Have you ever found yourself in a situation whereby you were so afraid, that you wanted to, or in fact did, run away?
If so, you were guided to react in that way by a hoary, prehistoric part of your brain, crouched on top of the spine: your Lizard brain.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Dan has had his medication dosage increased again”, and as much as I would like that, the answer is no.
Located in the Medulla, which is at the base of the skull, the main function of the lizard brain is solely about survival (eat, attack, run or mate).
This Napoleonic little brain is very controlling, in that it generates some base emotions, such as fear and anger.
I can relate to a personal experience. When I was much younger, I used to climb mountains for a hobby, during my time off.
On one such weekend, I had finished climbing a rather large mountain and was in the process of making my way back to base camp, following the same path, which I had used to reach the summit.
Reaching the base, I was walking along the trail, surrounded by thick forest, when I suddenly was overcome by a strong smell of fish. This was shortly followed by loud, unsettling sounds of breaking wood (tree branches).
My Lizard brain began to kick into overdrive. I felt fear, which suddenly heightened all my other senses.
At this point, I was driven by a strong urge to quicken my pace to the top of a small hill. Upon reaching the summit, I cast a glance down and was met with the stare of a rather huge Grizzly Bear.
Realizing that I was no longer top of the food chain, my Lizard brain took one look at the mammalian teeth and fury and assumed complete control. The overriding command kicked in – to leg it as fast as I possibly could, until my heart felt like it was going to burst (I could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money). Lizard brain survival: one point. Grumpy, hairy Grizzly: zero.
Survival through generating fear, causing flight.
The Lizard brain has evolved to be quick to react. It is not known for its intellectual reasoning prowess. And this is where the problem lies…
This part of our brain operates on a barely conscious level, to the point of almost sub-conscious.
Because of this, we have to make a concerted effort to be able to control it, versus it controlling us.
But having a survival instinct, fear, etc., is good for us, I hear you say.
And yes, in some life threatening instances, you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, we also allow this part of our brain to affect our normal day-to-day decisions.
Be honest with yourself. How many times have you allowed the answer to be ‘No’, because you were not comfortable with change, or that you did not want the chance of failing, or a hundred other excuses?
Each time you made that decision, your Lizard brain led it. It’s purely survival. It is far easier to fail small, than to fail large. You are less likely to get the sack, destroy your business or life. It will always try to lead you into taking the safe route.
Now you may think this has never happened to you, but….
Have you ever been presented with an innovated idea and your first reaction is not to embrace it or even deny it, but instead to say, “Let’s have a meeting to discuss it further.”?
The meeting is not designed to get the ball rolling and deliver something brilliant, but instead it will sub-consciously be designed to find fault, make the risk seem too big and thus not allow it to change the norm.
Next time you are faced with a challenging or uncomfortable situation or decision, don’t just react. Ask yourself, why am I uncomfortable? Take time to reason, making a sound judgement call.
In order to ensure you are a huge success, you will need to take control of your Lizard brain, making sure you rule it so it does not rule you.
If you’ve never heard of Seth Godin, or read any of his books or blogs, or seen his videos, then I would highly recommend that you do. You will find a wealth of knowledge, which will improve your life and train your cerebral lizard.
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So give us a call on + 44 (0) 3332 020888, and see how you can gain, after all, you’ve nothing to lose.
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