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