It’s 3am and I can’t sleep so I may as well share some thoughts on a book I finished reading earlier this evening. The Chimp Paradox – by Dr Steve Peters.
I really enjoyed this book, it is easy to read and Dr Peters does a wonderful job in helping us to better understand ourselves. ‘The Chimp Paradox’ itself is a theory that suggests in each of us their is the human – which is who you really are (kind, generous, understanding, lives by society norms ect) and the chimp (who is impulsive, becomes aggressive when threatened, lives by rules of the ‘jungle’ ect). The book provides an insight on how the human and the chimp inside of us think and gives techniques on how we can manage the chimp in us so we can become better communicators with one another, more productive, happier, manage stress better and become more confident.
Dr Peters uses an all too common example to illustrate how the chimp can sometimes ‘hijack’ us without us even knowing! Road rage – a phenomena I’m sure you and I can both agree can bring out the worst in us at times. Let’s say a car cuts across into your lane without indicating – some of you may see this as no big deal, however some of you may become irritated and start thinking things like ‘what an idiot’ ‘who does he think he is’ ect. These initial reactions to the situation come from the ‘chimp’ in us (the chimp acts primarily on feelings). After we have calmed down and take the time to process what happened thoughts on the situation may include ‘it’s not that big of a deal’ ‘maybe he didn’t intend to cut in front of me’ This type of thought processing is the human in us which uses logic, reasoning and seeks to understand those around us. As we go throughout the day we experience different stimulus which evoke either the chimp or human in us. In terms of becoming better communicators, Dr Peters provides techniques into ways we can handle our chimp to avoid confrontations getting out of hand and how to deal with people we do not necessarily like.
One thing which really stood out for me was the section on productivity. If you’re like me and tend to have too many things to do in one day and not enough time here’s a little trick from the book which may increase your productivity.
Ask yourself the million-dollar question : If I was given a million dollars to complete (enter task/s here) today, could I do it? If the answer is yes then it’s discipline you need to work on not time management! Acknowledging this I found for me lead to greater levels of productivity.
One final note – if you ever feel stressed, annoyed, hurt ect. Ask yourself this: will this situation matter in 10 years time? If the answer is no – forget about it and move on. I’ve found this technique really useful in dealing with stressful situations or minor annoyances. I hope you do too.
I highly recommend this book for those of you who wish to understand yourselves better and are interested in personal growth.