Category Archives: Confidence

Chimp Paradox Summary

Chimp Paradox

SUMMARY OF Dr Steven Peters ‘The Chimp Paradox’ To be honest this is more like a reference book as it is jam packed with great and useful content. I could have written something about every page, but to keep this summary to a reasonable length I’ll cover the main points as they spoke to me – the rest you’ll have to read yourself by getting a copy (I urge you).

Dr Steven Peters states we operate using three main aspects of our brain; the ancient chimp brain, the modern human brain and the computer brain.The Chimp utilises emotional thinking designed for survival whereas the Human utilises rational thinking designed for society and communal living.

The Computer brain is set to do automatic functions. The Chimp can be your best friend or your worst enemy – that is the Chimp Paradox. If you consider your Chimp as a child that has little staying power, easily distracted, undisciplined,disorganised, and constantly craving instant rewards, then you won’t go far wrong.

The Chimp… acts on instincts which just require the right stimulus or trigger (fight, flight or freeze), unfortunately in modern society we need more subtle and sophisticated responses. Imagine walking into a room full of strangers – which of the above responses feels most like you? The Chimp wants you to decide quickly because the ancient brain needs to evaluate if there is danger (physically or to status) and if you don’t – it releases adrenalin to force the issue. If you still don’t decide the adrenalin rush causes feelings of anxiety.

The Human… must make a decision or rationale to reassure the Chimp and calm it down. Our Chimp also has powerful natural drives and are very difficult to resist and don’t require triggers. Sex, dominance, food, security, parental, territorial and belonging are the most prevalent. Ther Human operational features include honesty, compassion, conscience, law abiding, self control, purpose and achievement etc.

Being able to manage your Chimp impulses is a determining factor in whether you will be successful. The main drive for the Human is purpose, without it we lack direction. You can understand which mode you’re in by asking: “Do I want these feelings / these thoughts?” etc. If the answer is “No” then the Chimp is hijacking you, if the answer is “Yes” you are in Human mode.

A clear sign the Chimp is in charge is if your questions start “But what if…” Unless the sentence ends with something rational so that you can make appropriate plans. Chimps operate on “How do I feel right now?” and Humans operate on “How will I feel later?”

Nurture the Chimp by meeting its needs for security, territory etc. then it will be easier to manage. To manage the Chimp effectively either exercise it, let it rant or box it by using logic and truth to reason with it, or feed it as distraction/reward. Being influenced by the Chimp is acceptable per se, but we must allow the Human to take over when appropriate. Remember the Human isn’t always right and the Chimp isn’t always wrong.

The computer aspect is where all data is stored, our perspective on the meaning of a situation depends on whether the Chimp or the Human uploaded it. This creates respective associations. We can use our values base to placate the Chimp – EG: when I crave milk chocolate I can revert to the fact that I have chosen to be vegan – I don’t eat milk, therefore eating milk chocolate would not fit with my values. We can use the Chimp’s urges to belong for example by saying: WE don’t do that – when we want to overcome a behaviour.

So how do we know who the real ‘me’ is?

One way to find out who you really are is to write a list of all the things you’d like to be, EG: calm, confident, kind, considerate etc. This list describes who you actually are. Before engaging in an important discussion ensure the four corners of communication are in place.

They are: 1. the right time, 2. right place, 3. right agenda and 4. right way – these corners are arranged around talking to the right person. Remember the very words we use can cause chemical reactions in our brains AND the brains of those that are listening. Be careful with your words. For example using the word ‘should’ can create levels of expectation which can cause anxiety in ourselves and others. Switching it to ‘could’ alters the meaning of the communication making it more like an opportunity.

Of course there are bone fide situations to use both should and could. The Human needs purpose in life so start each day by having goals – small ones to achieve by the end of the day, medium goals that are steps along the path to bigger achievements and big goals that lift you up, bring you joy and make you get out of bed each morning.

Instant Stress Strategy – You can recognise this by noticing you are having feelings you don’t like. Create autopilots that the Chimp can rely on as the Chimp will be reacting to stress first EG: use a cue word like ‘Change’ to acknowledge you are feeling stress and that you want your Human to step in – say the cue word out loud as soon as you notice you’re stressed.

Have a mental ‘pause’ button and press it to slow your thinking down so you can allow the Human brain to work. Notice that you are stressed and whether your default is Fight, Flight or Freeze – then you know how to adapt your behaviour accordingly.

There are three sources of stress: #1 You, #2 Others, #3 Circumstances – identify which is causing your present stress (it could be one or more of the above contributing), and then create strategies to deal with them.

Dreams v. Goals – A dream is something that ‘might’ happen (face the fact that it also might not). A goal is something that you can ‘make’ happen. So set goals that move you towards your dream incrementally. Divide the goals into ‘target’ goals – those which you will strive to achieve, and ‘maintenance’ goals – those which once achieved you must maintain.

A good visual metaphor is to imagine each goal is like climbing a mountain – the goal is the top. Then start by figuring out how you get to base camp. What resources, tools, help, skills etc. Then do the same for each of the major steps up the mountain until the goal is reached. Keep a visual representation of your progress to help motivate yourself and your Chimp.

Of course you first have to identify your dream first – and make it BIG.

Learning from mistakes – When reviewing a mistake the Human always starts with themselves, what did ‘I’ do wrong? What could ‘I’ do better next time? The Chimp always starts with blaming others or circumstances or both.

Confidence – The best way to be supremely confident is to base your confidence not on what you think you can achieve but rather on your ability to do your best. This way you can deal with failure and move on because you can’t do better than your best.

In a nutshell to have a successful, happy life we must learn to control the Chimp within us most of the time, allowing them to be in control only in those rare circustances where they are best suited. Our Human and our Computer must be taught to do the heavy lifting.

And remember your Chimp brings every emotion to your world, it can be your best friend and your worst enemy and that is the Chimp Paradox.

Enjoy

Stu

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Filed under Book reviews, Confidence, Goals, Self help, Self Improvement, Uncategorized

Time to update your internal Apps

Update App

Update Your Internal Apps

Hiya,

My wife was the catalyst for this psychological tactic.

She’s been a bit grumpy lately, a bit overwhelmed. When I gave her a hug she said: “I wish I could just update myself.” What a brilliant idea!

We live in a world of Apps these days – they’re everywhere and will probably outnumber websites soon. We have all seen the little red dot on our settings icon or App Store icon and we know that it could mean our software will improve as will the performance of our technology.

But what if we could borrow this idea to help ourselves on a personal level. Try it and see…

Step One – think of some personality traits you’d like to improve; confidence, gratitude, positivity for example

Step Two – look in a mirror and imagine the little red dot beside your face with the number of how many traits you’d like to update

Step Three – press the imaginary dot and imagine you see a drop down menu with those traits listed. Beside each word is a box with the word ‘Update‘ in it. Press each box one after the other and wait for a moment. While you’re waiting imagine you can see each circular progress bar turning until you see the words ‘Update Successful‘ in each.

I’d love to know how you get on with this so please come back and leave a message.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

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Life lessons from “The Inner Game of Tennis”

Timothy Gallwey

How to learn anything effectively

Hiya,

A friend recently suggested a brilliant book to me called “The Inner Game of Tennis” by W. Timothy Gallwey. Gallwey wrote the book back in the 70s as a summary of his own approach to the game of tennis as a player and as a coach. He went on to use these techniques to coach corporate executives, entrepreneurs and athletes from many different sports.

Whether you play tennis or any other sport or simply want to improve your ability in any area of your life, this book will certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with any other life enhancement book out there. Here is what I learned:

1. The ‘I’ and the ‘Myself’ are two separate parts of our mind.

When we say “I was talking to myself” we are really talking about two very different aspects of ourselves. The ‘I‘ represents the conscious self that ‘thinks‘ it’s in control, and the ‘myself‘ is the unconscious self which is actually in control. The ‘I‘ always wants to assert itself over the ‘myself‘ – that is the ego. If we allow our conscious mind to dictate to our unconscious through negative words our unconscious actually takes on the ‘role’ of being that way (bad, useless, inconsistent etc.).

2. Any event is only ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘indifferent’ depending on our perspective – and we get to choose that.

When describing our performance in any area of our life it’s helpful to use non-emotional adjectives to describe what’s happening. Avoid judgemental words like ‘bad‘. In order to allow ourselves to learn more effectively we must try to detach ourselves from the outcome, a bit like a laboratory assistant noting the results of an experiment – wishing it to be neither one way or the other. This approach helps build trust between our conscious and unconscious minds. This reduces negative associations such as “I always mess up my first serve on pressure points“. By saying it, we override our body’s ability to make the shot.

3. Trying too hard uses more muscles than required to perform in a particular way.

This trying is controlled by the conscious mind and is a signal that it doesn’t trust the unconscious to let the body perform correctly. If our body has performed well in the past it will have stored that memory and can repeat it. By trying to control it we end up using too much energy and risk becoming fatigued prematurely. Also, by trying consciously we end up using muscles that weren’t involved in the correct performance thereby not performing in the  same way as we need to.

4. To communicate effectively it’s best to use the ‘others’ primary language.

When speaking to a French person it’s best to speak in fluent French in order to be optimally understood. Likewise, when speaking to the unconscious it’s best to speak in the primary language of the unconscious which was established in infancy; sight, sound and touch (mainly). Before a child understands verbal language it learns through its senses. Therefore, in order to learn effectively first watch someone else doing the activity correctly, then visualise yourself doing it. Then apply without trying to do it perfectly. Just allow your body to perform over and over without judgement.

5. Applying positive role playing

If we give the unconscious mind positive role playing commands it will act on these and reveal suppressed or even never-before-seen qualities or abilities. EG: “When I relax and visualise I find my performance improves dramatically.

6. When coaching physical activity first give technical instruction accompanied with awareness instruction.

An athlete for instance, should be shown how to perform a move and then encouraged to feel which particular parts of their body are responsible for certain movements. Once they know the how, they can become aware of whether they are actually moving in that way. When they realise there is a fault in their movement they can notice and adjust when they visualise. If they try to adjust physically before they have performed it correctly they may end up firing the wrong muscle groups.

7. Getting out of old undesirable habits

Undesirable habits are the main cause for sub-optimal performance. Start an alternate habit and the old one will dissipate in its own time. Like a baby learning to walk after habitually crawling for months. At first walking is more difficult and clumsy than crawling, but in time, crawling becomes obsolete.

8. Extending focus

In the book, Gallwey talks about tennis players creating interludes to distract them from thinking too hard. He would get them to concentrate on the seams of the ball (so they wouldn’t think about how they are hitting it), and then the bounce and hit each time on each stroke. By putting their attention on the interlude; bounce…hit…bounce…hit, they would have to allow their body to hit the ball intuitively without thinking. This is because our conscious mind cannot hold two thoughts at the same time.

9. The true power of competing

Gallwey’s realisation that competition was a good practice in order to achieve our true potential. Without it we are only shadow boxing. The competitor in this viewpoint becomes less an advesary and more a co-creator. They offer us the challenge to be the best we can be and we offer the same to them. This perspective allows us to see our competitors not as opponents but key players in our own development.

I’m looking forward to seeing how I can apply these lessons to the physical and non-physical aspects of my life and would love to hear if you succeed in doing so too.

Strive to thrive

Stu

🙂

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Getting over self doubt

Hiya,

What little voice in your head fills you with doubt?

Once you identify it, trace back to where it originated. Was it a critical parent or teacher?

Was it the bullying voices of peers. Over protective friends or family?

Once you know the origin ask yourself if there is any evidence to prove it might be correct.

My guess is that whatever evidence there may have been in the past is not valid now. Spend some time finding evidence to the contrary. It will dilute that doubt.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

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Why failure is necessary on the road to success…

Growth mindset graph

Project mood chart

Hiya,

In Chip and Dan Heath’s brilliant book “Switch“, they talk about the necessity for businesses to adopt a growth mindset and that failure is part of that mindset.

In the business world, we implicitly reject the growth mindset. Bussiness people think in terms of two stages: You plan, and then you execute. There’s no ‘learning stage’ or ‘practice stage’ in the middle. From the business perspective, practice looks like poor execution. Results are the thing: We don’t care how ya do it, just get it done!” – They say, explaining that everything in the middle can look like a failure.

They go on to describe a ‘project mood chart‘ that plots how and why changes in emotion within a team happen at different stages in a project. Usually it starts with hope and enthusiasm, ideas are flowing freely and abundantly, but in order to integrate all of these ideas some moments of insight are required. And insight doesn’t always happen when you want it to. Depression can set in and the project starts to feel like a failure. But with persistence, improvements are made, the necessary tweaking happens and eventually the solution becomes more and more visible.

They state that by telling a team to ‘expect‘ this process it doesn’t come across as negative but rather as optimistic, as now – failure is described as just a part of the overall journey to a successful outcome.

They go on to say:

That’s the paradox of the growth mindset. Although it seems to draw our attention to failure, and in fact encourages us to seek out failure, it is unflaggingly optimistic. We will struggle, we will fail, we will be knocked down – but throughout, we’ll get better, and we’ll succeed in the end.

Falling down as you travel down the path is an opportunity to learn where the pot-holes are, they are not a signal that you are failing to walk down the path.

This doesn’t only apply to businesses, but rather to ALL aspects of life. We have to dig deep to get through the depressing down times when we’re in need of insight, but trust that if we just keep going it will reveal itself.

If you’re in business at any level read Switch asap.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

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Arianna Huffington Interview

Hiya,

If you’d rather Thrive rather than just survive watch this superb interview with Arianna Huffington.

She explains to Joe Polish the reason behind writing her 14th book ‘Thrive‘ and why there should be a third way in which we measure success. Money & power are the usual two but we often overlook the third – wellbeing.

It lasts approx. 50 minutes but it’s well worth the time watching it. Her new practices over the last few years have enabled her to live with less stress, less anxiety, more fulfillment, more happiness and contentedness.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

PS: If you enjoyed this and want to learn how you can nurture the positive mindset required to succeed in any area of your life  this might be a

good fit —-> CLICK HERE

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Do Your Possessions Give You Confidence?

A picture of a load of possessions

What do yours mean?

Hiya,

I can see that having all of my possessions around me provides proof that I’m ‘worth it’ as L’Oreal says.

I worked hard, I used my intellect and integrity to provide the funds necessary to buy these things. They validate me – I NEED THEM !

Really? Do I?  – NO.

I want to move to a bigger, nicer, house – WHY? So I can have further evidence of my worth. So I can show those that know me that I am capable, clever, hardworking and I CAN DO THIS!

I don’t need to earn a fortune, just enough to be financially FREE. Does that mean I’m not worth a fortune? Maybe, is that what I believe?

I only feel confident when I’m talking about something I know a lot about or doing something I know I can do. Is that true? Is that really true? Can I feel confident talking and doing that which I don’t fully know? Who would TRUST me?

Aha, my possessions therefore show others they can trust me. TRUST is one of my main values. It’s important for me to trust others and for them to trust me. I can create trust by showing that I have integrity and I’ll always do my best. Are my possessions a visible sign of that?

So, do I need to know EVERYTHING?

Maybe! Maybe, I can point the way, maybe the power is in the questions. Am I confident about that. YES. Do I trust the questioning process? YES. It’s the only place from where discovery is made.

Resistance to the exercises teachers give us may come from NOT wanting to discover the answers. One question to ask is why won’t you do an exercise? What might you find out that will prove to be uncomfortable?

We say we don’t have time or do we just create DISTRACTIONS? If we do, why? So that we don’t discover? Ignorance is BLISS so they say. It is, BUT ignorance keeps us in the dark.

Make TIME to discover. I like to help others discover. I like to facilitate that. By asking questions.

What questions?

Penetrating ‘why’ questions. Why, why, why? How do we know when we get to the root ‘why’? – We FEEL it.

We know already – we’re discovering it, uncovering it, revealing it, shining a light on it. We’ll know when we KNOW.

That was my own investigation into how my possessions influence my confidence – will you ask how yours influence You?

 

This post was inspired by my own lessons from one of my teachers – SoulDancer (Yes, his real name!). Thanks Soul.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

PS: If you still want to get a copy of “Do You Hate Your Job?” you can get it on Kindle for less than £2 or a pdf copy at no cost right here: FREE Copy

Change Your Mindset,

CLICK HERE

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