Fear vs Logic, the key to success

Is Fear outranking Logic for you on a daily basis? Below is my mechanism that I use to give Logic a leg-up in the hierarchy of decision making.

Resilience is a simple word with powerful meaning. On the surface it might simply seem like the ability to deal with a constant stream of stress. But I define it a little differently. I see resilience as the ability to maintain logic over emotion. An important distinction in my humble opinion, because it’s not just about ‘surviving‘ it’s about being able to thrive.

As humans, we are gifted with a complex ability to apply logic – but it would be short-sighted to not acknowledge that at our core – we have 3.8 million years of nature driving us. I can’t even begin to get my head around that amount of time. Why is that relevant to your mindset? Well let’s dig further.

But what is important is that the complexities and nuances of modern day etiquette, emotion and sentiment only truly ever reflect the last decade, if that. What is seen as ”normal” changes rapidly. To put it into context, what we see as ‘normal’, only represents 0.0003% of the time that Humans have been humans. Crazy, right?

That means that we have 3.8m years of nature, evolution and instincts that are constantly being put up against a few years of modern-day logic and learned emotions.

What that means in the real world is that to truly manage your outcomes, you need to truly know when you simply need to shift your actions to come from a place of logic rather than emotion. In the Jungle, the animal that survives isn’t the one that drinks first (nature), or the one that doesn’t drink because it worries it will get attacked (fear), it’s the one that knows when, where and how the best way to get a drink is (learned logic)

The natural instincts within us vastly out-numbers logic in day-to-day situations. Even in simple conversations that you might have had.

Was someone really attacking you, or did your natural defences pro-actively kick in?

Was there an alternate solution or even a root cause that you didn’t identify before instincts kicked in?

Does someone really want your business to fail, or are they having an emotional reaction to an interaction?

Fear is our survival auto-pilot and we are historically and naturally tribal beings. And the really trippy thing is that studies have shown that in many people, the fear of a tiger rearing to pounce and the fear of failure both trigger the same biological response mechanisms. Usually to different levels of course – but often not and at any level triggers the same flight or flight response protocols.

Similarly, not having a tribe in days prehistoric (and not even that long ago), meant being an outcast relying on yourself for survival and ultimately and most likely – death. Which leads several people to either strive to ‘conform’, or react extremely to people that they feel even slightly challenge their fears of comfort and survival. The truth is however, these days there has arguably never been a safer time to live. Confronting common convention, risking having to form your own tribe, is no longer life and death. In fact, very little in life is these days.

In a career, in a relationship in a business, the key is learning the mechanism of when to turn off that natural response and apply some hardcore logic. I like to cool things down by getting out my ICER.

Identify – Use the 5 whys – and chances are you will arrive at a route cause. What are you REALLY reacting to? What is the actual event that concerns you? What is the Outcome you need? Sometimes that emotion kicks in and we simply shoot from the hip without actually understanding what has happened.
Cause – What actually caused the item that you have identified? is there more than meets the eye that might have been in the background?
Effect – What is the effect that it’s having, not just for you, but for whoever else is involved?
Response – With all that in mind, what is the most effective response to the above.

A worked example of this can be found in an email that I received recently from a customer that simply read “Disappointed in this SCAM”. My initial reaction was how dare she? What is her problem? How ignorant is she? Defensive to the core. But after a breath:

Identify: The situation wasn’t really about the fact that the person had emailed, it was that something had happened that caused the lady to feel that she needed to reach out. I needed to find out what that situation was.

Cause: I looked into the person’s order to find out what they had purchased and noticed their last purchase was 4 weeks ago so the likelihood was that something hadn’t shown up and they’d grown concerned.

Effect: The effect was the tone of her email and the reaction that I had to receiving it. Other effects would have been that the customer couldn’t use their product, perhaps they were waiting for it to complete particular project. Perhaps it’s caused them additional cost or lost them time.

Response: I was now equipped to realise that an emotional response would have not only have made things worse but was probably unwarranted. I could also use the findings above as a tick list to either pre-empt or find out further information on why they were upset, pre-empt what could have been other emotions involved and focus the outcome towards a helpful one.

Turns out she had simply used an old address (very common I might add!). She has since become a repeat customer and was extremely happy at the resolution of supplying her with a couple of free replacements.

So with that said, to summarise – we are at our core, still quite primitive beings bowing more often than we think to emotions and subconscious concerns of self-preservation. It’s crucial to take command of your mindset before reacting, in order to truly own your outcomes. It’s also equally very important to acknowledge that people you are dealing with – might not have the same ability to do so. Armed with this approach, you have a valuable tool that allows you to run your ICER across the yourself and any other person that you might be dealing with – and identify their view of the world – which will in turn help you craft your reaction to any situation.

It’s worth noting that fear doesn’t necessarily take a physical threat, being or situation to render a response. Have you been putting off a project because you’re scared of the ‘what ifs’? Do you find yourself reacting emotionally to comments, adverts, opportunities? Unless there is an imminent threat i.e.


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