We’re all different in the ways we respond to obvious threats -the big scary things coming at us like a rhinoceros.
Take the Gray Rhino Quiz to find out how well you deal with the obvious dangers in your life, work and in the world around you. I call these probable but often overlooked problems “gray rhinos” because Black rhinos are not actually black, White rhinos are not actually white -their names are inaccurate because they miss the obvious fact that they are all gray.
Some of us are just the right amount of prepared, like Game Wardens. Some of us overreact to every little thing and end up not paying enough attention to what we should, like Chicken Little. Some of us know what we need to deal with but instead stick our heads in the sand like an Ostrich. An unfortunate few of us never see them coming in the first place and get flattened like the Pancake.
Many of us are like Tourists on Safari. We want to see the big important things that might affect us, for better or for worse. But it takes practice and skill. The first time I went on safari, I was amazed that the other tourists with me were spotting big game so much more easily than I was. They had been out in the bush for a week already so had gotten much better at it.
The first thing to understand is that we don’t always see what you might think is obvious -like a multi-ton rhino or elephant. Mother Nature does a good job of helping big animals disguise themselves because of the way their color blends in with their surroundings. If they are far away, lying on a gray rock, or behind trees and grass, it’s not always easy to see even the biggest animals on safari.
Like Mother Nature, human nature plays tricks on us. Sometimes if something is too scary, our minds may try to block them out to keep us from being paralyzed by shock or fear. This is where the famous Five Stages of Grief come from. The first stage is denial to provide us with a temporary emotional buffer so that we can deal with a major shock instead of shutting down.
After a day or so, I got much better at spotting elephants and rhinos -though I wasn’t fast enough to get the “money shot” photo of a rhino that I really wanted. That was okay, since my friends sent me copies of theirs.
There was still so much to learn. Our tracker and guide taught us so much about what signs to look for. And they had a good sense of how close we could get to big game while still staying safe and not alarming the animals. I was grateful for their skills. That’s another important take-away: be sure to stick with people who have experience and can help you to navigate what’s in front of you. Whether it’s a life coach, accountant, personal trainer, medical doctor, nutritionist, therapist, lawyer, or even the chatty best friend who always says it like it really is -make sure you have trusted guides in your life.
Some of us are better than others at recognizing and dealing with the obvious. But that doesn’t mean we all have to get trampled. Once you are aware of our natural tendencies, you can compensate for them. If you’re a Tourist on Safari, you’re on the right track. With practice, awareness, and changes in your habits, you could become a Game Warden if you try.
Check back soon for more on the other Gray Rhino personalities!