Watching the press conference for Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, the men who thwarted the would be mass killer on the French commuter train, drove home a quote I first heard at airborne school in Ft. Benning, “The body cannot go where the mind has not been.”

During the questions and answers, everyone on stage nodded in agreement as Anthony Sadler stated, “it was either die or do something.”  Doing “something” in their case was easier said than done, it meant overcoming fear and placing themselves in mortal danger.

Someone trying to kill us is the universal human phobia – we are supposed to be afraid. However, this fear can be an impediment to our survival.  When combined with a high heart rate and the dump of endorphins, “fear” becomes Acute Stress Disorder or Extreme Survival Stress.   While it is also called the “Fight or Flight,” the passive response of most passengers on the train shows symptoms of Extreme Survival Stress are more complex than fighting or running.

Submissive behavior is a normal, and perhaps even default, reaction to Extreme Survival Stress.  Overcoming this submissive behavior during a life or death encounter is extremely difficult and absolutely necessary.  Developing your prevailing mentality before a critical incident is the key.

Prevailing Mentality is a key component of Security Awareness For Everyone (SAFE), an element of SafePlans’ Intruderology™ active shooter prevention and survival training.   Combined with Situational Awareness, Prevailing Mentality is a powerful tool in responding to any emergency.

The actions these heroes implemented were brutally physical, but their prevailing mentality was the foundation of the success.  The body cannot go where the mind has not been.

About the author:
Brad Spicer is the founder of SafePlans, a leading provider of all-hazards preparedness solutions; including a DHS designated anti-terrorism technology and national active shooter prevention and survival program.

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