Category Archives: Goals
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.
To celebrate passing my 50,000th view today for this blog here is an inspirational and thought provoking TED Talk by Priya Parker – 19 mins long but worth it:
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.
So another year begins. Will it be your year? Do you still believe you can achieve your goals?
Like everyone else I sometimes doubt whether I can achieve my goals. So this New Year I am going to make the word ‘possible‘ my default word. Whenever I doubt myself I will remind myself that I decide what’s possible in my life.
I set myself a 5 year plan half way through 2015, which gives me 4.5 years to achieve it.
How am I doing so far? Well, I’ve been sharpening my saw and now it’s time to start cutting the tree.
I am determined, and I am resourceful, so I believe I can make it possible.
What about you?
Today I sent out the first of my new Ponders to my Ponders Group and asked them what their own default word will be this year. If you want to share – tell me your default word in the comments below.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
Have I loved enough?
Did I tell those that I love that I love them?
Have I achieved what I wanted?
Did I discover and work on my purpose in life?
Have I been to the places I wanted to see?
Did I have as much fun as I could have?
Have I seen the people I love most as much as I could have?
Did I do things that mattered?
Have I done what I wanted enough?
Did I laugh as much as I could have?
Have I enjoyed my work?
Did I forgive those that wronged me?
Have I apologised to those I wronged?
Consider what you might ask yourself and add them in the comments. Then ask yourself this: If this isn’t my last day, what shall I do with it?
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mark Homer, he is a very successful property investor based in the UK. Over the past decade or so him and his partner, Rob Moore, have made their fortune buying, selling, refurbishing and renting property of all kinds.
Mark’s book “Low Cost High Life” details his childhood experiences that gave him the mindset for success, the lessons learned along the way and the advice for anyone else to replicate.
These are the lessons I gleaned from it, some I already learned from other authors but they bare repeating as that is how we learn best – repetition.
1. Always make sure you get more value than you pay for. IE: Don’t pay market price for investments if possible – reduce the risk
2. Learn to balance creating money and time equally in order to enjoy the independence true wealth brings.
3. Do not spend earned income on luxuries – it should only go in to either; living, saving or investing. Buy luxuries from passive income.
4. Understand the business you’re in as much as possible, it helps you remain passionate and spot opportunities. Temper your emotional urges with this knowledge to make rational decisions.
5. Get good at local property before considering overseas property. The laws and best practice may well be very different.
6. Networking events grow your network and that can be your best route to JVs, finance, expertise and latest investor trends.
7. Model those you admire that have been successful and made the mistakes. When walking through a mine field it’s best to follow someone else’s footsteps.
8. For maximum productivity stay fit and healthy. This will provide the energy and clarity of thought you need to focus and work effectively.
9. Put systems in place for everything, then manage the systems.
10. Keep 6-12 months operating cash at hand – ALL the time!
11. Invest for cashflow FIRST, and capital growth second.
12. Tap into the market’s perception of value in order to increase your price.
13. Get a PA asap.
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
My wife pointed me to this excellent article on becoming a freelance journalist by George Monbiot. The clue is in the word ‘free‘. But even if you’re not trying to be a writer the words here will inspire and provoke thought with regards to your own hopes and dreams.
If you’re still under 30 you may still have hopes and dreams, if you’re over 40 you may be wondering where they went. Read the article and it might just remind you…
Read the article by CLICKING HERE
Do you ever wonder why you just can’t get certain things done in your life. You know you want to but for some reason you always find something else to do instead.
Watch this short TED Talk – it may just throw some light on Why.