Flight or Flight: How Do You Decide?
“Life is like a bear!
You either eat the bear or the bear eats you!”
~Mr. Shorofsky of the TV show Fame
If you remember the eighties TV show Fame, you may recall one episode when Mr. Shorofsky, a teacher, says this to his talented violin student. I can still remember the staccato way he barked out the words; words which stayed with me all these years.
I do not believe that life itself is like a bear though at times situations we face may feel that way. When I feel overwhelmed by something in life, it helps me to imagine an adversary and then deny him victory. Having something to fight puts the fight in me. In challenging times we have two choices; we can choose to fight or we can choose to flee.
There were times in my life when I conceded defeat, though I wouldn’t ever call it that, and moved on to something new. When it felt right to make a change, I trusted that feeling and followed it. The decision to accept the end of one thing and move on has always proven to be an eventual victory for me. I guess it depends on how you look at it.
At other times, I continued to fight even though the odds were stacked high against me. Sometimes it was just that last push that made a difference, that not-giving-up-moment which defined the hard-won victory. Pushing through challenges to find creative solutions is gratifying and fun. Sometimes, however, we continue to expend energy in a situation long past the moment when we should have let it go.
I’m learning. When deciding whether to continue to fight a personal or a business battle rather than flee from it I ask myself these five questions:
1) How badly do I want the outcome I am fighting for?
2) What feels (gut level) right to me right now?
3) Is there a good reason this is not working out; could it just be time to move on?
4) Do I have the resources to keep up the fight?
5) Do I believe I can win?
How do you deal with challenges in your life? What strategies help you to know what to do? Fight or flight: how do you decide?
photo credit: Julie LeBlanc