Key Point: Once you start moving, fear usually sinks back into the hole where it belongs. Unless you haven’t been close to a newsfeed, you’ve likely heard about the heroic three Americans and one British citizen, who were traveling Aug. 21, on the sleek high-speed train that takes high-level European diplomats, businesspeople, tourists and ordinary citizens between Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. The heroes in this situation are Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the National Guard from Oregon, Air Force, Airman First Class Spencer Stone, another American, Anthony Sadler, and Brit Chris Norman. A terrorist armed with an AK-47, pistol and box cutter intended on killing as many of the 500 passengers as he could. Could you imagine the carnage if left unchecked? Randomly spraying innocent people trapped in the train? Because of the bravery and willingness to act and NOT stay paralyzed, the story had a very different ending. Despite the terrorist’s intentions, there were no deaths, just one apprehended jihadist. As quoted from this Sunday’s New York Times:
“In the train carriage, Mr. Stone was the first to act, jumping up at the command of Mr. Skarlatos. He sprinted through the carriage toward the gunman, running ‘a good 10 meters to get to the guy,’ Mr. Skarlatos said. Mr. Stone was unarmed; his target was visibly bristling with weapons… With Mr. Skarlatos close behind, Mr. Stone grabbed the gunman’s neck, stunning him. But the gunman fought back furiously, slashing with his blade, slicing Mr. Stone in the neck and hand and nearly severing his thumb. Mr. Stone did not let go… Mr. Norman and Mr. Sadler had joined in the efforts to subdue the gunman, who ‘put up quite a bit of a fight,’ Mr. Norman recalled at the news conference in Arras on Saturday. ‘My thought was, ‘I’m probably going to die anyway, so let’s go.’ Once you start moving, you’re not afraid anymore…’ Mr. Anglade (a well known French actor pulled the alarm) and accused the train personnel on Saturday of having fled the scene of the struggle, abandoning the passengers and cowering in the engine car. He told the French news media that the behavior of the staff had been ‘terrible’ and ‘inhuman.’”
- Thankfully, the vast majority of us will not be confronted with the split second decision to fight an armed terrorist in a life or death struggle. But almost all of us likely have some quiet version of “personal terrorism:” Something that eats at us (like that medical diagnosis you know you should get, fierce conversation you know you should have, etc). This applies to the workplace and every part of our life. While the situation above (life or death) does not compare, the lesson from it I believe is relevant: “Once you start moving you’re not afraid anymore.”
- Determine what keeps you paralyzed and just move. It will feel so good. Confront that fear, stare it down, “run” at it! What are you waiting for? (Unless you want to cower in corner)?
Moving against fear in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: These stories are such important dopamine dumps. You peruse headlines hoping that you won’t encounter something like this, the story that reminds us to check over our shoulder every time we’re somewhere vulnerable (recent theater shootings don’t help either). But, to know that there are true heroes out there willing to act in these situations has so much more of a lasting impact than the tragic alternative. And they’re fuel to motivate us in more likely, everyday situations. If these guys can run and subdue an armed terrorist, why are we afraid to take any non life-threatening risks? These motivating events will stick with us far longer than that horrible news story we can’t wait to put out of our mind.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis