Episode 048 – Labels, Fear, and the Stress Response on Steroids

When faced with fight, flight or faith, which will you choose?  Why we label others instead of seeing their true humanity.


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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – Playing “Whack-a-Mole” at Work
Random Riffs – A Window Into Brain Cells and a Melody
Feature Segment – Labels, Fear, and the Stress Response on Steroids

Rhythm of Life – Playing “Whack-a-Mole” at Work

Have you ever felt as though you solved a problem, were getting somewhere, and then you found out that you were playing “whack-a-mole” and hadn’t realized it?

That’s what’s been going on at work.  We’re trying to solve a pretty big business problem using technology.  A problem that has existed for a very long time, and continues to grow as time passes without a solution.

Every time we come up with another plan, we get WHACKED.

At the end of another very long week where it felt like everyone else we knew had the mallet and it was trained on us, we regrouped over drinks at an outdoor park.  We are tired.  We are frustrated.  We are feeling like we’ve been whacked.  So now what?

Talking about our whackedness helps only for a few minutes.  Ignoring it doesn’t do any good, either.  What DOES help in this situation?  Listen to the episode to find out.

Random Riffs – A Window Into Brain Cells and a Melody

Yale University researchers have developed a method to picture synapses in living brains.  Using a PET scan and a new radioactive compound called a tracer, scientists can see your brain’s synapses light up.  They still have a long way to go before it’s totally useful.  It could eventually result in massive breakthroughs in research into all kinds of diseases affecting the brain – epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and more.  Here’s the article.

That got me thinking: what if they composed music to match the pattern in the different synapses?

Now imagine that by writing music that matched the normal synapses in that person’s brain, it could regrow and strengthen them.  Reprogram it, so to speak.  Music as medicine.   Wouldn’t THAT be cool?

I don’t know if it’s possible in my lifetime.  Or ever.  Bravo to all who dare to think and dream beyond anything that’s been done before.

Feature Segment – Labels, Fear, and the Stress Response on Steroids

What do Tommy Hilfiger, Donald Trump, Ralph Lauren, and Hilary Clinton have in common?  They are labels.  What is a label?  Something that encapsulates what we know about or how we see what is behind the label.  In essence, it is a short-cut

What about these labels?

  • Black Man
  • Policeman
  • Illegal

We don’t know their names.  Or even if we do, we don’t care.  We don’t see them as complex human beings.  We only see the label.  And yet each person is more than their labels.  More than their names.

Is labeling something new?  No.  It’s just more obvious because of social and other media.  It’s easier to engage in this labeling behavior than ever before.

Why does labeling happen?

Our brains try to interpret everything that comes in and determine if it is safe or not.  The faster the better, as a quick assessment can mean survival.  This interpretation is instinctive.

In ancient times, we banded together in tribes to protect us from danger.  We used our instincts to decide whether a wild animal or neighboring tribe was dangerous or not.  And we still do this today.  There are times when it is appropriate, and times when it isn’t necessary.  Like when judging presidential candidates.  They may make our lives easier or more difficult, but they aren’t going to kill us.

What makes us different from the animals?  We can choose to see the human behind the label.  But so often we don’t.  We let our primitive brain decide for us.  And that divides us.

Often it takes a leader to make us see that we need to stop judging one another and start trusting.  People like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, or Jesus.  They treated every human being with dignity, as fully human.

What did it take for them to live this way?  –Faith in the face of fear.  A conscious human choice to not let instinct rule them.  A decision to treat the “other” as their brother or sister.  Faith expressed through love.

What would our lives look like if we lived by that same kind of faith?

A perfect example of faith expressing itself through love is with the Free Hugs Guy.

So, what’s it going to be for you?……Fight?  Flight?  Or Faith?  I choose faith.  Who’s with me?  Leave a comment below, and share this episode with a friend.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.