If you stumbled upon this blog post hoping to find Buddha-like transcending advice on how to delay orgasms, sorry to ruin your curiosity. You can log on to www.sexisnteverything.com and wait for the “Error 404 page not found” gift. Yikes!
While this post isn’t about delaying orgasms, this post will give you control over your explosive primal reflex called emotions!
In April 2018, Mrs Jennair Gerardot a business entrepreneur married over the last 25 years to Mr Gerardot, will go on to execute a calculated murder on Ms Chapman, a communications manager and “supposedly” mistress of her husband. Prior to this devastating incident, her husband, a fond sharer of their undying love on Instagram posted this: “On the personal side, my wife and golden retriever are the centre of my universe and the reason I get up every morning.”
With a Taurus Tracker .357 revolver in hand, she broke into Ms Chapman’s home, waited for her through the door and blaaam! Shooting her dead. She will point the gun towards her own head and blow out her brains at the scene.
Hold on! What I didn’t tell you in the story was the heated texts and emails sent back and forth between the couple. What I didn’t also tell you was- despite their seemly perfect marriage on social media, their marriage was on the brink of divorce.
Why will Mrs Gerardot take such a crucial step in solving marital infidelity with a gun? If that isn’t an appropriate question, then the real question here is, “who controls your brain?”
WHO ACTUALLY CONTROLS YOUR BRAIN?
I like to think I am in control of all my actions – if I decide to snooze some extra minutes in bed on work days it is because I made a choice to. If at the final 5 meters, I decide to walk past an amazing girl approaching down the stairs after gathering much courage to squeeze a hi from my choking larynx, then it’s because “the girl wasn’t really worth it“.
But then, there are moments in my life where certain actions of mine, get me rewriting this script and questioning my control over my actions. At this point, if you are on the same wavelength as me, you probably can recount some dumb shit you did in the past that baffles you. One that gives you an O-moment- “did I really say/do this shit?”. Yes, dumbass, you did! No, maybe you did not!
You see the thought of – I did what I did, boils down much to societal conditioning. Society screws us in many ways. It has in place an imperfect system that requires people to take sole ownership of their actions in order to punish antisocial behaviour. Nonetheless, we know deep down some of the actions we take are not under conscious control aka blame Monsieur Deville. Science calls these actions reflexive or autonomous behaviours.
Some 1000 years ago, Bushman(mankind) had no ice-cream or Instagram or Twitter. He lived with wild beasts that were waiting in the wings to rip his heart out for dinner! He had to be on the most conscious alert. If he was scared, he had to run for his life, if he was angry, he had to be aggressive to remain alpha. Sounds like a broken love story of manliness, huh?
The perfect moment to see these behaviours manifest is when we feel we are in physical danger or threatened emotionally. These signals trigger our biological fight-or-flight response which by the way is a survival mechanism(one, that worked perfectly for Bushman’s survival). By the time the signals get to the parts of our brains that can thoroughly reason about them, our emotional and reflexive brain centres have already shot into action. In other words, you are primed for survival every damn time you are threatened!
As much as this quick gut-level response could be lifesaving, it may not be the perfect response to perceived emotional threats in a psychologically complex world. Mankind isn’t fighting dinosaurs or a Yeti anymore, he is competing with another “enemy”- his fellow human.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Which biological response is the best option for survival? In a psychologically complex world, not all issues can be resolved satisfactorily by following our first biological reaction(fight). Ever had a reckless driver cut across you from a different lane? What is your first reaction? If you are like me, let loose some swear words Jesus won’t be proud of, or like I have seen some people do, chase the other car down and engage in verbal or physical fisticuffs.
The first reaction (fight) is called an amygdala hijacking (limbic abduction) because it is triggered by a small organ within the brain’s limbic system(emotional centre) called the amygdala. The amygdala’s primary function is to signal the adrenal glands when a fear stimulus is triggered to put as into “Bushman” mode aka One Minute Man – primed for action. Strange enough, the amygdala has a secondary and slower connection to the cortex(part of the brain that deals with reasoning and logic).
The second biological reaction(flight), is called “reasoned” reaction. And hell, it is so damn hard. This reaction requires a lot of reasoning, logic and a great deal of being able to think through consequences or consider multiple factors when acting. This doesn’t come easy to everyone, as we are all different people with different backgrounds and personalities. This means some people have to work harder than others to develop their “reasoned” reactions.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR “REASONED” REACTION
If you have made it this far, I presume you probably have issues just like I did and still do sometimes with overcoming my One minute Man(OMM).
Powerful people have ruined their careers, opportunities have passed people by and a ton of beautiful relationships ruined just because they couldn’t control their One Minute Man.
Harvard University neurology professor Rudy Tanzi recommends a four-step process to handle situations in which we are in the thrall of a limbic abduction:
•Stop yourself from doing what your initial reaction dictated.
•Take a deep breath.
•Become aware of how you are feeling.
•Recall a past event that gave you a feeling of happiness and peace
Bernard Roth, The Achievement Habit
Practising self-awareness is a crucial habit you will have to keep in your mental hack toolbox. Don’t fight the first reaction. All it takes is to ask yourself “what am I feeling now?”
Take the answer OMM gives you. Then ask the OMM, “Why am I feeling this way?”. Accept the answer. Don’t argue. Then ask OMM, “What should I do?” Take its answer.
Then finally ask it, “What will happen if I take this action?” And listen to its answer.
You will realize within the timeframe it takes to ask your OMM and seek answers, you would have regained some level of self-awareness and seen the bigger picture(consequences) which in turn will affect your course of action. A big hack!
Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Cheers.