I have always loved chimps and when I was university had loads of pictures, posters, etc., dotted around my room, alongside the cuddly chimps that sat on my bed. But I digress.
I am reading an amazing book at the moment called “The Chimp Paradox” by Dr Steve Peters.
The book is all about mind management and learning to do the things that the little voices in your head tell you that you can’t do.
And it would appear that the main culprit behind all the little voices is the chimp in your brain 😉
Dr Peters puts it simply that there are 3 areas in your brain:
- You – the human – who uses logic and fact to function
- Chimp – who is 5x stronger than you and functions with its emotions
- Computer – who is 20x faster than you, and is the storage bed for all experiences past, both good and bad which have been put their by both human and chimp
My chimp is called Charlie 😉
And, boy has Charlie got me into trouble over the years, and from what I have read so far in the book it would appear Charlie has been running the show for far too long!
I have been living via my emotions and most of the time letting them get the better of me, instead of letting the human take control and logically assess the situation.
Not that I can throw all responsibility of this on to Charlie. Far from it. The book explains that the chimp in our brain is no different to owning a pet. If it gets out of control, ultimately, at the end of the day we are responsible for both it and its actions, and therefore must shoulder that responsibility.
So I am in the process of learning how to control and manage my chimp.
It’s quite a challenge I can tell you!
Reflecting on past experiences I can now see that I have let Charlie take over in pretty much every aspect of my life.
By living through my emotions I have succumbed to the little voices in my head telling me that I am no good, I am worthless and useless, I am stupid, everything is always my fault, etc., and ended up believing them, so that every time I try something new, because I have let the chimp rule, the computer has pulled out chimp reactions to similar situations and therefore the whole cycle starts again, so every time I end up beating myself up again and again and again.
The tough challenge for me that lies ahead is to rip out all the chimp information from the hard drive on the computer in my brain and re-wire it (oh gosh! Don’t I sound all techie 😉 ) to function on a more human level, i.e., more logic and fact.
And that’s just for starters.
Once the information has been identified and sent to the recycle bin for permanent deletion I have to import new instructions based on logic and human reactions, so they can then be downloaded when I come across different situations in life.
I’ve a feeling it could take a while – after all Charlie has been in charge for far too long and there may be a power struggle to regain human control!
But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and now that I understand why it appears that the same things keep on happening, I now have a chance to break the cycle and begin again, which is a good thing. Isn’t it?