The most important decision
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile Universe.”
- Albert Einstein
The New Zealand national team’s war dance before every game is quite famous. The reason to perform it is to intimidate the opponents even before the game has begun. They definitely seem to believe that the battle is half won before the swords are drawn.
We see this kind of intimidation all the time in our daily lives. It can be as subtle as a discount indicator on Ola (something written as 297 147 is more powerful than just saying 147 as the fare amount) or as blatant as a bully of a traffic cop on the road telling you to pay him the bribe or face his wrath by spending time at the station and at the court clearing the fines he will levy on you.
But these are nothing when compared to the real intimidation that we face in our minds everyday when we believe that we live in a hostile Universe. Such a mind constantly intimidates us by pointing us to inaction and condemning us to the status quo, unwilling to take the slightest risk for the fear of what the consequences might be, only letting us act when we really have to, and that too in a way we feel is going to be acceptable and not necessarily what we set out to or would have gone on to had we not faced the intimidation.
When we are intimidated, we do not play our natural game. When a team place Barcelona, they change tactics and go defensive. Even if that is not how they naturally play. This is a response to the intimidation that the Barcelona team inflicts on their opponents. When we believe that we are in a hostile Universe, we are adapting to tackle what we perceive are the strengths of our opponents (in this case, the opponents can be anything from “what will all the people think?” to “how will that person react if I’m honest about this?”) and not doing the natural thing that we would otherwise do.
Deciding to adapt and heeding the intimidation is sometimes wise, like when playing against Barcelona. But do it often enough and that will become your default and what you have to offer comes out of a place of intimidation and fear rather than a desire to do something. This pushes us to always be reactive and that too to stimuli that we fear.
Whereas, if we believe that we are in a friendly Universe, then our natural game is the default and we bring in a plan B when there is real hostility and there is real cause to be intimidated.