There’s this book by Gavin DeBecker, The Gift of Fear. Wonderful book about the wonderful gift that intuition can be, and how to learn to trust your gut intuition to get you out of dangerous situations. It reminds me of a couple of stories about times when my gut saved my butt.
Once I was in St. Louis on a business trip. I’d parked in a parking garage downtown near the Adams Mark. The area included a beautiful park and lovely eateries on the streets, so not exactly the type of dump where I’d expect to get accosted. Anyway, walking through the apparently deserted parking garage at night I turned a corner and almost walked into a young adult male, perhaps late 20’s to mid-30’s dressed in a dirty, smelly, Vietnam-looking army jacket. “Hey man,” he asked me. “You got a few dollars?” Well, the combination of this guy’s appearance and the time of day and the remote location set my Spidey sense off. I side-stepped as he was talking and glanced around to make sure I wasn’t being flanked by his buddies. No buddies in sight, I made sure I was outside ma-ai, back against a wall, clear escape route to the side, placed my hands between him and me in the ‘stop’ position and said firmly and finally, “No.” There was a couple of seconds of calculation in his eyes and then he backed down, saying, “No problem, man,” and I left.
Nothing happened, so does that mean I was just paranoid and that nothing would have happened even if I’d responded more passively? No. In my book, my gut had saved my butt. Score one for the home team.
Again, a few years later, I was on a driving vacation to the Grand Canyon with my family and a couple of exchange students (talk about an endurance test!). We stopped for lunch in New Mexico or Arizona (might have been Winslow or Gallup) and on the way into the restaurant a guy stepped out from between a couple of cars and asked me, “Hey, man, can you give me a few dollars? My car’s broke down and I have to get back to my sick wife…” Having heard this exact con done several times before, I responded (after I’d sidestepped and checked my surroundings), “No, but I’ll be glad to call the police for you. I’m sure they’ll help you out since they’re supposed to protect and serve.” He disappeared almost instantly and a couple of minutes later I saw him driving off to try a different location. Score two for the home team.
Anyway, I highly recommend deBecker’s book about how intuition can be protective, The Gift of Fear.
Article originally published at Mokuren Dojo Blog