Tell me more?
I had an opportunity recently to try on a VR virtual reality headset. It was amazing how quickly my brain adapted to the images and within moments I was faced with the virtual image of standing on a cliff edge with that tiny part of my brain that experiences fear at DEFCON 1 (that’s the serious one – I checked). That led me to wonder how often in the course of a working day are we subject to virtual or false triggers. The classic “You’re wanted in the office” is sure to trigger the most confident of us. The anticipatory anxiety of an upcoming presentation can reduce us to quivering wrecks and being on the receiving end of a passive-aggressive colleague who sends us to “Coventry” can suck the joy from life.
When you read the work of, for example, American neuroendocrinologist Dr Robert Sapolsky you will find that we are unique as a species in our ability to generate our own anxieties and be affected by a thought that hasn’t happened, it not happening and is unlikely to happen. We can be victims of our own virtual realities. I regularly work with people who have a fear of flying. It’s been a passion of mine for the last ten years and over that time over 3,000 people have shared the anxieties they can generate in their minds and bodies with the onset or even the threat of turbulence, while their fellow passengers sleep, read or watch a film.
So, here’s an idea for today. If you find yourself triggered by something you read or hear, pause, check the reality of the situation and if you can, BE CURIOUS. Ask the source of your trigger to “Tell me More?” and then react accordingly, more data will always help. If that call to the office is because you are in trouble then at least you will be fully present to deal with it rather than being in an altered state.