Take a Knee
I recently had the chance to view “After Earth”, in which Will Smith and his son play the major roles. The first time it was great to watch and I did so whilst doing a bit of other reading on the side. The second time I watched it, was because of something my brother made me aware of.
In the movie, the son has to go to another part of the wreck of the craft they were travelling in to find a device to let their head office know where they were. The device was 100km away, on a very dangerous planet, full of animals and creatures bred to kill humans, i.e. Earth.
At one stage, the son was stressed out tremendously. His father, Will, said the following to him: “Danger is very real. Fear is a response developed by the mind, in anticipation of the uncertainties of the future. Fear is therefore a choice!”, or something like this.
At another time, Will also implored the young son to “take a knee” – referring to the practice of kneeling down and to calm down. Part of the ”take a knee” action was the command: “root yourself in the present” – where the message was to drive away the fear caused by the uncertainty associated with a future full of danger. It had to do with understand what you were being faced with.
I thought this was brilliant! In order to deal with danger, if you are stressed out, take a knee and root yourself in the present. Do not let your mind race away and conjure up images and thoughts of the future full of fear. It does not mean you ignore the danger, as they are very real. But it does mean you need to calm down and be rational – this process will hopefully allow you to deal with dangerous situations without getting flustered and panic-stricken! The latter will definitely lead to death.
The reality is that although the movie scenario was dealing with physical death, there are many kinds of danger that we need to deal with.
In a situation where you feel that someone is attacking you verbally, the tendency is mostly one where you retaliate by going on a verbal offensive. The objective is to win the argument at all costs. Such times it would probably be far better to “take a knee” and assess the situation, before deciding upon an appropriate response.
In a physical dangerous situation, we let testosterone kick in (it kicks in – period!) for the purpose of survival. There is nothing wrong with this. However, taking a knee does help to deal with the situation in a more productive manner, which hopefully would be an optimal strategy. Testosterone kicking in at an inappropriate moment could be detrimental to your health!
Taking a knee in perceived emotional and spiritual dangerous situations does help us to assess the situation in a more accurate manner. In this way we would be able to decide upon a more appropriate and optimal manner. Answering fire with fire seldom has an optimal outcome!
Interestingly, is this not what Emotional Intelligence is about? This is about understanding who and what you are, and being able to manage yourself accordingly! In addition, you then are also able to understand others and manage them in an appropriate manner. Being emotionally intelligent is akin to taking a knee.
As there are many kinds of danger, there are many kinds of fear. Lashing out and becoming angry as a response, could be a kind of fear when viewed as a response. Other responses that could be inappropriate could include embarrassment, humiliation, and aloofness, to mention but a few!
It is also possible for companies to run amok when faced with situations being viewed as dangerous. They let their people go, they cut prices, they cut product lines, they go into mergers, etc. Taking a knee would help them to understand the situation better and then to develop a more appropriate response.
The bottom line is that one should not ignore danger. Your life could indeed be threatened. However, resorting to fear (as a choice) is unproductive and adds to the danger you find yourself in. At such times, take a knee and root yourself in the present. Then you decide upon the appropriate response. This is the emotionally mature way of dealing with the situation.
Instead of having knee-jerk reactions, take a knee! This would prevent that knee of jerking upwards, and give you the time and opportunity to come up with the appropriate and optimal response!
Remember, in spite of danger being very real, fear is a choice! Don’t give in to emotional outbursts – take a knee!