Leaving the airport, I was preparing for my hour and a half commute home, where as I entered the freeway on-ramp accelerating the car a bit extra as it was evening and the roads were open yet the mid summer sun was still shining brightly all be-it low in the sky. While pressing downward on the gas pedal, I had turned up the car stereo in proportion, rolled the driver’s side window down and hung the preverbal elbow out the window as you could say I had settled in comfortably for the long ride home, until.
As during this meditative bliss created by the joining of man and machine for a harmonious dance of the tango sort weaving in and out of traffic much as ballroom dancers glide across the floor seemingly to float on yet missing the others who also seem to ply the same space as they. It happened as a cute little long eared brown bunny darted in front of the car only to come to a dead stop two thirds of the way across the road only to stare at what would be his (or her not sure as my wife would say it had to be a he as only a “male” would do something like sit in the road however this is for another post) doomed fate.
Well as not wanting the bad karma of having bunny blood on my hands to destroy the mood for the ride home or damage the low swung air-dam on my Chrysler 300 which assuredly would be expensive and with a $500 deductable you get the idea, I quickly decided to take evasive action. However which way, in front of the rabbit or behind was the question because as mentioned he was already two thirds the way across so it would be far shorter with one simple hop to finish the crossing. However do you know what that silly rabbit did to steal a line from Elmer Fudd, yes he turned around went back the way he can came and by this time in the story you must be asking what is the point here Campbell.
The point is people, and more importantly we as leaders we do same thing as bunny did as when we are placed into a position of pending risk our “lizard brain” (amygdala or medically corpus amygdaloideum) kicks in and engages our autonomic “fight or flight” response taking control away from our frontal [logical decision making] lobes meaning in these cases we are “no” different then the rabbit even with all of our self awareness, education and fine private school upbringing. As if the decision would have been left to logic rather than emotional flight, it would have showed that it would be quicker and shorter to continue the course as it was almost achieved rather than retreat to what the rabbit felt was a “known” place of safety.
So the question here is how many times in business as well as life in general have we been put in a position of feeling uncomfortable as we near our goal by feeling of pressure from an implied risk “forcing” us to return to the “perceived” safety of our former pastures thus missing our goal for no good reason while in fact accepting even more risk. We as people are very much like that rabbit believe it or not…