takeoff is optional but landing is mandatory.

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we have to use the reins of reason on the horse of emotion.

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Moderate stress enhances learning. When two neurons fire together, they become wired together. When a strong and weak neuron—call them Al and Betty—stimulate a third neuron—call it Charlie—at the same time, the weak one, Betty, gains the ability to stimulate Charlie to fire. That’s why the ringing of a bell could cause Pavlov’s dog to salivate even when there was no food present. Scientists, with their ever playful juggling of three or four languages at once, call that long-term potentiation (LTP). So risk is an integral part of life and learning. A baby who doesn’t walk, for example, will never risk falling. But in exchange for taking

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We think we believe what we know, but we only truly believe what we feel.

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But in the long course of evolution, it has been a successful strategy.

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Perceptions come at you like the 6 million hits you get when you do an Internet search. Without a powerful search engine, you’re paralyzed. One search engine involves emotional bookmarks, in which feelings help direct logic and reason to a place where they can do useful work. A second strategy the brain uses for handling complicated problems is to create mental models, stripped-down schematics of the world.

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In more subtle tricks, the magician creates a mental model for you, a short-term memory of the world.

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One of the reasons magic tricks work can be explained through a brain system called working memory. It is a general purpose workspace, and most of us experience it as attention or conscious thought. In addition, there are specialized systems for verbal and nonverbal information, and they have a type of short-term memory that allows perceptions to be compared with one another over the span of a few seconds. The general purpose area can take in information from the specialized systems (sight, smell, sound, and so on) and can integrate and process that information through what LeDoux calls “an executive function.” That

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Working memory can also retrieve information from long-term memory. The fact that you can read this long sentence is the result of your working memory’s ability to hold the beginning, middle, and end all at once and to retrieve definitions and associations from long-term memory and use them to make sense of the words. It is also the result of the fact that you have created mental models of the words.

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But the model he created before the plane appeared did not contain the plane.

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If things don’t go according to the plan, revising such a robust model may be difficult. In an environment that has high objective hazards, the longer it takes to dislodge the imagined world in favor of the real one, the greater the risk. In nature, adaptation is important; the plan is not. It’s a Zen thing. We must plan. But we must be able to let go of the plan, too.

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The rigid person is a disciple of death; The soft, supple, and delicate are lovers of life.

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In system accidents, unexpected interactions of forces and components arise naturally out of the complexity of the system. Such accidents are made up of conditions, judgments, and acts or events that would be inconsequential by themselves. Unless they are coupled in just the right way and with just the right timing, they pass unnoticed.

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Perrow used technical terms to describe those systems. He called them “tightly coupled.” He said that they must be capable of producing unintended complex interactions among components and forces. In his view, unless the system is both tightly coupled and able to produce such interactions, no system accident can happen (though other failures happen all the time).

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He’s talking about a theory called “risk homeostasis.” The theory says that people accept a given level of risk. While it’s different for each person, you tend to keep the risk you’re willing to take at about the same level. If you

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The person who has the best chance of handling a situation well is usually the one with the best…mental pictures or images of what is occurring outside of the body.”

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Survivors aren’t fearless. They use fear: they turn it into anger and focus.

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The trick is to become extremely stingy with your scarce resources, balancing risk and reward, investing only in efforts that offer the biggest return.

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Helping someone else is the best way to ensure your own survival. It takes you out of yourself. It helps you to rise above your fears. Now you’re a rescuer, not a victim. And seeing how your leadership and skill buoy others up gives you more focus and energy to persevere. The cycle reinforces itself: You buoy them up, and their response buoys you up. Many people who survive alone report that they were doing it for someone else (a wife, boyfriend, mother, son) back home.

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Purpose is a big part of survival, but it must be accompanied by work.

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The survivor plans by setting small, manageable goals and then systematically achieving them.

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The birds are the radar of the forest.”

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ways of seeing and walking that were used by Native American trackers and other Aboriginal peoples. He called it “Owl Eyes and the Fox Walk,” that full-body alertness

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certain people, when afraid, experience “activation of the amygdala [which] will lead working memory to receive a greater number of inputs, and inputs of a greater variety, than in the presence of emotionally neutral stimuli.”

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Like an immune system, it defined the inside and the outside. And by being responsible to each

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“A pattern of movements developed after my initial wobbly hops and I meticulously repeated the pattern. Each pattern made up one step across the slope and I began to feel detached from everything around me. I thought of nothing but the patterns.” His struggle had become a dance, and the dance freed him from the terror of what he had to do.

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Countless survivors have reported the same thing: by developing a pattern and then fixing on nothing but making the pattern perfect, they were able to get out of seemingly impossible situations.

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Survival is adaptation, and adaptation is change,

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Perceive, believe (look, see, believe).

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Stay calm (use humor, use fear to focus).

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survivors use patterns and rhythm to move forward in the survival voyage,

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