Thursday, March 30, 2017

Human's Defense Mechanisms: Fight or Flight

By: Charlie Gipple, CLU®, ChFC®, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC

For our ancestors to have survived prehistoric/ancient frightening predators and harsh environments, we as humans have been given built-in defense mechanisms that have never left our DNA. Paradoxically, these same defense mechanisms are instilled in our clients’ brains and can be counterproductive to making wise financial decisions today. For instance, picture yourself about 14,000 years ago walking through the woods with your spear searching for food. Suddenly, from behind, you hear a low growl, a few thunderous footsteps, and you turn to see a saber-toothed tiger upon you. 

What goes through your mind at this point in time? Are you looking at this saber-toothed tiger and calculating the distance between you and him versus the distance between you and shelter? Do you calculate how fast you can run versus how fast he can run and then decide the success rate of escaping as this tiger’s lunch? Maybe you are calculating in your mind the odds of going head-to-head with him? In other words, are you making a left brain analytical decision at this point in time? No you’re not! Nobody can be that cool, calm and collected to make a left brain rational calculation in times of severe stress.

Conversely, this is what is happening. Your brain is moving to the tune of 268 miles per hour, and it’s telling your pituitary gland to secrete adrenaline immediately into the bloodstream. This shot of adrenaline increases your blood pressure, increases your heart rate, and actually increases the blood flow to the muscles, thus making you far athletically superior than before getting this shot of adrenaline. This “fight or flight” mechanism is what allows us a fighting chance of surviving that saber-toothed tiger. A similar example would be: we have all heard stories of a distressed mother pulling a car off her baby. Adrenaline and “fight or flight” is a powerful thing. This right brained “fight or flight” capability is biological and has been given to us by our creator. It is what has been happening in our brains since the very beginning of our existence. This is why we exist versus being extinct by dinosaurs or a saber-toothed tiger. It is what we are born with and it stays with us until the day we die.

Find out about the seven secrets: primacy bias, storytelling, simplification, power in the pen, feel/felt/found, confidence and recency bias...

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For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers.