I was in Newport, Rhode Island, walking alone down a poorly lit street late at night near the waterfront—a very nasty part of town. It was the kind of thing you do when you’re young and tough and you think you’re invulnerable.

Not surprisingly in a neighborhood like this, there are characters who have only your wallet, not your best interests, at heart. In particular, about 100 feet in front of me, two very rough-looking men were casing me from the opposite side of the street. They crossed to my side of the street. So I crossed to the other side. They crossed back and I crossed again.

In the first phases of defense taught in specialized martial arts, creative thinking takes you to the three strategies of avoid, confuse, and dissuade. ...

Get The Warrior Mind now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.