Intuition heeded is far more valuable than simple knowledge. Intuition is a gift we all have, whereas retention of knowledge is a skill. Rare is the expert who combines an informed opinion with a strong respect for his own intuition and curiosity.
In The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence, Gavin De Becker shares some great insights on how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it’s too late, how most violent acts are predictable, the need to follow your intuition more often. Gavin De Becker is the founder, and chairman of Gavin de Becker and Associates, Gavins’ firm predicts human behavior, behavior in one category mostly: violence.
The basic premise of the book: Listen to your intuition more, and the gift of fear can save your life. In the book, Gavin shows how intuition works for you, and how denial works against you, how fear can be central to your safety, but is frequently misplaced. He also explores the role of threats in our lives and show how you can tell the difference between a real warning and mere words.
Every type of con relies upon distracting us from the obvious
Here are my favourite take aways from reading the The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker:
- 20 percent of all homicides are committed by strangers. The other 80 percent are committed by people we know.
- More Americans died from gunshot wounds than were killed during the entire Vietnam War. By contrast, in all of Japan (with a population of 120+ million people), the number of young men shot to death in a year is equal to the number killed in New York City in a single busy weekend.
- Denial has an interesting and insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn’t so, the fall they take when victimized is far, far greater than that of those who accept the possibility.
- Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level, and it causes a constant low-grade anxiety. Millions of people suffer that anxiety, and denial keeps them from taking action that could reduce the risks (and the worry).
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level, and it causes a constant low-grade anxiety.
- The human violence we abhor and fear the most, that which we call “random” and “senseless,” is neither. It always has purpose and meaning, to the perpetrator, at least. We may not choose to explore or understand that purpose, but it is there, and as long as we label it “senseless,” we’ll not make sense of it.
- We want to believe that human violence is somehow beyond our understanding, because as long as it remains a mystery, we have no duty to avoid it, explore it, or anticipate it. We need to feel no responsibility for failing to read signals if there are none to read. We can tell ourselves that violence just happens without warning, and usually to others, but in service of these comfortable myths, victims suffer and criminals prosper.
The truth is that every thought is preceded by a perception, every impulse is preceded by a thought, every action is preceded by an impulse, and man is not so private a being that his behavior is unseen, his patterns undetectable.
“root of the word intuition, tuere, means “to guard, to protect.”
Intuition heeded is far more valuable than simple knowledge. Intuition is a gift we all have, whereas retention of knowledge is a skill.
Rare is the expert who combines an informed opinion with a strong respect for his own intuition and curiosity
- Just as we look to government and experts, we also look to technology for solutions to our problems, but you will see that your personal solution to violence will not come from technology. It will come from an even grander resource that was there all the while, within you. That resource is intuition.
- Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature. Freed from the bonds of judgment, married only to perception, it carries us to predictions we will later marvel at. “Somehow I knew,” we will say about the chance meeting we predicted, or about the unexpected phone call from a distant friend, or the unlikely turnaround in someone’s behavior, or about the violence we steered clear of, or, too often, the violence we elected not to steer clear of. “Somehow I knew…”.
Intuition is our most complex cognitive process and at the same time the simplest.
It is knowing without knowing why.
Predicting Human Behaviour
The single most important tool of any prediction: pre-incident indicators.
- We get indicators/warning signs before the real incidents happen. It might be a threat by a wife threatening to kill her husband or an intuitive signal that something is wrong before the real violence occurs, the gut feeling, the feeling itself is the warning sign, we second guess ourselves even when we have a hairy feeling.
Men at their core believe women will laugh at them while Women believe men will kill them.
- Stepping on the first rung of a ladder is a significant pre-incident indicator to reaching the top; stepping on the sixth even more so. Since everything a person does is created twice—once in the mind and once in its execution—ideas and impulses are pre-incident indicators for action.
Everything a person does is created twice—once in the mind and once in its execution—ideas and impulses are pre-incident indicators for action.
- Even when intuition speaks in the clearest terms, even when the message gets through, we may still seek an outside opinion before we’ll listen to ourselves.
- We tend to give our full attention to risks that are beyond our control (air crashes, nuclear-plant disasters) while ignoring those we feel in charge of (dying from smoking, poor diet, car accidents), even though the latter are far more likely to harm us.
How do you find them before they victimize someone?
- With animals, it depends on perspective: The kitten is a monster to the bird, and the bird is a monster to the worm. With man, it is likewise a matter of perspective, but more complicated because the rapist might first be the humid forests. You find them at the mall, at the school, in the town or city with the rest of us”
- When you can find no other common ground to aid in your predictions, remember that the vast majority of violent people started as you did, felt what you felt, wanted what you want. The difference is in the lessons they learned in childhood.
- The capable face-to-face criminal is an expert at keeping his victim from seeing survival signals, but the very methods he uses to conceal them can reveal them.
- Forced teaming is an effective way to establish premature trust because a we’re-in-the-same-boat attitude is hard to rebuff without feeling rude. The detectable signal of forced teaming is the projection of a shared purpose or experience where none exists: “Both of us;” “we’re some team;” “how are we going to handle this?;” “now we’ve done it,” etc.”.
Defence for Forced Teaming
- The simple defense for forced teaming, which is to make a clear refusal to accept the concept of “partnership: “I did not ask for your help and I do not want it.
Charm and Niceness
- Charm is almost always a directed instrument, which, like rapport-building, has motive. To charm is to compel, to control by allure or attraction. Think of charm as a verb, not a trait.
- Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait.
- People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport-building, charm and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.”
Niceness does not equal Goodness.
Too Many Details
- When people are telling the truth, they don’t feel doubted, so they don’t feel the need for additional support in the form of details. When people lie, however, even if what they say sounds credible to you, it doesn’t sound credible to them, so they keep talking.”
- The defense is to remain consciously aware of the context in which details are offered. The defense for too many details is simple: bring the context into conscious thought.
Context is always apparent at the start of an interaction and usually apparent at the end of one, but too many details can make us lose sight of it.
- Typecasting always involves a slight insult, and usually one that is easy to refute. But since it is the response itself that the typecaster seeks, the defense is silence, acting as if the words weren’t even spoken.
- If you engage, you can win the point, but you might lose something greater. Not that it matters what some stranger thinks anyway, but the typecaster doesn’t even believe what he says is true. He just believes that it will work.
- The more traditional loan shark gladly lends one amount but cruelly collects much more. Likewise, the predatory criminal generously offers assistance but is always calculating the debt.
- The defense is to bring two rarely remembered facts into consciousness: He approached me, and I didn’t ask for any help.
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.