Wednesday, January 16, 2013


By: William G. Muir
Such simple advice, but how many of us follow it? How many of us are willing to just throw in the towel when the going gets to be too much for us to handle? Just keep swinging. It sounds so easy. It seems like the most logical thing in the world. Yet for too many people they would rather retreat when things become difficult rather than stand up and fight for those things that are the most important for them. Life is the most amazing gift we will ever receive, but there are those that are willing to give up on it. 

Should we be surprised that there are those that give up so easily? Hardwired into our brains, in every creature's brain is the fight or flight instinct. In a moment when an animals life is being threaten that animal must make a decision; are the benefits of staying and fighting so great that it worth putting ones life on the line. If not then fleeing is the greater option. It allows for the individual the chance to preserve its genes and pass them along to the next generations. The benefit for staying and fighting has to be tremendous to override this bit of evolutionary programming. 

For the most part us humans do not live with such life or death choice. Unless you are member of  a hunter/gatherer tribe in such places as Australia, Africa or South America. For those of us that are not hunting to survive day to day our flight or fight instinct has adapted to fit the world we live in. We no longer weigh the outcome of a situation on the basis on whether or not we will pass on our genetic material to future generations. Our benefits in the modern world now concern how will I get a fancier car; how do I climb the corporate ladder; how do I attract as many mates as I possibly can (for sex that does not involve a reproductive purposes). 

In the end so many of us are willing to choose flight instead of fight because our goals are so superficial. We live in a consumer world were in most of the items we consume have any no major importance in our lives. Very few of us find ourselves in situations that put our lives on the line. We live in a world of plenty. So much so that we even have safety nets for people that fall on hard times. Sure some people fall through the cracks here or there but for the most part people in the industrialized world have it much better than our ancestors did. 

In today's world it means more to take risk. Our hunter/gatherer forebearers took risk in order to survive. For them the benefits were great enough to put their lives on the line. What we need to embrace is taking risk for risk sake. We need to learn to appreciate that rewards that come from just accomplishing goals we set out for ourselves. Not every challenge that we encounter in our lives is about receiving a prize at the end. We should faces these challenges head on because whether we fail or succeed is not the important thing. What is important is that we learn something from these experiences and that we grow as a person. 

So keep on swinging. No matter what life throws at you do not shy away from it. Sure you might lose in the end, but you will never have a chance of winning if you never try.      

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