Monday, September 12, 2011

Not the event but the reaction

Death is something we all know will occur yet, whenever it happens to a loved one, it is always heart wrenching. Over recent months 3 of my friends have had their wives die and other friends had their baby twins die a few days after birth. Although I have experienced bereavement in the death of my parents, I have never experienced what these people are going through and I marvel at the dignity and courage they showed at funerals and elsewhere.

Someone once said words to the effect of "life is what happens to you when you're doing something else." I take that to mean that no matter how organised and controlled you are; no matter what plans you may have made or are implementing; no matter what you may think or believe, there will always be things happening that are unexpected and, possibly, unwanted. I know from bitter experience just how easy it is to react inappropriately when bad things hit you out of the blue.

I've thought a lot about this over the past weekend as we've all remembered the events of 9/11 in 2001. It was a world changing event that caused huge reactions at least in the USA, the UK, and Australia. Some of these reactions were appropriate - the grief, the changing of laws to ensure that everything relating to terrorism was a criminal offence, and the heightening of public awareness of risk. But other of our reactions went too far - certainly that would apply to laws which remove basic rights and which cut across ordinary common law civil liberties. This morning's news report in which the most senior military officer in the USA spoke of the "vengeance" (his word not mine) being exacted for 9/11 also falls into this area.

One of the things that makes us human is our ability to control how we react to both the good and the bad when it hits us. With the bad, its easy to stay in "the red zone" and then find that we are exacerbating rather than resolving the situation. I suspect we're doing that with the issue of terrorism.

Shifting our brain's locus of control from the red zone to the blue zone enables higher level learning to take place. Operating in the blue zone also enables us to examine things in a way that encourages creative and innovative solutions to replace past inappropriate actions. Our emotions remain the same - the way we handle these emotions changes.

I've watched 4 families handle tragedy recently. I admire the blue zone control each has shown. Would that we had more blue zone control in the wider spheres of local and international business, social, diplomatic and all other arenas.

What do you think?

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