Have you ever heard the voices in your head as you reach for the doughnut. One is clearly saying go for it, you deserve it, the other is saying do not eat it.
Dr Steve Peters the author of the Chimp Paradox explains who the voices are and how to keep on top of them. We have the Chimp speaking from our limbic brain, with its basic reactive response and its short term view. The other voice is our Human mind is the prefrontal area which is thinking of consequences and evidence and taking a long term view. The other area of the mind which will guide both of them is the computer, where memories are stored. This will let you know how good the doughnut tasted last time, and equally how guilty you felt afterwards.
The Chimp only provides suggestions and we must remember these are not actions to follow. The key is to always manage the Chimp.
The book provides 4 strategies for doing so:-
- Exercise it – let your emotions out with someone you trust
- Reward it – give your Chimp a banana, if I get this done we will do this (eg. eat the doughnut)
- Box it – use your Human brain to work with the Chimp, evaluate suggestions
- Distracting it – count to 10 backwards, this prevents the Chimp being reactive it pauses it
There are many mind management systems out there to manage your emotions however not many have such successes attributed to them. Dr Steve Peters worked with the British cyclists Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton.
For more help on working out your responses please do work with nuggets as a personal coach or delivering a 90 minute course to your team.