Friday, August 8, 2008


Its called "fight or flight", and we all choose one of the two, when confronted with a hostile situation. We either avoid the situation, or decide to face it chin up.

What do you think the majority chooses? Lets take some situations, right from childhood (my non-Indian readers might not be able to relate to most of the following):

  1. You are a 6 year old kid, playing in your front garden. A ragged man comes by, and peers over the fence. You study him for a few moments, he looks dirty, he has a rucksack, his hair long and grown, he looks at you and grins. Would you just resume what ever you were doing, or would you run back home to your parents?

  2. You are a 10 year old kid, your class did something to irritate a rather violent teacher, and she is disciplining the entire class with a cane, delivering each blow on to the outstretched little palms with a ferocious face. You watch each blow, your friends' palms red and bruised, most of them crying with pain. As your turn nears, would your heart be thumping, or will you be stationed with a calm pose, ready to accept what ever would be delivered to you in the next few minutes? When its your turn, would you calmly stretch your hands with an expressionless face? Or would you be trying to escape the blows with quivering hands and teary eyes?

  3. You are a teen fresh into college; on the second day, a bunch of seniors round you up for the so called 'ragging'. Would you piss in your pants, or stand up head high?

  4. You are a young employee, and your boss gives you crap, treats you crap, you hate the job. Will you stand all the pain, or quit and get another job?

Cases go on... and most of us might react different to each of these, and we have our own honest reasons behind these. I'm not generalizing, but I did a short survey, presented these and a few other standard scenarios; for those who chose the "flight" option, I encouraged them to just imagine what if they had chosen the "fight" option. I helped them with scenes, descriptions and outcomes in the short-term and long-term. I also carefully noted down the anecdotes of those who had opted the "fight" option in their lives.

And, the result was something like this:

Flight: Those who took this option claimed to experience the following:

  1. Short-term deliverance from the situation.

  2. Constant fear of facing the situation once again in future.

  3. Reduced levels of self-confidence.

  4. Restricting self from involvement in any activity connected to the situation (I know someone who stopped going to beaches after he took flight from an incident at one)

  5. Long-term sense of insecurity.

  6. Inability to command respect, or inspire confidence and trust in others.

Fight: Those who took this option claimed to experience the following:

  1. Possible short-term repercussions.

  2. Ability to successfully deal any similar situation, or anything even remotely connected, anytime in the future.

  3. A mammoth boost in self-confidence.

  4. Long-term sense of security.

  5. Command respect; others look up for courage, guidance and protection.

Many more exist in both buckets, but to summarize, flight (or in other words, fear) might provide you short-term reliefs, but plunging you into long-term suffering; while fight (or in other words, courage) might get you into short-term issues, but guarantees long-term glory.

Fear, quite an emotion in itself, at times narrows down to a deadly thing that can ruin an entire existance. Caution and care are good alternatives, but fear somehow seems to have a different purpose or perspective. Take the classic example of walking across a railway track, and suddenly finding the train around the corner. If fear grips on, you are paralyzed, your limbs give away, and you'll end up staring at the train and scream. Else, you'll just walk across in peace.

Again, interesting thing about fear is, that it seems to provide a false security of short-term gains. It lures its preys in, only to reveal itself in black some point down the line. Courage, interestingly, can not only provide what you think fear can, but even much more.

Well, at the end, it seems that its always your choice to make :-) After all, you 'start' like everyone else, you 'end' like everyone else... but between these two, what you are, how you are, and where you are depends solely upon you and your choices.

An interesting line from Gabbar Singh goes like this: "Jo dar gaya, woh mar gaya!" (meaning, if one gets frightened, consider him dead) :-)


  1. Aneeshji / അനീഷ്ജിAugust 15, 2008 at 4:38 AM

    Interesting :)

    I have had many discussions about this to many people - i think most with my ever fighting(not to me!! fight as in fight or flight) wife. My policy is strongly based on one and only one manthra.

    Fight but Always ALWAYS Pick your battles.

    Gabbar singh said in 70s, but Baazigar has said in recent times.. Kabhi kabhi kuch jeetne ke liye kuch harna bhi padta hai. Aur har kar jeetne walon ko Baazigar kehte hain, kya kehte hain?


  2. Just like Darkness does not exist, but it is just the absence of Light. I think, Fear is the absence of "something".

    I think the absence of Faith leads to being Fearful. It could differ from people of people, for some it might be faith in God for others it might be faith in their instincts/strength. If I were a small child walking in the midnight in a lonely neighbourhood I would surely be scared. But if I were holding my father's hand, I would be reassured and fear vanishes. Now, that is Faith. :)

  3. Reminds me of this song line 'I am a fighter not a lover'. Err it could have been the other way.
    You are convincing Tedy, I am gonna be a fighter too! Put 'em up put 'em up!

  4. True facts! When in real situation, we turn numb & failure to act makes us regret later.The worst situation...With a strong faith on the Supreme Power tied with confidence & boldness can mould the situation in a much better way.
    Key: "Believe in God, Be bold, Be confident"!