adapt to change effectively.  

Fear not.

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