A friend of mine shared some great thoughts last night while he was high. You’ve always got to listen to that advice. Chris Rose, a fellow martial artist, is recovering from a graphic clavicle surgery repair and even while faded on Percocet has brilliant knowledge. “Sometimes a lion wants to take out another lion to become Alpha of the pride.” In which case, he said sometimes you want to be a mouse. Brilliantly put. So to follow up to the (BODY LANGUAGE LION GAZELLE BLOG) here we go,
Yes, there are times when you need to be invisible. There are times when being visible and available at all can get you bit in the ass. So if Lion and Mouse are the illustration we are using, I would like to amend the mouse to a New York, street wise hood rat instead. Never do you need to be a small crushable door mouse but there are CERTAINLY times that being a skittering and stealthy rat will serve you well.
When do you need to be a rat and when do you need to be a lion?This is based off of two things, the situation and your experience. Remember, we are designed to survive. Our brain is hard wired to help us out. Our brain has bad ass little chemical communicators called neurotransmitters that do everything from make us feel in love to make us shut down and freak out. They also help when were assessing the dangerous situations in front of us.
Serotonin and Cortisol is where we will start. When we encounter a potentially threatening situation our brain scans all of our memories in seconds. It’s looking for evidence about whether you can survive the situation or not. Based off of that scan and the evidence, your brain releases one of two neurotransmitters. Cortisol is released when the situation seems dire. When your inexperience will get you killed. Here, you need to be a Rat, you need to figure a way out. Now, if you size up the situation and your brain deduces you can take this guy on, then you get flooded with Serotonin. Serotonin boosts confidence. It becomes your hype man. I mean, if you’ve already decided you have to fight this guy and believe you can win, you’re gonna want that guy in your ear telling you how super human you are. You’re gonna need that after you get a stiff jab to the teeth.
If you are a Rat (don’t take it personal, those are some crafty little bastards) how to do you avoid combat in order to stay live? Doc Thompson in his book, Verbal Judo, recounts, as many other psychologists would, that empathy absorbs tension. You need to sound like a sweet understanding little mouse (or like a wonderful and loving grandma) but be thinking like a shrewd rat (or like a manipulative car salesman). You need to be using language to get your needs met. Your body language should look non threatening, passive, neutral (not afraid or scared). And you should be thinking ahead 3 steps. Find your exits, get distance between you and the threat, locate your allies. I visited Cedar Cove in Louisburg Kansas, a big cat sanctuary. They explicitly tell you not to run by the lion enclosures. It gets ’em excited. So think rat, you need to skulk out unnoticed. Remember, your goal is safety and survival.
Guys, based off of cultural norms, will the hardest time doing this. Guys have a difficult time recognizing that they aren’t the baddest lion out there. And this can get you killed. You need to know when you are going to lose the battle and learn to be ok with losing sometimes. Suck it up and get some self esteem. Your sense of self should not crumble because you decide to be strategic and fade into the background every now and then. You should have enough going on personally, that this “loss” (which isn’t really a loss but rather a calculated decision) isn’t going to be what defines you. You need to be more than any one situation. And if you’re arguing with your computer right now, read some more of my blogs. Lets see if we can build up who you are and make you confident enough to know that not getting into a fight with a lion is sometimes the best decision. Don’t give that lion another notch in his furry belt.
Women tend to fair better at acknowledging when they cannot win a fight. But they don’t always view this as power. It is an extremely powerful ability to size up the enemy. And it’s an extremely useful tool if you know how to turn it on. Realizing you’re in over you head can feel like a defeat and may place you into a victim paradigm. Don’t let it. How do you kill a bear? You sure as hell would lose if you tried to get in a fist/paw fight. But humans have killed plenty of bears (insert depressing bear killing statistics here). How? We use our brains. We realize that fighting a bear with our hands is a fight that we won’t win. It would be stupid to try. It’s healthy to make the same simple conclusion about the person/persons in front of us. Dumb is dumb regardless of the species. Follow your neurotransmitters, those little guys are smart.