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Are you a Victim of The Skeletor Effect?
Chances are you don’t have a mortal enemy. There is no Skeletor to your He-Man. In this episode of The Secure Dad Podcast, we’ll dive into the human thought process, ego, threat assessment, and evil enemies. Discover what I’ve called, “The Skeletor Effect.”
For those of you who may not know there was this great line of toys and a cartoon show from Mattel in the early and mid-80s called He-Man Masters of the Universe. The gist of the show was that there was a land called Eternia and there were good characters and then there were evil characters. It’s very simple.
The good guys were led by Prince Eric who used an enchanted sword to become his superhero alter ego He-Man and he’d protect everyone. He’d yell, “I have the power” and transform into a weird outfit now that I look back on it.
The bad guys were led by Skeletor who had a skull face and an evil legion to do his bidding. He was fueled by the thought of destroying He-Man and ruling Eternia for himself and he’d stop at nothing to get what he wanted. These two are a classic case of mortal enemies
Generally, Prince Eric (He-Man) liked to hang out on do prince stuff, but as soon as he got wind of an evil plot afoot he’d grab his sword and it was on to go fight Skeletor. He-Man didn’t have to do much, he could pretty much sit and wait for something goofy to happen. He didn't have to be proactive about protecting Eternia.
He knew Skeletor, what he was capable of, how he operated, and generally where to find him. And if he didn’t know where he was, someone would tell him or Skeletor would appear out of nowhere with a witty insult of some sort. So basically He-Man didn’t have to worry about other threats to his home, he only had to worry about that one guy - his mortal enemy
Are We Our Own Heros?
Many of us grew up watching these types of shows where the hero sat around and waited for trouble to strike. (Substitute Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, or GI Joe.) Plus this appeals to us because our brains tend to make us the hero of our own story, our own life. This isn’t being intentionally self-centered, it’s just how the average person’s mind works. We are the center of our own Eternia. We are our own heroes.
Because we are the good, law-abiding citizens of the world, we live at peace with everyone. We don’t have mortal enemies with skull faces. (Or maybe YOU do.) There’s no one out there that we’ve wronged so greatly that the plot to overthrow us every week. No one is going to try to crush us with a bolder. Or more realistically, no one is fixated on harming us.
So since we choose the life of peace and respect for the law we can sometimes find ourselves believing that we are not ever in danger. “Who would want to hurt us?”, we think. “We pay our taxes and obey stop signs - even when no one is looking.” We’re the good guys.
We are He-Man, but there is no mortal enemy for us. And this is what I’ve called The Skeletor Effect. (There might actually be a scientific term for this mindset as it pertains to personal safety, but Skeletor is much cooler and more memorable.)
The Skeletor Effect - The belief that since an individual has not harmed anyone, they assume no one wants to harm them. The absence of a known enemy provides a false sense of security.
You have not made a mortal enemy so then there are no real threats to your life. “Because I’m a good person no one will hurt me” is how that thought pattern works. Life is fair that way, right? (No, it's not.)
This does fall under the large umbrella of what’s called the false consensus bias. This is when an individual overestimates the level at which other people share their beliefs, values, and attitudes.
In other words, you project your own morals and beliefs onto other people when that is not reality. I bet you are starting to come around to my point here that this is a dangerous way to live your life. You may not have a mortal enemy, but evil is in the world.
The Real Threats
Burglars what your big screen TV, scammers want your social security number, and pedophiles want your children. Evil is out there and while you didn’t wrong these unseen enemies, they’ll not hesitate to harm you.
If you live in a bubble, firm in the grasp of The Skeletor Effect then you won’t see them coming. You won’t be ready when the front door is kicked in or you won’t think it's odd when your neighbor is so eager to have your kids play in his house
This is what gets a lot of people stuck, they don’t see the value in situational awareness and preparedness they just see paranoia because it doesn’t fit their worldview. I bet you there is someone in your life that you love that subscribes to this effect. And it can be hard to help someone see the value in taking responsibility for their own safety.
For the rest of us, we know there are threats out there to our family. We must be proactive about making sure our families are safe. There is no sitting around waiting for the one threat we know to strike. We need to live our lives the best we can, confident in the knowledge that we have the mindset and the skills to protect our family from whatever threat may arise.
Some threats are more legitimate than others. We ourselves can’t be hyper-vigilant all the time thinking that everyone is out to get us, because that’s not true. Observation, planning, and discernment will go along way in guiding our actions and keeping those that we love safe.
And as for the false conscious bias, don’t be lured into thinking that everyone thinks as you do. They don’t. And other people project their values onto you. Is that fair? Nope.
So continue to be the He-Man of your life story, defend your family and your castle. But be mindful and ready, there are more Skeletor's out there than just the one you know.
For more on protecting your family, sign up for The Secure Dad Field Notes.
Also as a reminder, He-Man Masters of the Universe and Skeletor are trademarks of Mattel.