WATCH: SCARF Model Intro: Which Primary Threat is triggering you?

What are the primary threats and rewards that can come to us when we’re triggered, and the things that actually cause us to be stressed?

There’s a combination of them happening at the moment, with the pandemic that’s going on all around us. There’s a real combination of things that are really quite explosive and I’d like you to become aware of them. So you can catch them because the thing about being stressed is that it actually makes us a bit Stupid.

What it does is it creates and triggers adrenaline and norepinephrine in our brains and that triggers up the Limbic System, which makes us very emotional and reactive because it taps into old emotional memories. Some of them years old or even decades old, when we might not have been as resourceful as we are now in order to deal with those emotions. And it’s also about being able to label things. The more we can label things, the more our brain is able to understand them and then kick in our logical brain and go “okay what do I need to do about this?” Rather than being in an emotional tizzy or an “Emotional Hijack” as Daniel Goldman wrote famously in his book on Emotional Intelligence.

So we want to avoid or catch an Emotional Hijack early on so it doesn’t make us stupid and lower our intelligence. Because what happens when we get an Emotional Hijack is that we get a very narrow focus so we’ll go into zooming into a very small area, and we miss the bigger picture. We make accidental connections between two thoughts that may have happened and occurred at the same time in our brains, and before we know it we’re triggered into a stress response and we’ll make a pessimistic conclusion from those connections. So that doesn’t put us in a very resourceful state. And there’s five key things that I’d like to mention to you and then I’m going to go into more detail about them in another blog.

So the first one is ‘Status’. If our status gets threatened we’ll have a threat response.

With ‘Certainty’. If things become uncertain, and my goodness they’re extremely uncertain at the moment, we get a stress response.

If we have a lack of ‘Autonomy’ by being closed in and being told to stay indoors that’s a threat response.

‘Relatedness’, our relatedness is being fractured that’s a threat response.

And ‘Fairness’ we think the whole thing is unfair “why is it happening to me?” that’s a threat response.

This combination at the moment is overwhelming the whole population all around the world. And we’ll talk in the next few videos about what you can do about it.

So. remember when it comes to stress, Stay Curious!


I would be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions about any of the above so drop me a line at

Or to learn more about our Live-facilitated Online interactive experiences visit our New Webpage.


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Need help motivating your leaders? Get in contact with Talent4Performance.

Schedule a FREE 30-minute CONSULTATION with David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014