If you can’t bite, never show your teeth

IMG_1396The other day, I mentioned a little about confrontation. I wanted to delve deeper into the point with today’s adage. When one enters into a confrontation, presence of mind is critical to succeed. That is not always possible.

It is hard to have presence of mind in confrontation. Adrenaline surges through your body. Your amygdala barks orders. You grow tense. Your body is preparing you to either fight back or flee. Some freeze because they grow overwhelmed by the moment.

With so much happening, few take the time to assess what they must do.  But that is the only way to overcome in those situations. For instance, in a simple disagreement, you may find a path forward that removes the need for conflict. Presence of mind allows you to see that.

But we sometimes face a different set of circumstances. You may discover such instances where you cannot do what you must to win. Oftentimes we’re tempted to puff ourselves out and intimidate our opposition. Even when we know we won’t follow through with our provocative posture.

Our lack of resolve shows up. We think we have masked our fear. We haven’t. We think we will bluff them. We won’t. They can smell our fear. Our eyes and our stance and our nerves betray us.

If you are not single-minded to do what it takes – whatever it takes, back down. When you bare your teeth and are unable to bite, you expose your weakness to both your opponents and your allies.


This adage does have a flip side. Sometimes bluffs work. Bluffing your opponents requires a deep knowledge of them. You may need to use different techniques for bluffing. It depends on the moment. You must know yourself. Squash all your nervous tics. Develop the presence of mind to sell your bluff to all who are present. Your resolve remains the key. If you bare your teeth to bluff, be prepared to hold on until the end.

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