I’d like to introduce you to someone very special. This is Pete. Actually, he needs no introduction because you already know him. In fact, you’ve spent your entire life with him.
When you got stressed-out in that meeting last week, he’s the one who made you blurt something you later regretted. He’s responsible for keeping you awake at night, unable to stop thinking about whether you’ll hit your numbers this month or how you can continue to do the work of two people at your job. Pete’s the one who planted the big idea to pig out on that cheeseburger and fries you grabbed in the drive-through on your way to see your next client. And that spare tire around your waist you can’t seem to get rid of, no matter what you do? That’s entirely his fault. He’s also the one who gave the finger to the driver who cut you off while you were late for yoga. (Okay, that last one only happened to me, and the irony of the situation was laughable . . . after I got my Zen on.)
If that’s not enough, Pete is completely taking over when it comes to making important business decisions, he’s clouding your focus and concentration, inhibiting your memory and distracting you from your goals and objectives. He’s also dating your significant other and raising your children, if you have them.
Pete sounds like a total bastard, and you’re probably wondering why anyone would ever want to hang out with someone like him, right? Believe it or not, he has your best interests in mind and does all these things for a very important reason: your survival.
Pete represents your primitive, biological, evolutionarily driven stress response—also known as the fight-or-flight response. All the things he makes you do are how you’re physiologically designed to respond to stress. Pete’s number one job is to protect you and keep you alive, but how he does it in today’s modern age is often times ill-suited to the environments we’re living and working in.
So Pete’s not really a bad guy, because he has your best interest at heart. For this reason I like to call him Sneaky Pete. He’s not your enemy, and in fact you couldn’t have made it this far in your life without him. However misguided he sounds, he’s doing everything in his power to help you with stress.
We’re all hardwired to respond in a very particular way to the many stresses, demands and strains we face on a daily basis: physically. Our distant ancestors’ physical reactions to stress successfully restored balance to the body and brain – it flushed out the stress hormones, replaced them with “bliss molecules” and got Sneaky Pete out of the driver’s seat. It was like hitting the reset button.
Today, most of us no longer hit the reset button in that same way, mainly because of the sedentary environments we’re living in. We no longer fight or flee. Instead, we sit for long hours in stressful work environments, sit in our cars in stressful rush hour traffic and try to keep up with demanding personal lives. This allows Sneaky Pete to be in the driver’s seat of our lives more often.
Sneaky Pete actually possesses the key to improved resiliency to the stress in our lives. When we understand what he’s trying to do and why, it’s easy to figure out how to work with him instead of against him.
If you’re interested to learn more, The Resiliency rEvolution teaches you how!