On August 1, 1966, after stabbing his mother and his wife to death the night before, Charles Whitman, a former Marine, took rifles and other weapons to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at the University of Texas at Austin, then opened fire indiscriminately on people on the surrounding campus and streets. Over the next 96 minutes he shot and killed 14 more people (including an unborn child) and injured 31 others.
He had been troubled for years with this urge to kill people prior to him actually doing it. Through a note that he had written prior to going on this killing spree, Whitman requested for his brain to be used for research to figure out “Why he did, What he did”.
The doctors indeed found a tumor in the white matter above his amygdala which was probably the reason causing him the distress.
Human beings have an innate need to be in control, it’s not so much about controlling people as much as it is about their need around control.
We really don’t have to be in control for this, we just need a sense of control and that’s enough.
This sense of control is so evolutionary that we feel is important for us to survive and can create paranoia when its sensed missing.
Look at some of the questions that bother people all the time:
- Why am I not succeeding?
- Why is someone else succeeding?
- Why did a wrong choice happen to me (read carefully: I didn’t make a wrong choice, it happened to me-it’s outside me)?
- Who is to be blamed?
- Can I generalize someone’s success or failure to a reason?
- Why did the markets fall or go up today?
- Why didn’t I make money?
The list is endless
We need simple explanations for everything so we can make sense out of things?
However Whitman’s story is not about being psycho, it’s not of a person in control-it’s a person losing control?
There could be something physical or physiological; something I can see, or something I understand, even something that I can’t see nor understand.
Does the key lie in being in control or in managing how you feel about control which can achieve far greater actual control.
Risk in behaviour emanate not from what’s predictable but from what’s not predictable?
So all you do is make provisions around what can impact you negatively when a risk arrives whether predictable or unpredictable and then be disciplined about how you run your affairs-whether it’s your business or your personal finance.