This is about keeping you safe.
I get a reminder of how dangerous life can be a few times a year because I work with so many people and I hear so many of their stories.
I myself have been in dangerous situations, I maneuver them and I move on.
For some reason when it happens to me, I do not feel the same urgency as when I hear of a situation happening to someone else.
Some of you probably feel similarly, particularly if you have a natural tendency to protect.
When danger happens to the people I know and care for, I need to talk about it.
The thought of you being in danger and frightened will quickly have me arranging self-defense courses for 400 people! (I am thinking of this currently)
The present environment:
It is said that the amount of time we spend hearing and seeing tragedy on tv and online has desensitized us.
It no doubt has.
We can scroll through tragic videos with our thumb on our phones while eating a sandwich.
I am positive my great Grandfather would be horrified by this activity.
We stay in an augmented reality with technology when we look into screens so often and almost unconsciously.
Real danger happens:
Danger is situational.
Danger is not invariably more likely to occur in a parking garage rather than next door.
It is important to not feel automatically safe only because of the environment you are in.
Being in a dangerous situation feels like being pulled into the deepest most basal layer of being human and vulnerable.
Clear and present danger takes a moment to accept.
It does not happen often (I hope) and so it will take a moment to recognize mentally even after you physically have become aware.
In milliseconds, you will rationalize…
This is not online.
This is not on T.V
This is happening in front of your eyes.
Just you and the incident.
Instinctually we recognize Danger.
Sensing danger is so connected in our DNA that we all recognize it.
How we react in these moments is where fight or flight as a response kicks in.
Most people feel like they stood still too long before acting on their instincts.
Timed simulations show the opposite.
We actually move very fast, however, the sense of time is not accurate because our mental faculties are working overtime on an action needed.
Bottom line, you did not move slow.
The 2% of man/woman:
For very few of us, we are able to think in this moment.
Physiologically, it is nearly impossible to rationalize in the middle of danger.
The amygdala is in the frontal portion of the temporal lobe.
This tiny structure controls all of our emotions and releases dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and serotonin.
It is like a flood of thought blocking hormones all released in milliseconds during a threat.
Because our own anatomy prevents us from rational thinking, the best advice I can give you so that you can protect yourself and others in this situation is to think about this now.
If you are in an industry that involves strangers in a semi secluded situation…
This can happen to you.
Cognitively, we do not think this is at all probable to happen to us.
Realistically, there is no rationale behind this thinking.
People who are able to think in these moments are unique and are more likely to end the situation faster than the majority of us.
What to do:
This should be something that comes naturally right?
No! Unless you are in the armed forces you probably do not know what you would do.
All you can do to prepare is to think about what you would do if something ever happened to you.
Unless you are trained for combat, do not directly engage a fight.
If there is any distance between you and the situation then get away.
Get away if at all possible and call 911.
Know this about being a hero:
This is real life.
You are not Thor.
You are not Wonder Woman.
You are not a Marvel character or a DC Legend.
The tough guy is the man who steps back and uses his brain.
The hero is the one who ultimately does not make a dangerous encounter more dangerous.
The hero witnesses something involving other people and at the end of the day those people were not further injured because of them.
The hero survives and goes home to his family who already thinks he is a hero.
Be safe. If it is dark, it can wait.
Sales people still knocking on doors, my advice is to stop.
Gather people in organized groups to present something.
Meeting people one on one at night that you know nothing about in a vacant area, no.
Keep this topic alive in your workplace.
Be there for each other.