Gavin de Becker is an author and security specialist, primarily for governments, large corporations and public figures.
He chairs Gavin de Becker and Associates, started in 1978, providing protection and advice to many famous people. Gavin is widely known as an expert in predicting and managing violence and pioneering protective intelligence.
He has been appointed for roles by three US presidents.
His work around fear and understanding gut instincts are the foundation of his book, The Gift Of Fear.
I enjoy self-help books. Most of them are rubbish, but some of them contain golden nuggets of wisdom which have influenced my thinking.
This is one of them.
Fear can be a gift
Gavin argues that our intuition, or ‘gut feeling’, is a powerful tool that can help us to stay safe from harm, and that we should learn to trust our intuition and to take action even if we cannot explain why we feel afraid.
It makes sense, but only if you strip away modern society’s hyper-materialism..
Gavin’s book explores, not just the biological mechanisms of fear, but also the psychological.
Fear is a natural (and important) response to danger. and it helps us avoid harm. However, fear can be manipulated by predators.
To be clear, true fear is useful, while unnecessary fear is harmful.
It’s important to know the difference.
Consider the following examples:
- a persistent date (like a stalker),
- a mother’s uneasy feeling about a new nanny, or
- a stranger in an empty car park.
Violence is a common risk, but we can defend ourselves by trusting our instincts.
Trust your intuition
Gavin provides advice on how to
- recognise potential threats,
- respond to such threats,
- notice warning signs,
- be aware of persistent attention,
- observe inappropriate familiarity, and
- pick up on attempts to isolate you from others.
He also includes a few pointers on how to stay safe in different situations, such as when you are walking alone at night or when you are dating somebody new.
Intuition lives matter.
We should learn to trust our gut feelings and to listen to our intuition, taking action even if we are not sure what to do.
For me, Gavin’s work highlights the importance of understanding human nature.
Here’s my conversation with him.