There is a portable security system that you need to invest in right now. It is amazingly simple, affordable, and comes pre-installed. It analyzes thousands of stimuli per second and can make split-second judgments as to whether you are being or are going to be threatened. What if I told you this powerful and portable security system comes as standard issue equipment to all human beings? This means that you currently own it and have used it before. In fact, you use it so frequently that you don't even realize when you are using it. We have a more common name for this portable security system; we call it intuition.
Gavin de Becker, one of the world's foremost experts on violence prediction and threat analysis, talks about how our intuition works everyday to keep us safe and secure. In his iconic book, The Gift of Fear (which spent 4 months on the New York Times Bestseller List) de Becker informs reader's just like you that you already have the world's most sophisticated protection device ever created: your intuition.
Using examples from 30+ years in the field of predicting violence and protecting clients, de Becker expounds on how listening to your own intuition can save your life. Following those weird "gut feelings" can often save you from being a victim of violence.
One of the interesting things I learned from studying Mr. de Becker's book (I am in the process of reading it for a 3rd time) is that although we all have this fantastic protection device, many of us silence it when it is sending us signals. No other creature on earth questions the fear signals they receive, but you do. After something happened, have you ever said "I knew I shouldn't have done that"? This shows that you intuitively got a signal to not do that thing but you ignored the signs and did them anyway. Our intuition protects us from many different things besides violence but it is in the presence of true fear that our intuition does its most impressive work.
Women often obey their intuition more than men because intuition has been labeled "feminine." I am here to tell you that intuition is gender neutral. Both of us have it and both of us are capable of using it. The most important thing I gleaned from Mr. de Becker's book is that when you are receiving feelings or vibes from your intuition, do not ignore it. The example he uses goes as follows: Cathy (if you are a female reading this, place yourself in this woman's shoes) is standing in front of an elevator at work late in the evening; she is one of the last to leave that day. After patiently waiting for the elevator, it opens to reveal one lone occupant; a man. Something about this man is off-putting to Cathy, she cannot quite put her finger on what, but she knows something is. Maybe it is the late hour, maybe it is his disheveled appearance, maybe it is because she simply doesn't want to be alone with someone. Whatever the reason, Cathy begins to chastise herself. "I can't believe you are doing this again," she says to herself. "I am not going to live like this. How can I be rude and let this elevator door slam in this man's face? I have no reason to be apprehensive. Stop being so silly." And after having successfully used logic to pacify her fears, she gets in the elevator with him.
Now I ask you, what is more silly? Letting the elevator close in his face to wait for the next elevator or (as Mr. de Becker says in his book) "climbing into a soundproof, steel chamber to be alone with a man she is afraid of"? Have you ever used logic like Cathy did to talk yourself out of following your intuition? I know I have.
To give one more example from the book, a woman (let's call her Joan) took her teenage son for a consultation about an ear infection. After being examined it was determined that he needed surgery to correct an inner ear issue. Several weeks later, she brought her son (let's call him Sam) to the hospital for the operation. While she was in the room with Sam and the doctor who would perform the surgery, a loud voice suddenly rang loud and clear in her mind "Cancel the operation." She couldn't understand why she had this feeling or where it was coming from but she could not silence it's message "Cancel the operation." She analyzed why she should do such a thing and eventually talked herself into believing that everything was ok. The operation went forward as planned and Sam died during the procedure. It turns out, the doctor who was going to do the surgery had been someone the hospital staff had observed sleeping during previous surgeries (Joan was not aware of this fact). Somehow, Joan's intuition perceived something about the doctor that was so profound it caused it to shout "Cancel the operation" but Joan ignored it.
This blog is not meant to send you into a state of paranoia but rather to empower you that your intuition is already a finely tuned protection device (get the book, The Gift of Fear, to understand more about the differences between fear and worry and other critical topics). You have already been pre-installed with a phenomenal portable security system that works constantly to keep you safe. You use it constantly while driving making split-second judgments about when this person will merge, stop, swerve, speed up, etc. and you navigate it daily with ease. Listen to this process when it comes to predicting violence; when it comes to protecting yourself. Better to let the elevator close and wait 2 more minutes for a second elevator than to ignore your intuition, climb into the steel chamber and be attacked.
You have the ability to protect yourself. Training should give you the physical tools to protect yourself which will compliment your intuition. Adding solid physical skills like personal protection, firearm training, blade training, etc. to your already amazing intuition will make you a formidable opponent and will place you in the "I choose not to be a victim" category. I am here to instruct you with the physical skills and warrior mindset necessary to combat violence in your life but your intuition doesn't need my help. It already works and works well. Start listening to it.
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.