The Caveman is Afraid
To give a couple examples of what I mean…..
1. We were afraid to leave our homes.
The world was a harsh, cruel, place. If you just up and walked off you had a pretty big chance of starving. If you traveled away from the rest of your tribe you had a high chance of getting jumped on by a bear. Without your friends nearby, you were one paw-swat away from being a bloody meal.
2. We were afraid talk with strangers.
If you met humans you didn’t know, there was a pretty good chance they wanted to kill you. They didn’t know you, they were probably with friends themselves, and they could be trying to take your territory or come rob your tribe’s women. Maybe they wanted to be friends, but it was a dog eat dog world out there and it was always better to approach with caution.
3. We were afraid of heights, excitement, thrills, speed, etc.
When we lived in caves, these fears kept us safe! The only way our ancestors could ever experience extreme speeds was when they were falling from somewhere high up (ouch!)! Hunting was a thrill, but it was also a great way to get a horn in your gut. That’s a great way to die slowly from some horrible diseases. In the ancient world, if things ever got too exciting it was a pretty good indicator that somebody was about to get hurt and potentially die. Yes, thrills give you that great adrenaline rush, but for our ancestors they all too often came in the form of a tiger or a stampede of buffalo. Best to keep those to a bare minimum.
All of these adaptations were great for your grandfather five hundred generations removed. They kept him from taking risks that could lead to his death.
It’s a good thing your grandpa was afraid of trekking out alone away from the tribal cave. If he had gone more than a day’s distance alone he would have a good chance of dying hungry with no way to hunt.
Strangers most likely wanted to kill your grandpa and take his precious resources. Good thing he was afraid of them and didn’t just walk up asking to shake hands.
Back then a small cut could mean death. Good thing your grandpa was a little afraid to chase every tiger that strolled by the campfire or he’d have a higher chance of getting clawed to death.
Your grandpa had a lot of fears, and they really helped him stay alive. The world was a very scary place for him. For thousands of years his braid had been formed to be afraid of things that could logically kill him. The brain was a tool, and it had been crafted to perfectly help him make decisions that would lead to his success in the world he had been placed in.
Today, however, the playing field is a different one.
Unfortunately, we’re stuck with largely the same tools that we’ve had for thousands of years.
Is your faulty machinery holding you back? Lets look at the hard facts.
Are you afraid of traveling?
Costs and money aside, does the idea of traveling alone through Europe alone frighten you? Do a ton of what-ifs flood your mind at the thought of you and a backpack in a youth hostel halfway around the world?
If so, you’re being held back back from a potentially amazing experience! Traveling is a great way to find yourself and change as a person. It’s not nearly as risky as most people think it is.
I didn’t know where I was going to stay when I was headed to Pamplona, Spain, for the running of the bulls. The first people I talked to on the train down were firefighters from Las Vegas, and they offered to let me stay with them free of charge. The first people I asked! Why were you afraid again?
Are you afraid of talking with strangers?
Most people are! But in today’s world it goes without saying that this fear is unfounded. It’s dead weight holding you back.
I still feel nervous when going and talking to new people, but I see the feeling for what it is. It’s outdated brain patterns hardwired from generations of humans getting killed when they when to met new people.
Newsflash: Nobody is trying to kill you now!
In business, your inability to talk to strangers will leave you with no connections and nobody to help you out with your next big idea. Crush those butterflies and just go say hi. The person you’re talking to may share a lot of your same values! They may also have some great stories to share, and they may be the reason your next project succeeds. They may also be an a*****e, but either way if you’re afraid to go talk to them you’ll never know.
Do you shy away from thrills, adrenaline, and excitement?
When I was young, my family went camping. At the site was a river, and there was a cliff overlooking this river that you could jump off of for a thrill. Emphasis on ‘could’….. because I didn’t.
My brother was fine jumping again and again, but I just sat on the edge afraid to make the leap.
The third morning we were there, I had had enough. I got my trunks on and went to the cliff. My whole family was just waking up, but I was across the stream climbing my way up the back of the massive boulder. Without thinking too much, I jumped. It wasn’t that bad, and for the rest of the trip I had no fear of the cliff, just like everyone else.
Conquering my fear of that cliff made me grow as a person. I told myself I wasn’t leaving until I conquered my fear, and when I proved that I was serious I gained a sense of confidence that I’m extremely grateful for.
All I had to do was conquer my pesky, caveman brain in order to have this experience. My fear was so deeply engrained it took a lot to get it out.
Be aware of your caveman brain! And be warned!
Know that it is faulty machinery. It is extremely powerful and helpful in most areas of life, but it was built for different times and horribly inadequate for many aspects of your life.
Has your caveman brain held you back in any way recently?
Have old world fears kept you from experiencing the real world around you?
Let me know in the comments below.