Instinct versus Chimp Brain - Whose voice is it anyway?



Have you ever felt like you're being pulled in different directions?


Have you found yourself overwhelmed by the decisions you need to make so you end up not making any at all?


And it wasn’t even other people doing this to you. It was you, arguing with yourself whether you should or shouldn’t do something.

You see something, hear something, and you’re immediately attracted to it - and then that little voice butts in: that’s not for us, we’re not doing that, we can’t do that. Not really.


And yet your initial response was ‘oh yes please!’


That immediate response is the real you. That’s you responding naturally, authentically, to what you truly want.

Then up pops that little voice - 'No! Don’t do it! Stay safe. Don’t let anyone see that part of you. People will laugh. They won’t understand.'


That’s your chimp brain talking. That’s the part of your brain that sprang into action thousands of years ago to keep you safe from tigers and wolves. Nowadays, it shouts at you to look up from your phone when you’re about to walk into oncoming traffic.

And because of the age we live in, it also tells us to not post that, don’t look like that, don’t be yourself. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb and everyone will see.


Who’s right? Your instincts or your chimp brain?

Both. Neither.


So your rational self needs to step in.


Okay Instinct, that is me. I do like that. I want to be a part of that.


Okay Chimp Brain, I hear you. There are risks attached.


I acknowledge the risks - and I won’t let irrational fears stop me.


I’ll measure rational concerns against likely gains.


In the absence of actually knowing the future which no one can do, I’ll assume the best. If the worst happens, I can deal with it. I may well freak out, and then my rational self will address the situation.


And if the best happens, which is just as likely, I'll celebrate.


I can listen to what all of me thinks, and then make my decision.



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