I've been super busy, I've been traveling on the road. I'm actually currently in Dorado, Puerto Rico, it's beautiful out here. I probably spending more time in the future in Puerto Rico. A lot of interesting developments in business in human performance. Stay tuned, a lot of exciting announcement in the coming weeks and months. But of course, one of the most important things is to have this conversation, especially diving into a topic that a lot of my friends, whether they're up and coming entrepreneurs, professionals, athletes, high performance folks, folks like yourself listening to a human performance podcast. One of the things I'm sure we always discuss and think about and reanalyze. And re-underwrite is our mindset, our approach in terms of how we deal with challenges, how we deal with setbacks, how we deal with insults.


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So for this Free Fatty Friday, I'm gonna give you a sneak peek of behind the scenes look, in terms of how I've come up with a theory and framework of how I deal with challenges, with setbacks, with insults. And I feel like I've done pretty well in my career in terms of the things I've been able to accomplish. And I ascribe a lot of that success, and hopefully much larger success to come towards my mindset. Now, as you know, I like to couch my frameworks, my theories, in biology and in anthropology. And in history, I'm going to talk about the underlying anthropology, the evolutionary biology, of what the fight or flight response, a sympathetic nervous response is to an insult or attack. Why that was useful ancestrally. And then re-underwrite are those behaviors, those instincts that were programmed, hundreds, if not millions, of years ago, through precursors to Homosapiens, do those same response actually apply today in the modern economy, the modern scenarios and modern challenge sets.

So I like to build up the theories and then the applications from a grounded scientific lens. And then we can talk about application. So this sounds a little bit abstract. But I hope, after this conversation after this Free Fatty Friday, you'll have a better understanding of your own internal psychology, your own internal fear response, be able to step outside of that analyze if it's a good or poor response, and then from there become what I call a Jedi Master, or Zen Buddhist, enlightened monk, or someone who is impossible to mentally break. And it's not to say that I am unbreakable. That is the aspiration we all hope to achieve. But hopefully, through this conversation, I gave you some theory and some touch points on how to build that mental resilience. Let's dive into it.

So why do we have a fear response? Let's just answer that the basic question of fear response happens when we have a threat to our lives. So in ancestral humanity, in early hominids. may be precursors to early mammals, even earlier precursors to reptiles, at some point there's a nervous system. And at some point, it was evolutionarily advantageous to have this flight or fight response to an external exogenous attack. And oftentimes, this is a predator coming to eat you, or someone coming to attack and take your means of survival. So that's like a hyena taking out lions kill, or that's antelope being chased down by saber toothed tiger. And this evolutionary response was a high sympathetic nervous response, a cortisol spike, adrenaline spike, you often will get flushed, emotional fired up, ready to go. And this is evolutionarily advantageous in a physical confrontation. You want to almost shut off all cerebral thought you are fighting for your life, or you're ready to sprint and run away from the danger. And this was a successful adaptation, given this evolutionary algorithm.  If this is not a beneficial adaptation, but we likely wouldn't necessarily have this be a shared response across so many different types of animals, right? Like post facto, we look at the experiment that's run through evolution through history and realize that this fear response, the sympathetic nervous system is consistent with humans as well as a lot of different types of mammals, animals. So this turbo mode of physical danger, and dumping physical extra boosts or extra power, very advantageous in a physical confrontation.

Now, what are the trade offs? Right? Everything in biology has a trade off. I'm always very skeptical when there's a free lunch. So what happens? Well, when you are in this flight or flight scenario, the brain shuts down a lot of its neocortex, it’s a logical, rational, strategic side of the mind. And this is a valuable trade off, because if you are going to die or get killed in the next two minutes, well, there's nothing to plan for in the next two months, two years, two decades. So the strategic rational logical side of your brain shuts down to maximally create a probability of you surviving the next two minutes, we are fighting or fleeing for your life.

So this notion was very, very useful for me, as I've developed in my career, when I will have this sympathetic nervous system response to all sorts of business or startup, or emotional or economic negotiations or challenges, setbacks and business, setbacks and product, setbacks in the modern economy, and the brain has not evolved quick enough to realize that, the insult that cycle, that insult that is threatening you, is not a physical danger, it's actually a psychological insult. But the brain has not evolved quick enough to realize that the response mechanism should maybe be different, we have actually the same exact fear response, when someone actually attacks you physically, or insults you through the internet, or has a competitor in terms of a business challenge, or a contract dispute, or a lawsuit, or some kind of psychological attack, we actually have, if you think about it, the same exact physiological sympathetic fight or flight response. And that has put me in earlier my career in a very, very suboptimal spots because the proper response to a psychological attack or an economic attack or a financial attack, and let's be real in capitalism in competition attack might be a very aggressive word, but a capture the point which is that there is some sort of insult some sort of competition that's looking to take something away from you. So our animal brain, our reptilian brains, like, Oh, this is an attack, let's turn on flight or flight.

Now, for this is bit me in the butt, in the past is that I would be making rash, emotional, sympathetic nervous system type decisions in the moment. And what I have grown and have experience and wisdom now is realizing that the attacks that we confront with, and the setbacks that we're confronted with every single day, especially in a country like America, especially if our  livelihoods deal with business, or entrepreneurship, or athletics, or sports or high performance, the stakes are not life and death, literally to your physical body. They're life or death attacks on your business, which is a psychological construct. This is not your physical being. This is a psychological entity that we've created through this legal and governmental corporate infrastructure. So my proposition here is that we need to really disambiguate the type of fear response because, yes, I am very fortunate that I hope I never run into a situation where I am physically fearing for my life, and I need to physically fight for my life. If that is the case, yes, you want to optimize your outcome for surviving those two minutes, and hopefully we'll eliminate that threat. We can talk about preparation, there's more experts that can talk about physically defending yourself, but in business, my wheelhouse or value creation intellectual pursuits. What I've realized is that these are never decisive two minute battles. For example, a lawsuit is going to take two three years to take unfold. A business plan takes years to unfold, and negotiation on a contract takes weeks, if not months, if not years to unfold, and understanding that the usual challenges that we have our psychological means that we need to have a different response.

So what I've come to implement is realizing that I need to turn off the instinctual flight or flight response and turn on the neocortex, the cerebral, the strategic, the patient, really, really take a deep breath, slow things down, and be cold, logical in the response, rather than fiery and fight back instantly. Because the response to a lawsuit or response to a bad business deal or response negotiation is not to get into a physical fight or run away. It's against the back, understanding strategic map of all the possible options in which to play, and then making the cold logical decision on how to best resource allocate your time, your energy, your mindset, and the team around you.

So I think the very best of us, the people that thrive under stress, can have this calm, cool, collected demeanor, and the most stressful of times. Some of us might be born with this resilience. But I think most of us have to be trained and have to have setbacks and losses and ELLs to really build up that confidence in realizing and understanding what it's like to be fearful. Because as an entrepreneur, as someone that's built products, and companies with my bare hands, sometimes insulting an attack on your business, or your product, or your social media presence, your identity feels like an attack on your life, it feels that personal. And what I've come to realize is that the best response is not to lean into the fiery sympathetic nervous system response. But it's to take a deep breath, slow things down and become strategic. Because we are no longer in the animal kingdom, we're in the modern economy where intellectual warfare conquers physical warfare for most 99% the problem that we're facing, look, if someone's on the street, if someone's literally my mug, attacking physically, of course, that's why you have to have physical prowess, physical defense mechanisms and strategies in place, I think it's a very sensible thing to do. But 99% of the challenges that you or I face, and again, we were very lucky to have this position of where we're now fearing for our physical integrity on daily basis. These are psychological stressors, right? This is a job promotion. This is a business negotiation. This is trying to negotiate for a raise, or a better contract deal, or to avoid a lawsuit or engage in a lawsuit. These are not going to be resolved in a two-minute battle. And these are routine battles that take an extended period of time. And the best way to win those battles is to be a zen, enlightened, calm, calculating, cold, logical strategist.

So that's been a key part of my workflow, my mindset, as I've kept progressing and learning more and growing, as a scientist, as an inventor, as an entrepreneur, as someone that's traveling along the short time we have on this planet. And I think part of how you come to learn some of these things and learn them viscerally. And not just through a podcast or through a conversation, is taking some losses taking in being the situations where you can start really sensing, oh, this is a psychological attack. But I'm having a very physiological response is this output optimal, right? Like if you've never been in a challenging setback scenario, you can likely intellectually understand what I'm saying. But the fear response is constricting the emotional response is real, it really takes over your mind. So if we have not lived through it, it's hard to implement. It's hard to take these English words through audio or through video and internalize it into the raw firiness of the fight or flight response that we were evolved in has been so successful in previous antagonistic encounters. So my point here is that if you live a life where there's never an intact, antagonistic conversation, all credit to you, like you must be living a very blessed life. But if there's something that you want to achieve, there's something that you want to build something that you want to progress to, oftentimes are going to be people competing with you, or blocking you or don't agree with you. And those circumstances for you really build your bones, your mental resilience, those challenges. So that's why I like putting myself in uncomfortable situations, challenging myself, building the templates and the patterns to know and how to respond. Once there are high stakes. I can say, hey, I've been there. I've done that. And we see that with combat athletes, we see that with service members. We've seen that with very, very experienced entrepreneurs, right. They're cool, they're calm, collected their training or their previous experiences on the battlefield, whether it's a physical battlefield, or sporting field, or economic, technological battlefield, not to conflate all of them, because in, in war there is literally life or death where in business, it's company, and money life or death, which is very different. I've seen that the best outcomes are done when you have time to take a deep breath and be strategic.

So hopefully, this helps give you some grounding and understanding of how you were programmed, how you were evolved to be why that fear response exists, that fear response exists, because the most important thing in ancestors time was to survive a predator coming to kill you. Now, we've evolved in our society and our culture has evolved, for the most part beyond physical integrity attacks. Now, the daily challenges is psychological, it’s mental health, it’s psychological insults. So let's upgrade our response. Let's understand the response, and let's upgrade the response as appropriate. So I hope this helps you. reassess, and think about your mental resilience, how you deal with stress how you deal with insults, and start rebuilding a new pathway so you can become an stoppable, an extra bowl force of nature to achieve your dreams.

Now, let's not talk about it, we got to be about it. I hope this is a helpful Free Fatty Friday, love to dive in, discusses more. This is something that I live in breathe in terms of just really refining my mindset. I'm still a student as well. We have to always be learning and improving. If you have feedback, thoughts, corrections, improvements on this concept on this model. Let's have a discussion. Let's have a debate. Find me on social media, Instagram or Twitter @geoffreywoo, of course, cc @hvmn. Give us all the likes and subscribes. Thank you so much for your support. I'll talk to you all very soon.