Pandemic, panic and peace. How to make the most of an unavoidable event

Pandemic, Panic and Peace

Panic…our brains were created to look for threats on the savannas of Africa. Our brains evolved before the internet when threats to our lives were very immediate and real. However, our evolution left an open portal for threats that can drill down directly to our fear response.

News, politics and fear based movements use this same portal to our brains that create a fear response which activates our adrenal glands to produce adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones that prepare us for fight or flight. Once in this state, our rational brain, the neocortex is relatively slow in response and our survival mechanisms trump it every time.

The manipulators know how to trigger these survival mechanisms. When a fellow tribe member yelled “Look out for the lion!!” our threat response reacted immediately and we ran!

When the news headline reads…

1968 Population bomb: The battle to feed all of humanity is over.
1985 Climate change linked to ozone loss: May result in more skin cancer
1986 ACID RAIN DESTROYING EUROPEAN PARADISE
1988 Pedophelia and recovered memories
1990 Human Civilization Will Crumble by 2050 If We Don’t Stop Climate Change Now
1995 Rising sea levels will flood coastal cities
2009 Peak Oil is inevitable
2020 Covid pandemic will kill millions
2020 Trump will cancel the 2020 election

 

…the same response is triggered in our brains. And we are easily manipulated to look for prescribed solutions that much of the time reduce our personal agency and authority. I am not making any argument for or against the beliefs behind these headlines, at least not in this article. What I am illuminating is the emotional wrapper the content comes from. And I posit that the emotional wrapper is far more valuable than the content.

So, now the good news. 

  • What if you understood how our primitive brain works and how these triggers impacted your fellow citizens? 
  • What if you read the headlines, not for truth, but for the emotional content they delivered? 
  • What if you developed a skill to understand how the groupthink will impact future mass behaviors? 
  • What if you were able to make low risk, high reward career, business, investing and trading decisions based on anticipated beliefs and behaviors?

 

How do you gain this valuable skill that has the potential to change your financial future?

  • First, become aware of your own biases.
  • Accept these biases without shame or put down.
  • Acknowledge that these emotional biases are just that.
  • Allow the biases to come and go without forced change.
  • Realize that you don’t know jack.
  • Accept that you are one in over seven billion people and the odds that you are the one person with the absolute truth are near impossible.
  • Notice how you filter and assess information to fit your bias.
  • Notice how others filter and assess information to fit their bias.
  • Acknowledge the positive intent of others with different biases.

Now, from this state of freshness, not knowing, self-awareness, you can observe the emotional information as just that. You can even use your emotional reactions to quantify the impact of news, understanding that your reactions give you information about similarly biased folk. You can start to build the experience of being different from your instinctive reactions. 

Now, needless to say, this process isn’t trivial. It takes intensive focus to separate our reactions from our identity because we tend to believe that our reactions are indeed who we really are. When I am stuck with a problem, I ask myself, what if I didn’t know anything about this? What if I were (fill in a person different than me.) And what comes up is very often more useful than the beliefs that structured the problem in the first place. 

In fact, right now, do a self-awareness check in. What is your experience reading this blog? Feeling critical? Defensive? Wary? Curious? Disgusted? 

If this inquiry is fascinating for you, I invite you to join our “Creativity in Chaos” group that meets online at 9:00am ET  every Friday.  Learn more here.

About the Author Rich Friesen

A veteran broker and floor trader, Rich went from the "worst trainee trader ever", to building one of the most consistently profitable options trading firms on the Pacific Exchange by training his traders using neuroscience. Rich also holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, a B.A. in Philosophy, and is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute in San Francisco along with Master’s training in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

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