The Chimp Paradox
AUTHOR/S: Professor Steve Peters
PUBLISHED: Great Britain 2012 by Edbury Publishing
REVIEW: How can you manage your mind so that you can conquer your fears, operate with greater control, focus and confidence? Prof Peters has some great ideas and systems to enable us to learn how do just that.
“If you measure success in life by effort and doing your best, then it is always in your hands to succeed and be proud of yourself.”
The book is like an instruction manual for the brain and Steve divides this up into three parts - the human brain, the chimp brain and the computer brain - looking in detail at how each one influences our daily lives including all the pesky gremlins and goblins you might expect to find.
“Part of the problem is that most people don’t realise that the Chimp is merely making an offer and not a command. You do not have to follow your emotions; you have a choice.”
You end up being able to easily identify which one is ‘in charge’ during your day. Obviously the chimp in us needs to take a back seat and eat bananas leaving the thinking brain in charge. We are invited to name our chimp!
“If you have eight hours to chop down a tree, spend eight hours sharpening your axe.” Abraham Lincoln
Box Your Chimp
I love, love, love the way this book talks about naming, and managing your chimp. Say my chimp was called Jessica, it would be my job, as a rational human to either exercise my inner chimp by letting out all emotions in a safe environment, box it by reasoning with it (as in cage it rather than with boxing gloves) or throw Jessica a bloody banana by distracting it - my chimp would naturally probs prefer a glass of rose or a bar of Cadburys but hey ho. These three ways are highly effective ways to help in RL to ensure we remain calm and in control at all times.
“Remember the person you want to be is the person you really are”
Stone of Life
The Stone of Life contains the values and beliefs which make up your very core. What may sound extremely simplistic is of course the hardest task of all to contemplate. Indeed, it is what Simon Sinek explores in Start With Why. The Stone of Life for Steve is the Life Force which gets him out of bed in the morning. This section will cause reflection, and rightly so, because if this is out of whack, then your human brain doesn’t stand a chance as your chimp brain will be rampaging round with no values and beliefs to centre you. If you are struggling with your reason to get up in the morning, read the following extract and then download this book!
“Imagine that you are 100 years old and on your death bed with one minute to live. Your great-grandchild asks ‘before you die, tell me what I should do with my life.”
My key takeaway from this book came from the examples about friendship and your relationships. This book encourages you to look at whether you have balance in your relationships and (here’s the key) makes you reassess them with new eyes. For example - you may have a huge number of friends, and say you always like to go out of your way to make everyone happy. Suppose you have a friend who always cancels on you, or makes plans with you and ten other people when you’re meeting up, or forgets your birthday? Guess what, that person isn’t a friend - they’re an acquaintance. Guess who’s fault it is that you’re unhappy with the relationship? Yours. Ouch.
The key is to downgrade those people who are energy sapping, frustrating ‘friends’ and instead, identify your real ‘Troop’. Ya know, the people who are the real people you call in a crisis, like when the Gin has run out (quelle horror!) By recognising the true status of your relationships, you will be released. I promise you, it is life changing.
“Troops are not fixed. Members can move in and out without your control. Clinging on to friends who have moved out of the troop, often hurts people who do not realise this; letting go and realising who is in your troop at any given time is the key.”
The book contains case studies and practical examples alongside lots of great sketches including explaining the good old fashion Freeze, Flight or Flight concept in terms of the chimp and human brain. It is an engaging book and very readable. Now getting that chimp brain under control should be a cinch……………
“If you want a painting then search for an artist”
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