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Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
They say about many books that they are able to save your life. In the case of this one – such statement is literally true. Because “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker is a self-help book which aims to teach you how you can use your gut instinct to avoid violence, trauma, and pain.
About Gavin de Becker
Gavin de Becker is a specialist in violence and security issues, and the founder and CEO of Gavin de Becker & Associates. He is the mind behind the MOSAIC Threat Assessment System, currently used by many police and enforcing services in the U.S., including some parts of the U.S. federal government itself.
He is the author of three more books: “Protecting the Gift,” “Fear Less,” and “Just 2 Seconds.”
“The Gift of Fear PDF Summary”
We can’t always be angels: it seems that violence is still an inherent part of the human nature.
Fortunately, so are gut instinct and fear, shaped and evolved through millions of years of trial-and-errors and experiences.
Take, for example, police officers Michael Cantrell and David Patrick; while the former believes in intuition, the latter considers it nonsense. One day they stop a car with three men inside it. Cantrell notices that the two men sitting on the backseat are refusing to make any eye contact with them.
Even before his rational mind is able to process the information, he has a feeling that something is wrong. Patrick doesn’t: he calmly smokes his pipe, while Cantrell cautiously examines the passengers. Unsurprisingly, he discovers a gun; fortunately, before it is used.
Few years later, Patrick is shot in a similar situation. He survives, but this situation shows us why that happened to him and not to Cantrell.
Simply put, the ones who follow their intuition are less likely to be victims. True, they may make a mistake – but, at least, they will remain safe.
Charming people, for example, are usually great seducers. Nothing wrong with that, right? However, if they are also rapists and murderers, their seductive charm is as dangerous as a gun.
Fortunately, our intuition is capable of differentiating between natural and artificial appeal. And, usually, in the second case, it tries to warn us before it’s too late. Sometimes it may be wrong, but that’s a risk you should always take.
Because, your intuition is great at reading body language.
Let’s try and make your reason as great!
It’s easy, since there are at least three universal giveaways: a jutting chin, flaring nostrils, and unblinking eyes. These are all usually preludes to violence. So, if you notice them in someone – be careful!
But be wary of other – even more obvious – signals as well.
For example, the shooting at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in 1992 would have probably been prevented if at least one of few people followed up their gut feeling with a call to the police.
Wayne Lo, 18 at the time, received a package from “Classic Arms” at the school. And even though the school’s receptionist searched through it and discovered that it contained 7.62 caliber ammunition, the dean (and many other people) dismissed the threat when Lo claimed that the package was a gift for his father.
Lo shot two people dead and wounded four more the following day.
Key Lessons from “The Gift of Fear PDF”
1. Be Aware of Body Language and Forced Teaming
2. There’s a Way to Tell If a Bomb Threat Is Real or Not
3. Don’t Get Addicted to the Cycle of Abuse: Tell Someone
Be Aware of Body Language Forced Teaming
Antelopes are not nearly as smart as humans, but they seem to know better than us to detect danger. The sad thing is that we may be just as good as them – but we ignore the signals.
And there are many. For example, jutting jaws, flaring nostrils and unblinking eyes are almost certain leadups to violence. Also, something the police calls “forced teaming,” i.e. someone trying to befriend you in a forceful manner.
Even if it is to get you to write him a paper for free – of course he has an agenda!
There’s a Way to Tell If a Bomb Threat Is Real or Not
Bomb threats are fairly common, but in most of these cases, there are actually no bombs involved. The goal of the perpetrator is usually to cause panic.
So, don’t give him the pleasure when you are able to call the bluff!
And there are few ways to tell. The main: if the caller uses dramatic or aggressive voice and/or he’s overly emotional, he’s probably harmless. The real threat comes from very patient, rational and usually smart men who can organize things well.
After all, remember the Unabomber?
Don’t Get Addicted to the Cycle of Abuse: Tell Someone
There’s something psychologist call “The Stockholm Syndrome.” It’s actually an unconscious survival strategy: hostages side with their captors.
Almost the exact same thing happens in cases of domestic violence. Victims numb down their instinct and fear, confusing the non-violent periods for kindness.
Don’t ever allow this to happen. One time is more than enough.
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