When we face problems in life, we retreat into the past, for that is a form of escapism. We glorify the past and do not want to even think about the problem at hand.

This tendency is a throwback to the days when we were forest-dwellers. In a forest, a man, coming up face to face with a wild animal, has two options: fight or flight. A civilised man too has two options — to fight or take flight — when he comes up against a hurdle in life. We invariably take flight, because that is the easier. But running away from a problem is not going to make it disappear. The sensible person would therefore think of how to find a solution , rather than try to find a way to forget the problem, Suki Sivam said in a lecture.

Our first reaction to a problem is fear. Fear prompts us to escape from the frightening situation. Once we let fear take over, we forget our strengths. And often, our fears turn out to be unfounded.

Once, the conductor of a bus approached a passenger, who had not bought a ticket. The conductor was puny, while the passenger was well built. The passenger refused to buy a ticket. Afraid to force him to buy a ticket, the conductor chose to remain silent. But he was answerable to the transport authorities for every passenger who travelled ticketless.

The next day, the same strong man travelled in the same bus and again refused to buy a ticket. The conductor then decided that the best thing to do would be for him to take leave, and see how things turned out.

At the end of a week, the conductor was back on duty, and the same passenger was in the bus. But now, the conductor decided that enough was enough, and asked the man why he would not buy a ticket.

The passenger replied that since he was an employee of the transport corporation, he was entitled to free travel! Now if the conductor had been sensible, he would have got a valid explanation the first day itself and would not have had to take leave.

Thus it is that in life, we often fear when there is no reason to fear. If we thought sensibly, we would find solutions to what seem like huge problems.

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