Lizard Brains and Monkey Minds

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Blog, Writing | 0 comments

Not to get cerebral here (well maybe for a minute), but evolutionary scientists tell us that the oldest part of the human brain – the amygdala – is a remnant from our far-distant reptilian past. In order to survive long enough to evolve into beings with thumbs and smart phones, we had to develop a very healthy fear response, so that we could run like hell when something wanted to eat us.

 

The Fear Response 

That fear response, as you probably know, is still very much with us, except these days many of the things we perceive as threatening are mostly mere imaginary monsters. The amygdala just sits up there on top of the spine telling us to freak out at a moment’s notice about any number of things that are definitely NOT life-threatening.

 

Monkey Mind

We also have to contend with what eastern religions refer to as the monkey mind. You know, that free-spirited, very noisy primate part of us that swings from branch to branch, races around the house, and jumps up and down on the furniture. When the lizard brain and the monkey mind collaborate, you’ve got a mess o’ trouble. You are visited by fears that won’t stop chattering away and that bounce off the sides of your skull like some kind of horrific ping pong ball.

 

Ask for Help

Another evolutionary development, however, is the human capacity for cooperation. One way to take on these mind hijackers is to share your fears and ask for help with dispelling them. Even though we are deep in the age of do-it-yourself everything, it is useful and helpful to know that you probably don’t have to flounder around in the dark just because you don’t know how to do what you want to do. The lizard brain and the monkey mind might be trying to take over the circus, but there are animal trainers just outside the tent.

This is part of what we do with clients. Tame the beasts. With all kinds of possibilities swirling around, how do you, for example, hone in on useful Web site design and content? If you have an idea for a book, how do you harvest those thoughts that will be useful in producing an actual coherent thing?

You ask for help. Cooperation builds relationships, businesses and civilizations. So laugh at your animal antics and then get on with it.