Momentum Podcast: 47
Fight Or Flight Can Save You Or Destroy Your Momentum
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.
As an evolutionary hunter, your body is preprogrammed and hypersensitive to being in fight or flight mode. This has served our small portion of the human tribe for millennia. Our ability to be on-alert, aware, and hyper-vigilant has allowed us to thrive and successfully hunt for the rest of the human tribe.
The challenge we face today is that fight or flight is meant to be a temporary state. This evolutionary process boosts our systems into overdrive and after a temporary lift across the board, we begin to crash. When we live in fight or flight, we tax our adrenals and thyroid, we throw our hormone balance off, and we can become exhausted and depleted. The environment we live in today exposes us to levels of stress and complicated toxins never before seen in the history of human beings.
There is a near epidemic of entrepreneurs with adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, hormone challenges, and more. We understand how to shift our bodies out of a fight or flight mode, everything in our lives can get easier. The surprise for most, is just how easy it is to accomplish this.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules but only so we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.
We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because the only way you lose is if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate that there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming what could be, we enter the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution and we always will be.
Thanks for joining me on episode 47 of the momentum podcast for the entrepreneurial personality type how fight or flight mode can save you or destroy your momentum. As evolutionary hunters, we are pre programmed, predisposed to be in fight or flight mode. People like us, evolutionary hunters, those who are getting up every day to change the status quo, to improve the world around us, to make things better, we are constantly pushing new boundaries. We are exposing ourselves to vulnerability. We're doing new things that make us challenged as people, and they cause stress, they cause reactivity, but we can't stop. And what happens is as evolutionary hunters, as people who are programmed like we are, we slip into fight or flight mode.
Fight or flight mode can save you. This is a physiological chemical, mental response that we have to the world around us. It is cognitive, it is physiological, it is chemical. It changes everything about us. What happens in fight or flight mode is when we run into a challenge, when we run into something that slows us down, any type of constraint, any type of threat at all, our body temporarily overclocks. We become hypervigilant. We get accelerated. We have a little dump of adrenals, a little dump of thyroid, maybe even some cortisols. We have a short immune period or sorry, immune boosting period where for a period of time we actually get a boost in our immunity, and we have increased awareness, increase vigilance of everything around us. It's that hyper alert, hyper sensitivity, hyper aware mode that people like us can slip into.
Now, throughout history, this has served us. You and I were evolutionary hunters who woke up every morning and had to go out and kill something to keep the tribe alive. However, in today's world, we are exposed to a level of toxicity and stress and input and artificial environments and artificial light and artificial flavors and colors and sweeteners and all kinds of other things that have our body under attack. The challenge is this coupled with the simple motivations of an evolutionary hunter to create momentum, to create forward progress, to change the world around us, to make things better, can put us into fight or flight mode. And we can just stay there.
Here's the challenge and the evidence that people like us are living in fight or flight mode is all around us. Let's deconstruct this just a little so what we can see that factually this is happening to people like you and I. I want you to understand what happens when we stay in fight or flight mode for too long. What happens when we enter this physiological phenomena? First, our body uses adrenals, it uses thyroids, it changes our hormone composition to overclock us for a period of time. If we overclock our adrenals, our thyroids, for too long, what happens? You run into things like adrenal fatigue, hormone balance issues, thyroid issues. We are in a world where there is a near epidemic of chronic fatigue, hormone issues, thyroid issues, all kinds of stuff like that. Why? Because we are using this evolutionary system of fight or flight far too much. Many of us are living there.
I understand that there's all kinds of suggestions today for us to get out of this physiological mode of existence. People talk about breathing and meditation and nutrition and I agree with all of those things however, in my experience, there are three foundational habits that you can adopt right now starting immediately, starting this minute that will knock your body out of the physiological response of fight or flight.
Here's my theory and my impassioned belief after observing entrepreneurs for years is that once we're in fight or flight mode, we have a very hard time getting out of it. You probably know this about yourself. Once you get a little overclocked, a little over accelerated, a little excited, once you feel under threat, it takes us a long time to get out of that condition. I don't think it's like this for the rest of the world. I think the rest of the world can go right back to normal a lot easier than we can, but we are evolutionary hunters. We have millennia of responding to fight or flight. For thousands of years this has been something that has kept us alive. It's been honed, it's been increased. It's been sensitized.
I think if you think about yourself, you know this that you are highly sensitive to stress, highly sensitive to toxins, to irritants, you might even have allergies or be reactive to smells or certain foods or whatever it is. Our bodies are highly reactive and so is our mind and our chemical systems, our chemical makeup. If we stay in fight or flight for a long period of time, it will deplete us. We will be exhausted. Our creativity starts going away. We have trouble using the very attributes that make us the talented evolutionary hunters that we are. That innate motivation we have just feels like it's overclocking and pushing us in a direction, our ability to see unique connections and to understand things better than those around us, we start getting to that point where we can't see the forest for the trees. Our incredible ability to go out, figure out what is needed in the world, and then fill that void as evolutionary hunters become clouded. We have difficulty seeing our next steps much less how to fix or change things.
How do you get out of this physiological syndrome? I think you have to get out of it physiologically. We have to cognitively understand what we are doing then physiologically change things to calm our bodies to get out of fight or flight and then chemically our bodies will follow. I'm going to give you the three most important ways I know how to do this. But first I'll share a very personal story with you. I know what it feels like to live in fight or flight.
When I was 21 years old, through a series of fortunate events, I became a consultant to the fortune 500. It was incredible. I had my first client was Fuji media. My second client was SanDisk, the flash memory company. My third client was Fuji digital cameras. It was incredible. It was overwhelming. It was exciting. But it was overclocking. I share with people that I started holding my breath in my early 20's, and I didn't learn how to breathe again until after I was 30 because there was so much going on, and I was so overwhelmed. In my 20's, I created a massive company and did incredibly well. We were over 250 million dollars. I had offices throughout the US and Latin america. I had an incredible team that just knocked it out of the park all the time. But personally, I was falling apart.
By the time I was 30, I was almost 300 pounds. I had hypertension, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping. I had the symptoms of asthma, which I don't even experience today, it's so weird. My body was falling apart. I remember going to a doctor, and you probably heard me say this before. I was in south Florida and I failed my pilot's license exam, my medical exam, not the written exam. I failed the medical exam, and I was told I couldn't fly anymore. My doctor went one step further and told me I was his most likely candidate for a heart attack, even though he had an aging population in south Florida. At 30 years old, on six different prescription medications, having trouble literally across the board, I was told I was going to die.
It went one stop further than that. My doctor told me for the rest of my life I would be on cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, heart medication, hypertension medication. I would probably have to take something to sleep, and I would have to take asthma medication for the rest of my life. I was given a life sentence of six prescription drugs. I think it was a combination of failing the pilot's license and being told I was going to die and having met Cadey, which made my life more important than it ever had been, I decided to change everything.
I decided to get out of the habit of overclocking and started researching like crazy how could I change these conditions in my body and how could I reverse what I had done, get my feet back on the ground, get rid of the prescription drugs and create momentum. That was almost 15 years ago. I'll turn 45 in November '17. In that time I've changed everything. I've gotten out of that fight or flight mode. I've been able to regulate my thyroids, my adrenals. I've gotten off of every single prescription drug that I was taking back then. I've gotten to the point where that hyper alertness, hyper awareness is there when I want it but I can make it go away. I'll share with you three strategies in order of importance to get you out of fight or flight.
The first one, physiologically, we've got to knock our bodies out of this. Mentally you can do whatever you want. Cognitively you can think through this. You can rationalize it but fight or flight is a physiological syndrome that is triggered cognitively, but it's not rational. How do we knock it out? The first one is hyperhydration. Go to episode 26 of this podcast. If you're not hyper hydrating already and taking on water, this is something that will help you get out of fight or flight mode, here's why. Organisms, animals will not drink when they're in a panic mode. If you want rats in a lab to stop drinking water, agitate them. Get them frustrated. Get them stressed. Get them to a place where they are in fight or flight mode, and they will not take on water. This is evolutionary.
Nature has told us that we should not drink water when we're about to fight. In fact, it's the opposite. Our digestion slows down. Our stomach, the entire process of taking on water, taking on food slows down or stops. If you're in full fight or flight mode, you'll actually eliminate, you'll wet your pants or defecate to empty your body of any excess weight or anything that it's carrying. By stopping, taking a deep breath and drinking over 16 ounces of water, you are physiologically informing your body that you are not in a fight or flight condition. You're not in a fight or flight environment and that it can calm down. It can kick all of the overclocking out.
Also, it has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism 30-50% for up to 2 hours. It causes a full system circulatory flush. It will calm the muscles in your upper body and your torso. It will make you feel more relaxed. Go and drink a big glass of water right now. Get out of fight or flight mode like that. It will start the process for you. If you start your days with this, every morning you knock yourself out of fight or flight.
The second habit you can start right now is to create a morning routine that you understand, that's predictable, that you know what you're going to be doing every morning so you have the clarity around getting up and getting ready for the day. If your morning routine includes a planning process that connects your day to day activities to your long term goals, to your long term outcomes, that planning process will knock you out of fight or flight. See if that resonates with you. Doesn't that make sense? That when we on a daily basis know that our activities are leading to our long term outcomes, it relaxes the fight or flight mode, it calms the fight or flight mode. It gets us out of that overclocking mode.
That's the second thing, morning routine that includes planning and connection of long term and then here's the third one. I'm going to do a full episode on this tomorrow and go into detail because in a previous episode I shared, actually in episode 26, I shared what I think is the biggest bio hack for entrepreneurs, drinking water. It maximizes everything else you're doing and lets you take advantage of everything else you're doing, your supplements, your food. If you're dehydrated, it doesn't matter what you're doing. You are not optimized. This is similar. I call it the primal walk. I'm not going to go into too much detail. I just want you to have the basics because tomorrow I will give you the rest.
But here's what a primal walk is. It's getting up in the morning as part of your morning routine and getting outside before use of electronics, before you've done a lot of other stuff, before you've started that overclocking process, before you've been in too much junk blue light, before you've done too many other things. You do some light planning, understand where you're going, hyper hydrate and get outside in functional shoes, shoes that let you feel the ground or just go barefoot. Walk outside on a multi plane surface, preferably grass for at least 20 minutes. Here's what science shows that will do for you. A walk in natural ground, or on natural ground, the studies are all over the place. Here's what 20 minutes three times a week will do for you but I would recommend you do this every day because we're different, we're evolutionary hunters. But the study showed 20 minutes three times a week is as effective as most antidepressants. It improves hormone balance. It improves circulation. It lowers blood pressure, it increases awareness. It even can increase your IQ! Literally getting up in the morning, going outside and walking for 20 minutes can make you smarter.
Now, I understand that there are those, that you might want to be one of those people that works out in the morning, that wants to get excited, that wants to play the loud music, do those things after you've done the primal walk. Now I know this sounds painfully simple but so is hydration and that's changed most of my client's lives. When I suggest to people that they should do this primal walk, some of the responses I get are hilarious. People go from running in marathons and being triathletes and getting up and swimming two miles to getting up and before they do anything else, going on the primal walk.
Tomorrow, I will give you the specific details of how to do it, where to put your posture, how to spend the time, what you should do, what you absolutely should not do to help you create as much momentum as possible. I'll just share one story with you. One of my favorite chiropractors in the world, [Pribe Checkog 00:17:31] who's over in the UK has really gotten into the primal walk. But one of the coolest stories I've ever had shared with me about this discipline, is that he got up and he did the primal walk before he ran a marathon. Here's someone going to run more than many of us will run in a year, in a day, but he got up and he did the primal walk first to kick the body out of fight or flight, regulate the hormones, increase the endorphins, the dopamine, because your primal walk will do all of these things for you. It will lower your adrenaline. It will lower your thyroid. It will help your body find that optimized balance to actually take on the day. He let me know that doing the primal walk, he had one of the best marathons he's ever had. I have story after story just like that.
I remember when I first sat down with Alex and [Lela Hormozee 00:18:28] who, let's be honest, as a couple they are incredible and they look like action figures. If you wanted to make the super entrepreneur action figures, Alex and Lela could be them. They are ripped. Alex is one of the strongest guys I've ever seen with probably 0.1% body fat or something. Lela is tall and she's gorgeous and just has this stature of a sculpture. When I sat down with the two of them, they're obviously into working out and working out hard and really putting a lot into it. I started talking to them about doing a walk. I could almost hear their eyes rolling.
But then a few weeks later I got a message from Lela that said, "Hey, these morning walks are a game changer." Then I got messages from Alex, actually video messages of him walking while he was on the phone talking to clients without shoes on. Here's why. They are so physiologically connected, they work out, they're in incredible shape, top .5, top half percent of the population probably. It was even more dramatic for them. When they started walking, they felt the effects almost immediately.
Tomorrow, I'm going to give you more details on the primal walk because I think it's an absolute game changer for you. But in summary for today, the three things you can do to physiologically cognitively and chemically knock yourself out of fight or flight mode, every morning and then at any time during the day is one hyper hydration, drink more than 16 ounces of water. Let your body know that you are not in a threatening environment. That physiological change will calm the body down. Two, go back to your planning. Look at that planning that you do in the morning and make sure that you're connecting to your long term. It will calm you. Then three, the primal walk. It doesn't have to be just in the morning. Get up at anytime during the day. Kick off your shoes, put on some functional shoes, go out for a walk, come back to your desk and you will see the world differently. You will have a different level of awareness and you will feel a different level of momentum.
This is a game changer because although fight or flight might feel like you're getting a lot done, although that accelerated feeling might give you the impression that things are going on for you, when we live there, it is regressive and it can tear us apart. Try these three strategies to knock yourself out of fight or flight, to increase awareness and to be more present. If you would like more details on strategies like these, and even more that will help you create momentum as an entrepreneur, get out of fight or flight mode and accelerate everything in your life moving forward, go to momentumwebclass.com, check out the momentum master class when I'm teaching entrepreneurs around the world how to create an entirely new level of momentum, how to do use evolutionary instincts to make things happen rather than white knuckling and trying too hard, and how to create long term outcomes that you connect right back to the day to day so you always know, not only that you are on the hunt as an evolutionary hunter but you always know you're making progress and you're going in for the kill.
I would love to help you and I look forward to seeing you in the class. Momentumwebclass.com. Thanks for being here today for episode 47 of the entrepreneur, or the momentum podcast for the entrepreneurial personality type and check out momentumwebclass.com when you have a minute. I look forward to sharing with you tomorrow where we will go into the primal walk, a simple strategy that will literally change everything in your life.