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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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Take the opportunity today to thank everybody from your past because of where you are today and where you will be tomorrow.

Photo of blossom on a tree

Every season has it’s time

Hiya,

You do realise that everything that has ever happened to you, good or bad, has brought you to where you are today.

You may be in a great place right now, so think if any tiny little thing in your past were different it would have changed your trajectory and you may well be in a very different place right now rather than where you are.

All those not so good places were necessary in order for you to be here.

If you’re not in such a great place just realise that you are in one of those not so good places that will lead you to the great place later. So appreciate it for what it is.

Why only appreciate it later? Thank everything and everybody from your past for helping to get you here. Thank ‘here’ for being part of the journey that’s going to get you ‘there’ in the future.

And always remember… in the depths of winter the blossom is waiting to bloom.

Who will you thank, and for what?

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

PS: This is p.358 of my book ‘How To Change Your Life One Day At A Time‘.

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Can you see things for what they really are?

Hiya,

You know what I mean right? Sure you do. I could sit here and write a page of words that show you what they might be but I’d only be scratching the surface wouldn’t I?

We’ve all got stuff going on that we say is this or that. But we know it’s not. I mean it could look that way to the untrained eye, to the casual observer, but we know it’s just a façade for what’s really going on.

Take a good look at it today, be as honest with yourself as you can. Allow the discomfort or maybe even pain of looking at it to come through. Welcome it. Once we open the cupboard door and shine a light in there we can see there was nothing to be afraid of.

I know this’ll be hard for a lot of people – me included, so lets all dig deep and give it a try.

What will you take a look at today?

Enjoy (if you can)

Stu

🙂

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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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Do You Know The 4 Most Important Questions To Changing?

Photo of stepping stones across a river

Crossing the River

Hiya,

A while back when I was getting ready to launch my book ‘How To Change Your Life One Day At A Time‘ I decided to create a street video to help promote it.

I had only one question that I wanted to ask of many complete strangers: WHAT ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF?

I wanted to document how different people would answer the same question, based on their own lives and circumstances. What I found was in many, many cases their answer led me to ask another question, then another, then a final question. (A process I now call ‘Crossing The River‘).

It was in these instances that those asked gave the most considered responses, delving deeper and deeper into the issue. In many cases they actually answered the most penetrating question they had probably been asked in years, if not decades.

They were as surprised by their answers as I was.

Remarkable considering that not one interview took more than two minutes to complete, AND they were complete strangers to me!

Many wanted to change things about their appearance, some about bad habits they had and some about the way they thought about themselves or others. I was moved and surprised at just how candid these people were, how open. I sincerely hope that some of them went home that day and actually made the change they said they wanted.

So what are the four questions you MUST ask yourself if you want to make any change in your life, whether it’s to do with your relationships, your achievements, your lifestyle, your health, wealth and happiness or your career?

Bare in mind the change MUST be about YOU – not your boss, or your neighbour, or the economy or anything else that you cannot influence.

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Let me suggest that you get someone else to ask you these questions – a close friend or family member or even a colleague. Answer the first one before getting them to ask the second. Then answer that before they ask you the third, and so on.

Answer as quickly as possible too as this is where the revelation is, when your mind doesn’t have time to dwell on and possibly filter the answer. It doesn’t take long – as I said, of the 30 or so interviews I did on that cold day in February, not one took longer than two minutes!

Crossing The River

Here are the 4 questions:

1. What is the ONE thing you’d like to change about YOURSELF today? (This is not about your circumstances, this is about YOU.)

2. Why do you want to make that change?

3. How will you make that change?

4. What’s stopping you?

Make a note of them, then forget about them until you have chosen someone to help you with this insightful exercise. If you decide you want to do them on your own then answer the first question NOW. Quick – answer!

To see the video CLICK HERE – it’s 9 min 41 long, I hope you enjoy.

Take care

Stu

Change Your Mindset,                        CLICK HERE

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Overcoming Life’s Battles

James Arthur Ray blog discussion

My comment, his reply

Stuart Young, London, UK

Hiya,

I was chatting with James Arthur Ray, of hit movie ‘The Secret‘ fame the other day. When I say chatting – I mean I commented on his blog post and he replied. 🙂

I’ve been reading his latest ‘Do You Love Life or Fantasy‘ series and I recommend you take a look CLICK HERE

If you’re not familiar with James then Google him, but believe me when I say he’s been through the biggest battle of his life recently.

How we ‘think‘ at difficult times is THE KEY to moving through the experience, and coming out the other side more swiftly and with hope for a brighter future.

His posts led me to formulate a process called The 3 ‘A’s:-

  1. Accept – What is, not more or less, just What IS. How we’re feeling is valid. Accept that.
  2. Acknowledge – How it got that way – honestly. IE: Take responsibility for whatever part you may have played, and you almost invariably have.
  3. Ask – Question what all of that means, and ask how you move forwards.

James has his own variation where he adds another two ‘A’s – Act and Adjust.

If you’ve been through a battle recently, or are in the midst of one now – consider these today. And please take a look at James’ blog posts, they’re insightful.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

Change Your Mindset,                        CLICK HERE

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What If You Could?

Man leaping with joy

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Stuart Young, London, UK

Hiya,

What if you could … what?

What if you could meet the partner of your dreams? What if you could be as fit as a top athlete? What if you could achieve all of your goals systematically. What if you could have the job you love doing?

We spend so much of our time thinking that we can’t, we forget to consider if we could.

What’s the point you might be asking.

Apart from the fact that thinking about achieving something that would make us feel great actually starts to make us feel great – the very act of thinking in that way actually makes us consider opportunities and options that we are blind to when we’re busy thinking we can’t.

Think about it – if I ask you to think of three reasons why you’ll never win the lottery, it’s impossible for you to come up with ways that you could win.

If I said look around where you are right now and find ALL the red things, you wouldn’t notice all the blue things because that’s not where you are putting your focus. You’d miss all the blue things.

Likewise with continually thinking you can’t – you miss those opportunities in front of you that may just prove that you can.

Try that today – just allow yourself to daydream about all the things you’d like in your life and, just for the purposes of dreaming, imagine that you can have those things. Ask yourself: What if I could…?

See what happens.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

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