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Thinking like the dead

I have seldom seen a time in my life where so many people are hiding from themselves and repress any form of change or growth. I see a sad world where so many people are afraid to ask for things to help their business grow, simply out of a misguided fear of the request being a show of weakness.

All around I see good people pretending to be innovating and growing but all they are doing is treading water to survive, all the while telling me they are moving upward but because there is a recession on, and there is a need to be careful – they can even find reality and facts to substantiate this state of paralysis. They have stopped thinking.

Here’s how I see those people – it’s like watching someone treading water in a shark pool but they refuse to get out of the pool because the time is not right because there is a drought on. Yup it’s not making sense either way is it!

The global citizens and the domesticated primates out there have succumbed to the present media led ‘thinking’ with the added factual – government validated proof of a recession and relentless stories of gloom and hopelessness.  BUT – while the “freezeframe” people float on by, motionless amongst  the opportunities – there are the others who now arrive at my sessions bang on time because they are ready to relearn how to think – and my goodness are they doing well.

The situation reminds me of something that I observed at a time of great turmoil many years ago – one night in the company of 7 seemingly confident well adjusted and trained people, 4 would give up and allow themselves to die the following morning without any other reason than this:- the potential ‘risk’ involved in escaping in the dead of the night was too high to contemplate let alone act upon. To these incredibly versatile people, stress had made them think in such a linear fashion that a guaranteed death was a far safer option than the options that my 2 surviving comrades and I had contemplated and acted upon. When the opportunity arose at 11pm as a tropical rainstorm lashed our compound – we were ready – our minds were ready and the three of us who ‘ran’ have lived, laughed and loved life for another 33 great years since then.

A few weeks ago at our unit reunion – a lady (then a medic – today an esteemed Psych’ Professor in Australia) challenged me with following question, she said; “Gary – mister hotshot coach, explain this – why was a guaranteed death safer than a plan to live? Was that the ultimate cowardice or were they paralysed by the confusion brought on by fear? What could they have been thinking?”

My old friend Morgan got the best answer out before I could – he said this; “Those guys had stopped thinking. They were so afraid of death they had already died, they killed themselves (in their minds) long before our captors got round to executing them”, then he said, “if they had just been given a lesson in being able to think, they would be here with us tonight – with us in this room and not just in our thoughts”.  Yup – a profound observation.

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