You’re boarding a transcontinental flight from New York to San Francisco.
Even though you fly about 50,000 miles each year, this is the first time you notice a fire extinguisher.
You conjure up thoughts of fires at 35,000 feet. You want to flee but you can’t.
You find your seat but now regretting every disaster movie you’ve ever watched; including Snakes on a Plane.
You’re beginning to experience real fear – heading for an anxiety attack.
About 2-hours into the flight you notice smoke coming from one of the overhead bin.
You press your flight attendant call button.
A Flight Attendant arrives at your seat. You point out the smoke. She alerts her flying partners. They go into action.
They’re checking the location. No one has used a fire extinguisher you spied during boarding.
Sweat begins to form on your forehead.
San Francisco is ways to go before landing. Meanwhile, those stupid flight attendants are putzing around.
The flight diverts to Chicago O’Hare.
Before you deplane, you ask the flight attendant why she didn’t use the fire extinguisher?
We couldn’t find the fire, she says.
I was reminded of this story when reading an article about fear. In an attempt to control a group or a situation some may use fear as a tool to provoke a physical reaction.
It seems of all the species in nature only human animals have a visceral response to fear.
Fight or Flight.
A real danger provokes the same fight or flight response as those experiencing fear.
Other animals react to danger.
Some make themselves bigger when they sense danger. Some animals play dead, faint and, or poop. If pushed to their limit, some will attack.
In humans, fear is a mental construct that causes physical results such as confusion or attempted assault.
Prolonged fear leads to mental and physical breakdown.
Immediate danger, not imagined fear leads to injury.
Therefore, we must allay our fears; but respond to danger.
Or like our flight attendants, use the smoke (fear) as a tool to locate the fire (the danger) first.
Fighting smoke or fear is a waste of mental and physical resources.