Imagine for a second we’re living in the Stone Age.
You and I are walking around looking for food, drawing on cave walls, and trying to not get eaten by whatever kind of animals tried to kill us back then. Sounds like a raging good time, huh?
If something bad happened, we pretty much only had one option: to run away. Whichever one of us ran faster probably survived.
Fast forward to 2018… We aren’t bopping around with Wooly Mammoths. And we certainly don’t have to forage for food. We’re just racing around the streets in metal boxes, wrecking havoc on the environment, watching people do stupid shit on TV, and going to really loud music festivals.
It seems like we couldn’t be more different from our friends back in the Stone Age… However, it turns out we’re more alike than you might think…
Have you ever stopped to think about why we do some of the things we do? Have you ever pondered how our innate human behaviors that were designed to keep us safe from volcanos and tigers may actually do us harm in the 21st century?
Here are four examples:
Fight or Flight Response — See saber-toothed tiger. Determine tiger wants to eat us. Run away really really fast. This is how our brain is wired. Even though we aren’t surrounded by scary animals all day in 2018, we’ve never lost this human behavior — it’s still with is to this day.
Our innate “fight or flight” response is part of the reason the Great Recession was such a catastrophe. Our body is hard-wired with that reaction.
See the value of our life savings go down the tube. Recognize that as threat to our survival. Sell it all as fast as we possibly can.
Multiply that scenario millions of times, and we have the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
First Impressions — Why do you think we still judge people the second we walk into a room? How do we have an impression of someone before they’ve even opened their mouth? It’s what our brain is configured to do.
If you and I were drawing on the cave wall and saw someone running towards us in the distance, we had no choice but to determine instantaneously if this person was good or bad — a threat to our survival or another friend coming to join the cave drawing party.
Confidence — Why do you think we are so drawn to confident people? For millions of years, the confident people were the ones we trusted. If Bob said there wasn’t going to be a tornado if we walked in the direct of that mountain, we’d probably believe him. We didn’t have a choice.
The exact same thing holds true today. We are infatuated with confident people because they give us a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic world.
The type of chaos we encounter has changed over millions of years, but our response has not.
Habit Formation — By walking the same little path through the forest each day, my Stone Age friends and I knew exactly where the berry bushes could be found. Our walking path took any sort of thinking out of survival… Walk this path. Find food.
Habit formation is an integral part of the human brain… The physiology that helped us find berries each day in the past now leads to gambling addiction, overeating, and alcoholism. Yet again, it’s simply how we’re wired.
I know this article was a little random, but I do hope you chuckled a couple times and thought about something you’ve never considered before.
Have a great rest of your Sunday. See you next week. 🙂