Feeling like a Chump? Letting your inner chimp get the better of you?
Well here’s how not to go so nuts among all that motion and commotion in today’s world of Great Acceleration and improve your resilience, mental toughness and all-round positivity to boot!
All 3 of the above traits when worked on and honed can markedly impact and contribute to enhancing performance and increasing productivity in the workplace, as well as enabling you to have a richer and more fulfilled life outside of work.
So, what is this Inner Chimp and what can you do about it?
In his book from a wee while ago entitled ‘The Chimp Paradox’, Steve Peters described & gave form to the concept of the Inner Chimp as a seemingly irrational and impulsive being that inhabits our minds and is responsible for nagging self-doubt & the fear or trepidation that we can all feel at certain times and taken together can have a negative impact on all areas of our lives.
Dr Peters argued that there were 3 elements to the psychological mind and he called these the Chimp, the Human & the Computer.
This may well remind you of Sigmund Freud’s 3 states of Id, Ego & Super Ego and you wouldn’t be far wrong in thinking that!
The Chimp (or Limbic Brain) is that area of the mind which goes back to a very primitive and essential part of human development.
Its primary motivation is survival and feelings, impressions, emotional thinking and gut instincts drive it.
The Chimp in us will quickly jump to an opinion and thinks quite literally in pure black and white terms. No questions asked!
Dr Peters suggested in his book that it can easily become paranoid and if unchecked its behaviour is quite irrational, emotive and ultimately can lead to catastrophic consequences.
On the other hand
The Human (or Front Brain) is the rational, analytical, evidence-based third.
It thinks in shades of grey (probably, but not exclusively ‘50’) & operates in a state of balance, weighing its judgments.
It is driven by self-fulfillment and longer-term purpose.
The Computer (or Parietal Brain) runs alongside the Chimp & the Human parts and Peters likened that to a ‘Hard Drive’ that is empty at birth, but through lived experience becomes a repository of all that we’ve known or done and both the Chimp and the Human parts of the Brain look to it for guidance and a steer when reacting to stuff.
Garbage In Garbage Out
Of course like a real computer you can get GI/GO — Garbage In/Garbage Out — as the Computer will only be as good as the information it has been programmed with.
Whilst the Paradox part comes from a kind of ‘Dualism’ which Plato wrote about 2000 years ago in ‘The Symposium’ & the inherent tension in all of this is that as well as being at times your worst enemy, the Chimp can also be your very best friend — But, as the song goes, “With friends like these who needs enemies!”
Dr Peters stressed however that you cannot bypass the Chimp or control it with willpower and suggested instead that you should acknowledge it and have a ‘Management Plan’ to, ‘Box the Chimp’!
Freud Versus Peters?
And as to any similarities with Freud’s 3 states, both Peters & Freud are essentially describing Systems rather than parts of the Brain, &, neither system is in any way physical.
The Id though is rather like the Chimp: The Ego is the modified and reasoning Human: And the Super Ego is your (Super) Computer incorporating the values, morals and behaviours that are learnt from one’s upbringing and all your lived experiences.
A Management Plan
So, what can you do about it and what might a ‘Management Plan’ look like that helps you to effectively ‘Box the Chimp’ and enhance & augment your Resilience, Mental Toughness & Positivity?
Well I would suggest that you might wish to consider the following:
Apart from being on a mission to spread the #mindfulbutter around the world, I am all about making the complex less complex, the tough stuff not so tough and putting the unreachable within reach of everyone. I am author of ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’available on Amazon and www.bookboon.com; the ‘Coffee & A Cup of Mindfulness’ and the ‘Mindful Hacks For Mindful Living & Mindful Working’ series. I am also a Contributing Author to The Huffington Post and a Contributing Writer to Thrive Global. I can be contacted at [email protected] and you can follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and at @Paul_Mudd
Originally published at medium.com