Thursday 24 September 2015

Landscaping Your Life

Landscaping Your life is a tool I use in my coaching and facilitation with clients. Since its conception in 2000 there's been many different ways that landscapes and nature have been used to obtain insight on situations whether for teams, boards, managers, leaders or personally.

I've shared a number of the different ways previously on this blog - going for a walk, envisoning changes to a landscape, short story, observational video blogs, coaching sessions in nature, and using sayings such as can't see the wood for the trees to find the antidote.

Here I'd like to go back in time and return to the first ever time I used it - which involves choosing a picture that best describes the current situation and then making changes to it until it's just right. (you can do this in your mind but using real pictures and cutting them up adds something to the process).

I can't tell you how you'll know 'it's just right' but you will know. It's as if as you make the changes your mind makes sense of the original situation, and the changes you make to enable it to become clearer as a result.  

Here's an example 

I then decide what to add or take away from the picture

and then realise I need to cut even more away 

That's better - and then add something

and again

and again

You may end up with very little of the original picture left - there is no right or wrong - it's as if you've gone on a journey from where you are to where you want to be and your mind will now make sense of what that means in reality. Of course you may never know what it means - you may just feel differently and the situation may just change.

Have a go yourself and notice what you notice - and let me know how you get on. Just a word of warning I've found for 99.99% of people it's useful for the landscapes to be on earth rather than out of this world. That is the normal rules of gravity apply.

I know a number of those early guinea pigs who still have their end landscape, even 15 years later, and it's on view in their office as a reminder of the insight they gained. A sign I always think of a truly profound process - even if I say so myself :-).

Individual coaching and group facilitation sessions using Landscaping Your Life or a number of other tools are available so do please get in touch if you've been grappling with a challenge for some time and would like a different perspective. +44 (0)7770 538159.

More can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Open or closed

I travelled to York yesterday with Virgin trains and when we got there I was at the front of the queue to get off. After a few moments of pressing the button someone whispered from behind me "try pressing the top button".

I got off very embarrassed, and as I walked towards the exit someone came along side me and said "you were so confident I didn't think to check which button you were pressing". That observation in and of it self would be worth a blog post!

It wasn't until I caught the Cross country train home that I realised I might not just have been having one of those moments!

You see the buttons on the way home looked like this:

Of course we should read the instructions each time - but we don't. We generalise and, if more often than not the open button is on the bottom, why would we think to check it wasn't. 

Years ago you could get into different cars and find the lights and indicators in different places (although not the brake and accelerator thankfully). More recently I don't recall having to relearn where they are when I've driven hire cars - so perhaps car manufacturers have learnt not to fiddle about with basic instrumentation (too busy fiddling with other instrumentation it seems!).

A great reminder that we do many things on auto pilot. We do however need to check that it's still relevant to the outcome we're wanting - otherwise we might be a long time waiting for the door to open!

Monday 21 September 2015

The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland have made it through to the short list for #treeoftheyear. I hope since they've become part of the Game of Thrones history that they're better signposted than when we visited a number of years ago. 

I wondered as I looked at the pictures on Twitter how the hedges could be used for Landscaping your life (LYL). 

LYL is a process that uses landscapes and nature as a metaphor for our lives. Along the lines of being as grounded as a tree, going with the flow like a river, as deep as the ocean, as changeable as the weather and so on. 

There are a number of different ways LYL can be used to help you get out of a rut and back on track, or help you to see the wood for the trees etc.

Let's see what how the Dark Hedges might be of assistance.

First think of a situation you'd like more clarity on - you may be stuck or simply want to get on track quicker or more easily, or you may not quite know which direction you want to go. What ever the situation bring it to mind and get a sense of what level of clarity and satisfaction you currently have for it.

Now put the situation to the back of your mind and join me as we explore the landscape. We'll come back to the real life situation later once we've allowed nature to provide us with some insight. 

As you look at the picture of the Dark Hedges what come to mind? For example you may notice:
  • The straight road up the middle
  • The crooked branches
  • The connected branches 
  • The green leaves
  • The grey bark
If you imagine this image representing the current situation what do you notice? Has it improved your ability to understand the solution that's needed? Does the image feel more or less satisfactory or clear?  

If it's feeling more satisfactory already you may want to see if any of the following suggestions increase your level of satisfaction, or simply return now to the original situation and notice what you notice. 

If nothing has changed, or perhaps satisfaction has reduced, consider what changes you might want to make to the image. These might include (and feel free to try each of the suggestions as you read through the list)
  • Adding more or less colour or even making back and white
  • Changing the size of the image
  • Changing the location of the image 
  • Zooming in or out 
  • Making it more or less focused
  • Making it into a movie so you can explore the landscape more fully
  • Adding sounds
  • Changing the weather
  • Changing the time of day
  • Changing the type of tree
  • Adding or taking away trees
  • Making the road longer or shorter
  • Making the road more bendy
In other words keep changing the image until satisfaction with the image has increased, and stop once satisfaction has peaked. 

Don't worry if this feel strange - especially if you can't make sense of why making these changes can change your level of satisfaction. Basically your mind is able to make the connection and is doing all the hard work for you. 

Relax and continue to explore the image knowing that as you do so different connections in your brain are being made that will enable you to view the original situation differently.

How satisfied with the image do you now feel? 

If you're still not feeling any more satisfied you may want to imagine moving around the landscape - either by walking or even flying (as a bird or bee) or even using a mini camera drone. 

Or perhaps you need to imagine travelling into a completely different landscape? 

Just keep making changes until clarity and satisfaction have improved.

Now return to thinking about the original situation - notice what you notice? What is clearer now, and perhaps more importantly what actions can you now take to move forward?

I'd love to hear how you get on with this - it's always harder to explain how to do it remotely like this - much easier in person as we walk through a landscape. 

Perhaps that's my next task to do a video blog demonstrating it in practice. (I will add a link here once I've done that). 

Although there's plenty of other LYL video blogs using nature to get insight about life on my LYL YouTube channel. There's more on Facebook and Pinterest too.

Do get in touch if you're interested in knowing more about individual or group coaching and facilitation using this process, or other innovative tools that enable you or your team to be more inspired and get back on track +44 (0)7770 538159 

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Sunday 20 September 2015

The Wave

They say that we've moved into having portfolio careers where we have more than one string to our bow. Most blogs posted here tackle change management, personal development, communication and influencing with a smattering of purchasing and well being thrown in. In other words what the large majority of my coaching and facilitation involves. 

In today's blog I share, by request, a short story I wrote that others have found to be insightful, and which strays beyond my normal offering - the essence of which aligns with everything I do.

Love was a wave and she was a very lonely wave. She had travelled the globe in search of something more than the life she had. Surely there must be more to life than rising and falling and being dictated to by the bright glowing circle in the sky. 

She’d tried to ask other waves if they felt the same as her but they never stayed around long enough to give her an answer. From watching them she thought they looked satisfied enough. The sounds they made when the wind whipped them against the cliffs in far flung places certainly sounded like enjoyment to her. Although she did wonder about that as she’d never had the courage to actually have a go herself. Instead she chose to hang back and watch as other waves moved forward and took the momentum. She had tried to change her shape like some waves so that she may take the surfers into her very centre and yet she hung back scared of hurting them. She’d also tried to do that thing with the air to make her very edges all white and foamy. But she withdrew fearing she’d not be able to go back to how she was. She also envied those waves who had the confidence to carry large ships towards their destination in their wake.

It was on one such day when she’d really had enough. She really was useless she felt and couldn’t do anything all the other waves could. Either she didn’t have the courage, the experience or the expertise. She also didn’t have anywave to ask questions and share it all with. It was in this heavy and depressing mood that she felt her self dragged down. Dragged deeper than she’d ever been before. 

Deeper, darker, colder. 

If she had felt fear in the past it was nothing to how she felt now. Down and down she went,.

Deeper, darker, colder. 

Her thoughts slowed right down, as if time itself was starting to move into slow motion. 

Deeper, darker, colder.

Until she finally came to a stop. She couldn’t see anything, she couldn’t feel anything and she was struggling to think anything. 

She realised she was very tense and tried very hard to relax and allow some space between every fibre of her being. As she did this she realised that she felt a little better. So for the next few  - she didn’t know what they were -  they could have been seconds, minutes, hours, days or even weeks. So all we can say is that as time passed she felt lighter. 

She practiced very hard allowing space in-between every fibre of her being. She couldn’t do it all at once. She had to pick some part of her and concentrate very hard on that part and just breathe and allow space inside. It was as if part by part she was getting lighter and brighter, and was it her imagination or was she feeling a little warmer too?

What she found however was as soon as she started to wonder about what was happening, how it was happening and try to make it go quicker she started to feel the cold, she started to emanate less light.  Each time she then had to take a breath and start all over again. Slowly working her away around each part of herself. 

Over time she was able to hold on to this lighter and brighter state for longer. She found she didn’t have to concentrate quite so hard and could still manage to maintain this lighter and brighter state.

Finally she managed to be the lighter and brighter state. It was as if she had changed. It was as if she was no longer the wave trying to be brighter, trying to be lighter she was simply a bright and light wave. She puzzled over this for some time. She felt like she was still herself but she somehow knew she was different. The added brightness and added lightness had in some way changed her.

Of course what she had failed to notice was that once she was this different state she had also started to rise. Until finally she neared the surface and noticed her own lightness reflected in the water around her. She came to the surface and took a deep breath and allowed the rays of the sun to warm her. 

She looked around her and could see many waves all with the same lightness and same brightness as her. She felt an acceptance from them that she had never felt before. An acceptance for who she was and not what she could or couldn’t do.

She stayed with the other waves for many moons. She did many things she’d never tried before. She especially enjoyed the rushing into caves and being dragged back out with the momentum of those around her. She even had time to perfect the tender holding of surfers as they danced within her very core.

After one particularly exciting day she started to feel different. She started to feel even brighter and even lighter. As if even the very binds that were holding every part of her together were being pulled gently apart. Having been in the deep, dark and cold place before she didn’t consider this scary and even felt some excitement about what was happening. And so she simply allowed the transformation to take place. Until it was as if she was everything and everywhere all at the same time. There was certainly more ease, even more light, and bright just wasn’t the word for it. She just was, and realised that she had always been all that there is - LOVE.

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Don't let your past define you

As this tree reminds us - we are not our past - it simply makes us stronger but is not who we are today.

More on Landscaping Your life on my YouTube channel, Facebook and Pinterest.

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Friday 18 September 2015


Earlier in the week I shared my own tribute to Wayne Dyer, an inspirational speaker and writer, who died a few weeks ago. Hay house, his publisher, and friends paid their own tribute to him at a conference tonight. After staying up here in the UK to watch it till 0245 I sat down to write and this is what emerged.

As I wrote I realised I'd hit the magic time of morning (0313) where Wayne would often get up:

'The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you - don't go back to sleep' Rumi

The writing that emerged isn't what I'd normally share but it expresses much of what I've learnt from Wayne, and its because of that I share this today - in honour of a man who has made such a difference to so many people's lives, and will continue to do so for years, if not decades, to come.

Let love be your compass 

We are all the same.
We all have the capacity to love and hate in equal measure.
Those who choose love choose a harder path.
Those who choose hate have an easier road to travel.
Hate has anger.
Hate has vitriol.
Hate has bullets and other weapons.
Love's only weapon is the open heart - which can't be seen only felt.
Whilst hate defends itself against attach, love opens itself vulnerable to that attach.
Trust and faith are love's only strategies that reinforce the courage to stay strong.
Know love is the only answer.
Know love will win.
Know love is the only winner.
Everyone will realise that in the end.
Those who choose hate will just take a little longer to accept that.
Every day let love be your compass.
Every day see and be grateful of the love in others (ALL others).
Every day remember we each are a reflection of the divine.
What you see in another is as true within you as it is within them.
If there's hate in the world - then somewhere deep inside you there too must be hate.
Even if it's hidden and only heard in the early hours of the morning.
Heal your own hate, and walk the talk with love.
Know as you shine you allow others to too.
Be the way forger.
Know that whilst you may have chosen the harder path that only those able to rise to the challenge start the journey, and make it their own.
Find the music in you, and walk the talk with gratitude.
Let love be your compass. 

Great visuals from John Hain on Pixbay

Wednesday 16 September 2015


I've just posted a very short YouTube video entitled Paths. A reminder that sometimes following the paths others have taken is the best option - especially if we want to avoid the nettles!

The vlog, or perhaps my reaction to it, reminds me about what a lot of my work as a coach entails - helping others understand the patterns they run that support them, and identifying and releasing those patterns that don't.

In other words many of our sources of greatest challenge can be found in a pattern that has us doing the opposite to what makes most sense!

I use 'patterns' as a term a lot but just in case we could be at cross purposes - the best way of describing patterns is as a set of learnt behaviours we use when in certain situations ie the alarm goes off and we do X,Y and then Z every day, or the set routines we use to do the work we do everyday, or clean the house, drive the car, or the buttons that get pressed and the predeterminable reactions we have every time someone mentions A to us or does K (think mums and clothes on your bedroom floor as a great example :-)).

That is when we run a pattern we no longer choose what to do next - we just do it - because that's who we are and that's what we do. (To find out more about their hold on us I wrote a blog earlier in the year about recurring patterns)

Sometimes even having a conversation with someone about them changing such a pattern can be met with much resistance "I'm me, why should I change, no one is going to make me change how I do what I do!". The answer in this blog on that subject reminds us: we don't have to change if we're getting the outcome we want - however if we're not getting the outcome we want then we can either keep trying to open a locked door by kicking it, or we can find the key and open it!

This vlog was interesting because it turned on its head the advice I'd often be sharing here - instead of forging your own path I'm suggesting sometimes it's better to just follow everyone else!! Better because in that situation it's the most logical, and the more effective and efficient means of achieving our goal.

I don't know about you but I react to such advice, and I mean react. As I now reflect on being told to follow others I am laughing at the inevitability of me then metaphorically opting to traipse through the nettles! 

Laughing at least means that a week after videoing the blog that the insight is at least starting to land. Yes Alison if you spent less time resisting following others and exclaiming "no one's going to tell me what to do" you might have energy left to do what you want to do when it really counts!

It's as if our patterns become synonymous with our identify - that is we link 'how we do things' (our patterns) to 'who we are' (our identity). I'm only me if I do something this particular way - in fact I'm not at all me if I achieve the outcome a different way, and especially if that way is how others do it!

Our values then get involved, and start to prescribe ways we're going to get a value met. Which means suddenly a recurring pattern becomes the only way we can get a value met, and therefore helps to explain why we're so resistant to changing it. If I think the only way to achieve freedom is to head off into the nettles I'll keep on doing it! (The link is to a blog where I tried to shake off the recurring pattern around not making decisions for fear of losing freedom.)

Just repeating a recurring pattern therefore might not be the best option - unless of course you have some dock leaves handy for when you get stung!

What buttons are being pressed for you today, and in what way are you forgetting that how you do something is not linked to your identity, and that there are numerous ways your values can be met?

Tuesday 15 September 2015


Perfection is such a hard task master. One that drains energy, laughter, inspiration and life out of any situation. Of course it would - it's an impossible target constantly whispering "more, more".

When coaching clients my, albeit recent, recognition of the benefits of 'doing my best' versus aiming for 'perfection' is of no use to them. Clients have to find their own relationship with 'perfection', and 'good enough', or what other alternatives to perfection they discover for themselves. 

Here's a picture from a recent walk where a desire to let go of perfection led me to ask "what part of the current landscape best describes that desire". I then asked them to walk into that landscape and notice what they noticed.

There seemed to be a lot of "oh I see" and "that feels better" going on - only time will tell if their relationship with perfection has changed in a way to make a difference in their day to day life. The clue I suspect being less doing, and more being and "time for me".

The presupposition that nature has the answer ensures your mind will find an analogy or metaphor that makes sense to any challenge you set it. That's why Landscaping Your Life is such an effective tool and one that's always in the tool kit for selection in personal coaching, and group facilitated sessions I deliver. 

If you're interested in discovering more - see the Landscaping Your Life Facebook or Pinterest pages or call me +44 (0)7770 538159 or email me 

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Friday 11 September 2015

Don't die with your music still in you

Celebrities die every week and I can be sad for the loss of the life of someone who had made a difference in the world, and of course for a family who has lost someone close to them. 

At the end of August the news that Wayne Dyer had died had a very profound impact on me - not a day has gone by since hearing the news that I have not reflected on the consequences of his teachings on my life. The same can be said for many others impacted by his life - if my Facebook feed is anything to go by anyway.

Hay house have reduced the price of all his books and as a result I'm reading one of the few books I didn't already own, and written with his daughter, entitled "Don't die with the music still in you" (for me Wayne died having sung every tune within him, and has now passed the baton on to us all to make our own music). 

As I thought about sharing what I'd learnt from Wayne, and who I had become as a result, I found out that parliament are meeting to discuss the merits of starting the journey towards assisted dying here in the UK. Whilst I don't know what Wayne felt about assisted dying I know that his teachings would add to the debate and for me (with my beliefs and attachments *) include:
Which counter a culture where death of the body is seen as something to be avoided at any and all costs - even if it means forcing others to hang on by their fingers nails. Or where the body is repaired time and time again because we can, because it's physically possible - ignoring the impact on the mind, heart and soul. As if the body has a higher priority than mind, heart and soul?
  • Compassion for self and others
  • Respect for self and others 
  • Love, honour and acceptance
  • Trust and listen to your intuition
These, to me, support the reminder I've had during my CPD coaching training this summer - we can't hope to tell anyone what to do only hold the space for them to make the right decision for themselves. As soon as we're attached to an outcome for another we're not respecting that person's right to decide. If we impose our opinion on another as their fact we make it more about us than them. We're not being compassionate, we're telling someone what we'd do in that situation, and stating it as fact, and that's tantamount to bullying.

When a friend made the decision to have no more treatment for cancer I was surprised at how many people's responses were, it seemed to me, more about their loss than hers. They tried to persuade her of the error of her ways rather than love, honour and accept her decision, and support her through a very difficult time and last few months. I dealt with my feelings outside the room, and when in the room with her listened and gave her what she asked for.

I would not wish to stop someone living, but neither would I wish to stop someone dying (with the caveats that their current conditions can not be improved, and they're not making the decision from obligation, shoulds, oughts, musts or under duress).
  • If we squeeze an orange we will always get orange juice 
Much of the reasoning for not allowing assisted dying presupposes evil or wrong doing of others and society. If you expect and look for evil and hate in the world I'm sad that's the world you see, experience and are. When I squeeze the world I see love and compassion - even if it's a challenge every day to accept my personal responsibility for that because:
  • You can't give away what you don't have
Wayne is one of a few speakers (Caroline Myss is another) who have been at my side throughout the last 15 years, since I started my self development and yes spiritual journey. I would not be who I am today if they had not posed the questions for me to answer and explore. I would not be who I am today if they had not challenged my thinking and behaviours. This blog would not be what it is if not for them and other writers, speakers and teachers.

I love you Wayne, and know we will hear your music for years and decades to come. Thank you for being you and walking the talk, and making a difference in mine and other's lives by letting your music be heard and encouraging us to walk our talk.

With love

* Here's a blog I wrote on the subject of assisted dying last year entitled - the science fiction Armageddon where the robots take over is here

From the perspective of Wayne's teachings I suspect it's a little too angry, too preachy and not unattached to the outcome enough. I'm unsure I managed much better in this blog. I also worry that it uses his words in a way he wouldn't have wished them to be used.

In response to my self criticism I can hear Wayne say, with much compassion, "We're all work in progress Alison. Trust that noticing is the first step to continuing this journey, and know that what you say is an expression of how you feel today. I AM Wayne".

Thursday 10 September 2015

Can't see the wood for the trees

I've used landscapes as metaphors for change with clients for over 15 years. Yet I'm still surprised at the effectiveness, creativity and speed that solutions can be found.

We use landscapes all the time in the language we use - stuck in a rut, out on the limb or can't see the wood for the trees and so on. This week on Facebook I've been exploring solutions when we can't see the wood for the trees. 

The premise is if we're using the saying then at some level in our mind it represents the current situation. If we're currently stuck, therefore, one way to get unstuck is to change the image representing it.

It's much better to get a sense of how the process works if you try it for yourself. So why not think of a situation you could describe as not being able to see the wood for the trees about.

How satisfied do you feel about the situation - on a scale of 0/10 - and what benefit would it provide if you felt more satisfied? 

Now put that situation to the back of your mind, and bring to the front of your mind an image of the trees you can't see the wood for. I know it may feel a little strange but trust me you will have an answer - either because you can construct an image or intuitively can just give an answer. Trust it will, and does, make sense to your mind. 

As you reflect on your Internal image or landscape look at the following pictures - what changes may they be suggesting you make to your current image? 

No need to rush - take your time and allow landscapes, perspectives and ideas to come to mind. There's no right or wrong - we're just exploring the situation as a metaphor, as trees in a wood, rather than in reality.

I'm curious .... How satisfied are you as you now think of the original situation? Curious because you may not need to follow the rest of the process outlined below - ie your unconscious may already have done the job and shifted something - which means you already can see the wood for the trees - or may be starting to anyway.

Otherwise bring to mind your original image of the trees - you may notice some subtle or not so subtle changes have already taken place - what other changes may you want to make to that image? 

Perhaps more or less colour or movement, louder or softer sounds, bigger or smaller image. Or perhaps viewed from a different perspective or a different time of day or year or cooler or warmer. One client for example changed the type of trees to beech, and that made all the difference and inspired immediate action. In other words play around with the image. I know that sounds weird but we're simply making changes to an image we've constructed, and since the original image depicts a stuck state then making changes will enable you to get unstuck.

Just curious ... How satisfied do you feel about the situation now?

At this point if we were in a coaching session I'd spend more time on the metaphor with you - but without knowing what direction would be best for you to explore the trees then we could just get more lost in the wood ;-). So let's just return to the original situation - unless of course you have time to go for a walk in a wood and notice what difference that might make (I had a great session the other week doing this with 6 members of the Scottish Institute of Business Leaders, and many years ago with the whole board of management of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply).

What actions in the current situation or different perspectives have come to mind as you've reviewed the images or made the changes. More importantly what will be your first step?

I'm curious - how satisfied do you feel about the situation? 

You might want to remember that if you procrastinate too much longer the wood may just become like these trees ..... Unless of course that's the solution?

Have fun and do let me know how you get on.

More on Landscaping Your Life can be found on Facebook and Pinterest - see the right hand side of this page for links to these (unless anyone can tell me how to add HTML links using the Blogger app of course). I'll be starting a new Landscaping Your Life blog very soon so watch this space.

One other suggestion is to play around with the saying.....
  • Can't see the trees for the wood
  • Can't see the wood for the forest 
  • Can't see the bark for the trees
  • Can't see the fish for the water
  • Like a tree out of a wood
  • Can't see the rut for the mud
  • Stuck in a tree
  • Up a creek without a tree
  • Can't see the wood for the creek
  • And so on - the more absurd the better (the aim being to just change the internal representation you have for the situation - once you've done that then you're on your way from being stuck to getting back on track, or even going with the flow - if that isn't mixing metaphors too much).

Do please contact me if you're interested in individual or group sessions using the process - great for problem solving, strategy or goal setting, and for times when more inspiration or creativity are needed - +44 (0) 7770 538159

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

Wednesday 9 September 2015


It's nearly 5 months since I last wrote a blog - the longest I've not written a blog for years.

The blog in April was entitled adrenaline junkie and described how I knew it was time for a break from work because my priorities were out of wack. That is work was becoming more important than my well being - sitting at the computer at 0630 was more important than eating breakfast, and replying to every email as soon as it came in was an urgent priority.

Having taken a week off in early May I returned with my priorities realigned, and the adrenaline back to normal - which resulted in a break from social media too. 

Of course it's freed up a lot of time and it's allowed me to prioritise work I'd been ignoring, and start writing of a completely different sort - more of that in future blogs.

Today's news that a BA flight had to abort landing due to a fire in an engine had me wondering about priorities again. These pictures hopefully explain why?


I imagine that as smoke swept into the aircraft, and the pilot ordered "evacuate", that the passengers' fight/flight mechanisms kicked in. When that happens it becomes about self preservation - it's why people may be seen pushing others out of the way or acting very selfishly in order to survive, it's also why parents put the survival of their children above their own lives. 

I can't quite understand however how it explains people evacuating with all their baggage - not just the baggage under their seat but from the over head locker too!! 

From my understanding, albeit basic, our fight/flight mechanism is about survival, For those passengers to have disembarked from the plane with those bags means 1 of 2 things - their fight/flight mechanism didn't kick in and they just followed normal learnt behaviour when disembarking, or they value their possessions as much as their own children or life.

5 months ago my iPad/iPhone had become too important an aspect of my life and I recognised the addiction I had for them, and took time off to allow that addiction to dissipate. Today I trust that those passengers, who are so addicted to their possessions that they endangered their own and other passengers lives to save them, will also recognise the addiction they have and take appropriate action before someone dies as a consequence.