As I’m sure you know, there were a series of terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday night.
Seven young men armed with guns and bombs took the lives of over 100 people, including their own.
We don’t know much about the terrorists…their ages, where they grew up, how they grew up, etc.
But we do know that they were young men.
Now, I’m not a psychologist, terrorist expert, geopolitical analyst, or anything of the sort—so I’m not qualified to speak on why these men chose to spend there one and only life destroying the lives of innocent people while taking their own in the process.
But there are some lessons I DO believe I can share with you about this tragedy:
1. Life is short and can be taken from you in an instant.
I first learned this lesson when my mother died in a car accident when I was 14. Then it was reinforced with the murder of my brother and the suicide of my sister.
Maybe you’ve lost someone in your life like I have.
Or maybe you haven’t lost anyone.
But my point is that life can change in a heartbeat.
So all those things you want to do but have been putting them off because you feel like there’s plenty of time?
You may not have as much time as you think. Take action today–even if it’s just starting a workout plan or eating better or even showing more appreciation of the people around you, telling your family and friends how much you love them.
If you’ve got other goals in mind, fine. Just take action TODAY with something that you’ve been postponed because you’re “too busy”.
My action is writing you this email and doing a special episode.
What can you take action on today? Do it.
2. Don’t let your mind get hijacked by the media
20 years ago, there were no social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. And no one had cell phones with cameras to capture and share moments like what we see now with the Paris attacks as well as other tragedies.
But in this day and age, we’re hit hard and fast with images, reports and even videos so we feel like we are there experiencing the fear, anger, sadness, rage, etc even though we’re thousands of miles away.
In addition to that, are we told EVERYTHING that’s happening in the world by the media? Or are certain events cherry-picked? Here’s a quote in an article from Psychology Today:
“Is the media negative? Media studies show that bad news far outweighs good news by as much as seventeen negative news reports for every one good news report. Why? The answer may lie in the work of evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists. Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.”
If there is a bias in the news, it’s because we respond to certain information like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of a bell. The Media is made by man, but our biologically hardwired “negativity bias” makes us respond to news of threats and forgetting all the other events that are happening. How many other tragedies occurred in the past week that you didn’t care about—either because you weren’t informed about them or they didn’t go viral?
What happened in Paris was a tragedy. And I’m saddened and angered just like every other person who values life and the freedom to enjoy it without worrying about whether mad men with guns and bombs will attack you.
But I don’t want you to get depressed about it either. Or too afraid to go out and continuing to enjoy life.
“Loretta Garziano Breuning, author of Meet Your Happy Chemicals says that “profound anxiety” results from following the daily news because of its predominant focus on negativity. She argues “news appeals to your minds’ quest for survival-relevant information, but it doesn’t’ necessarily meet that need. It squanders your attention on generalized threat signals that you can’t really act on.”
Be aware of what information is coming into your mind from the media and put it into perspective. And definitely DO NOT dwell on terrible events by watching 24-hour International News channels that play and replay the same negative information to keep you glued to your seat and watching—while not actually doing anything to help or to better your life.
People always ask me, “How did you get over all the tragedies you’ve been through in your life?” And this is one of the big lessons that I’ve internalized—I don’t let negative information hijack my brain and I keep things in perspective. I urge you to do the same.
3. Turn a negative situation into an opportunity to take a deep look at yourself and see what you can change
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”–Gandhi
Tolstoy took it a step farther and said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Anytime something negative happens, it’s an opportunity for you to take a look at yourself and see what you can do to make the situation better.
So what will you do now?
Sulk and spread more negativity about how evil people are and how the world is going to hell in a hand basket?
Or will you take the path of strength and serve as an example for others that the way to react to tragedy is to stand up and take action?
I challenge you to do the second.
That’s what being a strong man is about.
That’s what being a leader is about.
I’m challenging you to take a deep look into yourself to see what needs to change. Then I want you to take ACTION on it.
Not reading books, articles or watching more news to “understand” the situation better…
I’m talking about taking REAL action.
What can you do?
How about working out to build strength in your mind and body. And also, reading books and listening podcasts that can help your personal growth.
This is my message for you and my challenge for today. I hope you stay strong and start to see all the attacks, shootings and wars in the word as an opportunity to understand how blessed you are and to remind you that life is fragile and it’s up to us to be the change.