Review : The Chimp Paradox

The Chimp Paradox : The Mind Management program for Confidence, Success and Happiness by Steve Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book looks inside our brains and answers a lot of the questions when you wonder why I feel stressed or why I did not say what I want to by splitting our brain into three parts, a Human part, Chimp part and a Computer one. He then explains how these don’t always work harmoniously together and what we can do to improve things.

The Psychological Mind

  • The Psychological Mind is made up of three separate brains: Human, Chimp and Computer
  • You are the human
  • Your chimp is an emotional thinking machine
  • Your computer is a storage area and automatic functioning machine.
  • Any one of these can take complete control but they usually work together

Understanding yourself and your chimp

  • You, the Human, have a personality, agenda and Humanity Centre. You think logically and work with facts and truths.
  • Your Chimp has a personality, agenda and Jungle Centre. It thinks emotionally and uses impressions and feelings.
  • The Chimp is an emotional machine that will hijack you, if you allow it to. It is not good or bad: it is a chimp. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. This is The Chimp Paradox.

Managing your chimp

  • “Do I want…?” is the question to ask in order to recognise if your Chimp is hijacking you. If the answer is “no” then you are being hijacked.
  • You are always responsible for your Chimp.
  • The Chimp is five times stronger than you are.
  • Nurture your Chimp before you try to manage it.
  • Manage your Chimp, don’t try to control it.
  • There are three common ways to manage your Chimp:
    • Exercise – to let it out and say what it wants in a safe space
    • Boxing the Chimp – using facts, truths and logic to explain to the Chimp why it is wrong
    • Bananas – to distract the Chimp from the problem or reward the Chimp for acting appropriately

How to understand the Computer in your mind

  • The Computer has two principal functions:  running automatic programs and acting as a reference source for the Human and Chimp
  • The Computer can be thought of as being 20 times faster to act than the Human and 4 times faster than the Chimp.
  • Autopilots are constructive and helpful automatic behaviors and beliefs.
  • Gremlins are destructive and unhelpful automatic behaviors and beliefs that are removable
  • Goblins are destructive and unhelpful automatic behaviors and beliefs that are firmly stuck
  • The Stone of Life contains your Truths of Life, Values and Life Force.
  • The Mindset you hold is based on your perception of how things are and therefore influence your approach to life.

How to manage your Computer

  • It is vital to get the Computer into correct working order.
  • You can search out and replace Gremlins with Autopilots.
  • The Stone of Life is the most powerful part of your Mind.
  • The Stone of Life is something that you can work on.
  • Reinforcing the Stone of Life by making it visible every day is a major settling influence on you.
  • You can choose the right Mindset to approach life.

How your mind works and influences your personality

  • The Chimp always interprets first before the Human.
  • The Chimp only hands over to the Human if there is no danger or perceived threat.
  • The Human can intervene to stop the Chimp reacting by using facts and truths.
  • The Computer can be programmed to settle the Chimp down before it acts.
  • Personality is a mixture of Human, Chimp and Computer
  • Nature and nurture both influence your personality.
  • Your Mindset affects the way that you come across.
  • You can work on the Human, Chimp and Computer to adjust your personality.
  • You are the person that you want to be but you are being hijacked by your Chimp into being someone else.

How to understand and relate to other people

  • Getting the best out of people depends on how you approach them and what you understand of them.
  • Having preconceived ideas about people or expectations of them may prejudice how you relate to them.
  • The best relationships are the ones where you accept the person as they are and work with this.
  • Walk away from people whose behaviors or beliefs you can not accept.
  • Invest a lot in those whom you care about.
  • The one in five rule means that you need to accept that some people you will never please and they will never like you and it may have nothing to do with you.

How to choose the right support network

  • Establishing your troop is critical to reassure your Chimp.
  • Recognising the different ways that the Human and Chimp choose the troop.
    • Chimp – looking for safety so want to be with a strong leader with influence, wealth, similarity (e.g. where they were raised) – shared experiences or background.  These are based on feelings and can result in us excluding useful people or including destructive people.
    • Human – looking for like minded, friendship, companionship, values, reliability and predictability people.
  • Opinions from outside your troop are not important.
  • Clarifying the roles of those in your troop helps it to function well.
  • The troop needs time spent on it to make it function.

How to communicate effectively

  • Effective communication is critical to effective functioning
  • There are techniques that you can develop to improve your communication but it is a skill to use them.
  • The skill of communication is no different to any other skill and takes time and effort to develop and maintain.
  • The Square of Communication has the right person in the middle with the four corners being the right time, place, agenda and way.
  • The way in which you package a message is critical to its success in being received.

How to establish the right environment

  • The Chimp lives in a jungle and needs looking after.
  • The Human lives in a society and needs looking after.
  • The Computer makes sense of those two worlds and comes up with the real world.
  • The real world is a fluctuating existence between two parallel worlds that change frequently.
  • Living in the real world is learning how to survive and be happy.

How to deal with immediate stress

  • Have realistic expectations and remind yourself of the obvious: life is not fair; stress will happen; things will go wrong.
  • “Change” represents a behavior change and means that you will change your automatic response to stress from Chimp and Gremlins to Human and Autopilots.
  • Being proactive means looking ahead and avoiding obvious stress when you can.
  • “AMP” represents Accept and Move on with a Plan and helps you to get over stressful situations.
  • When stress appears, actively look for solutions to remove it.
  • Nearly all situations are only emotionally stressful if you allow them to be.

How to deal with long-standing stress

  • Check regularly for signs of chronic stress.
  • Deal with chronic stress and do not allow yourself to accept it as normal.
  • Recognise your emotional limit for dealing with things and don’t exceed it.
  • Develop ways of dealing with stress.
  • Don’t be caught in life by holding onto a worthless stone.

How to look after your health

  • The simple message is to look after your body and mind in a serious way if you want to get the best out of yourself.
  • Work on maintaining your physical and mental health.
  • Make sure that you have enough recuperation: relaxing, resting and sleeping.
  • If you are ill, take responsibility to seek out help to get yourself better.

The foundations of success

  • Define what you mean by success and stick to it.
  • Wear the crown when it is appropriate.
  • Respect the crown when it is on somebody else’s head.
  • Commitment is the biggest part of the CORE principle.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for your life.
  • Aim for personal excellence.
  • Grow lots of carrots and get rid of the sticks.

How to plan for success

  • There is a difference between a dream and a goal.
  • To be successful you will need planning and structure.
  • Oiling the wheels will greatly improve the chances of success.
  • Regular audits will keep you on track.
  • Dealing with outcomes is part of the blueprint.

How to be happy

  • Happiness is a choice.
  • To increase your chances of happiness you need to have a plan and implement it.
  • Define what makes you and your Chimp happy.
  • Adding extras will lift you into happiness.
  • Develop your “having” ( achievements, possessions, emotional, physical, intellectual) and “being” (self- image, self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence).
  • Establish a “happiness approach”
    • look for solutions, don’t dwell on problems
    • choose how much a situation bothers you
    • choose how long you want to stay in this frame of mind
    • learn to laugh at yourself and have a sense of humor
    • be proactive
    • deal with the cause not the symptoms
  • Establish a “happiness list”
    • make a list of what makes you happy or unhappy so you can focus on the things which make you happy and not on the things which make you unhappy
  • Put in place “happiness promoters”.  Replace the unhappy gremlins with happy autopilots.

How to be confident

  • Confidence is based on one or two ways of thinking: the Human or the Chimp
  • You have a choice to base your confidence on “doing your best”.
  • “Doing your best” as a basis gives 100% confidence.
  • Self-confidence is enhanced when you have a realistic expectation of yourself.

How to develop security

  • Security is one of the major stabilisers for happiness.
  • The Chimp frequently seeks out security unrealistically.
  • Healthy normal Chimps have fears and concerns over security and vulnerability.
  • The Human needs to place an Autopilot into the Computer to steady the Chimp.

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