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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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How to relieve the stress of never getting things finished…

Stuart Young, London, UK

This is December 5th of my book:  ‘How To Change Your Life One Day At ATime‘.

Take the opportunity today to connect your problems and desires.

If you’ve ever wondered how to relieve the stress of never getting things finished read on…

Often the solution to a problem can be found in the desire associated with solving it. EG: My other half Em suffers from Non-completion Syndrome, the tasks she does at work never seem to end. She knows full well that if they did they’d be followed by more things to do but that’s ok.

Imagine having a To Do list that never got ticked off. It just kept growing and growing. The tasks on it moved forwards here and there but they never finished.

A milkman for example has the same task each day. Seemingly never ending, except that each and every day he completes the task of delivering the milk. Next day he starts again, and completes it again. Tick. Done. Next.

A sense of closure, of achievement.

If you have a similar situation at work or at home or in any other area of your life where things never seem to get finished try this: simply break the task down into smaller parts. Create achievable tasks so that you can tick them off as done.

The bigger picture may continue unended but at least it’s constituent parts can, piece by piece, get finished. Make the tasks as small as you want, but separate them from the whole. This will go some way to relieving the stress believe me.

Enjoy

Stu

:)

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PS: SUPER SPECIAL CHRISTMAS OFFER…BUY yourself OR someone else  a copy of my book (for Christmas), direct from me personally (signed and personalised if you wish) – for just £6 inc P&P anywhere in the world! Just email me at stuart.young40@googlemail.com and send  a PayPal payment there too!

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Do You Even Know What’s Holding You Back?

Hiya,

Today I wanted to ask if you ever get the feeling that you could achieve more if you just knew HOW.

Do you have a default emotion when you are feeling stressed or depressed or demotivated?

Do you feel Angry? Sad? Hopeless? Resentful?

All of these emotions can be valid in certain circumstances but they are unhealthy if felt regularly and as a default.

Do you understand WHY you feel these emotions at the times you do? And I don’t mean someone let you down and now you’re angry with them, I mean WHY are you angry?

If you want to delve into those questions a bit deeper I’ve created some online video training to celebrate the launch of my book:

“How To Change Your Life One Day At A Time”

and it’s absolutely Free!

Just go here:  http://www.howtochangeyourlifeonedayatatime.com/

Watch the intro video and if you want to go through the training simply insert your name and email and they’ll be delivered direct to your inbox.

FREE Video Training Series: Click or copy link above.

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Filed under Goals, Life changing, Relationships, Self help, Success

Take the opportunity today to STOP moaning!

Hiya,

OK – moaning can be therapeutic. Getting something off your chest can
relieve the pressure and stress of a situation. We all have bad days
at work. We all have encounters with rude or obnoxious people from
time to time – so go ahead and moan about it. But not ALL the time.
Not only are you going to relive those scenarios over and over, you’re
going to relive those ‘feelings’ over and over. And guess what, you
didn’t like those feelings the first time around so why do you want to
experience them again and again? Moan once if you really need to then
stop.

You’ll end up wearing your friends or partners out if you become an
habitual moaner so why not give them permission to stop you. Make some
rules maybe – like if they’ve heard that story before you can’t tell
them again, or if it’s about the same person, they can ask you to
stop. You get the idea. Be aware though that if they follow through
and ask you to stop – you can’t then moan at, or about them, for doing
it.

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

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