The Chimp Paradox; The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness By Prof Steve Peters, Review.
By WILLIAM SHORTALL
This is a top selling Amazon book here in the UK. This book is by Prof Steve Peters could be summed up in a nutshell is; its the battle of your primeval emotions, which Prof Peters call’s the Chimp (part of the Limbic area of brain) and you the human. (the Frontal lobe part of the brain) with the computer (another part of your brain which has life experiences) are all living in your brain and this book is about their control over you and how this relates to you in your life.
The explanations and diagrams are kept simple and easy to view and comprehend. The battle between the Chimp and the human is infinite and this book gives the knowledge needed and the actions required to cope, negotiate and tame, putting that chimp back in its box, till next time, that is.
Here is the Chimp review of the book; this book is fab, just buy it. The End.
If you are human carry on reading as there is a bit more to the book than just that.
Professor (a Consultant Psychiatrist) Peters has turned this concept into to a company (see the links at the end) and has a YouTube channel and TEDx Talk on the subject. Dealing with British athletes and sports clubs and their stars and this Chimp model has helped people in different disciplines; cyclists, snooker players and football or soccer stars such as Steven Gerrard and their Teams as with Liverpool Football Club and now a wide variety of people in business from CEO’s to employees and Students of all ages too.
The key take away here, is an important fundamental question; do you want to change? Its your choice and this book will give you the skills to implement that choice.
Part one Your Inner Mind Explored
The book is split into three parts 1: Your Inner Mind Explored, 2: Day to Day Functioning and 3: Your health, Success and Happiness. The book begins with an introduction “choosing your Sun” with a mind map of the seven major areas of your psyche, the journey of self discovery and development and ends with looking forward.
The book is written to be easily read and understood, it’s not paper forwarded to be peer reviewed in a specialist journal.
The book is also about learning to know the difference between possible and impossible, of your dreams, expectations and developing the skill of managing your thoughts and emotions and that YOU have a choice in life.
Part one deals with understanding that there are always two different ways of thinking going on in your brain simultaneously. The Chimp with basic feelings and jumping to basic conclusions ( you are not in control of its feelings). The human (you) looking for facts, using logic to find the truth and make a judgment. The computer part of your brain, (your understanding of how the world works, facts, figures, your values and up-bringing and the rules of the society you live in) this helps you control your Chimp. The human and chimp have different agendas and you need to understand and control them.
Key takeaway you are not in control of your chimp however you can learn to control it.
Chapter two talks about the Human, the Chimp and the Computer parts of our brain and their value systems.
Chapter three talks about how to manage and nurture you inner Chimp:
Chimps like to…
The chapters show you and help you understand how and why, we all feel Chimp like and more importantly how we can develop the skill to control, cope, nurture and manage thus put the Chimp back in its box.
Just reading the book in is not enough, it can take several repeated episodes of dealing with your Chimp, on just on one problem, before you be successful, so you have to understand what’s happening and learn the skill of dealing with your inner Chimp. Letting it out, venting its anger, boxing it in (using the computer to show that how this happens to everyone not just you) and nurturing it with rewards.
Prof Peters gives a suggested exercise of, NEAT an acronym of (Normal, Expected, Accepted, Taken care of) to understand when the Chimp is getting the upper hand and how to deal with it. The book goes in to deal on this.
Chapter four: talks about How the Human and the Chimp are always interpreting and analyzing situations, while the computer part of our brains collating what we learn of the world. Then about our memory banks, the gremlins (negative thoughts) within our minds, our bias distortion, values and systems we live by, anchors in peoples lives, our beliefs, brains on auto pilot, how a person is a mixture of all theses things and the Chimp, the Human and the Computer combined and theses are presented to the world as our personality.
Chapter Five : How we manage the computer parts of our brain and how we can replace the gremlins and replace they with positive thoughts and introducing the stone of life.
The stone of life that holds the key to stabilising your entire universe
The stone of life; this is the ultimate reference point and consist of the truth of life, your values and your life force, and are inscribed in your mind on that stone tablet and Prof Peters says; the first three for the truth of life are:
1: Life is Not Fair
2: The goal Posts Move
3:There are No Guarantees in Life.
He also suggest in the book some (common good human) values; though yours could be different and his definition of what he calls the life force; what you believe life is all about and how it should be lived.
Prof Peters also says humans don’t always get it right and Chimps don’t always get it wrong.
Who Are You?
Prof Peters says you can find this out fast write down a list of all the the things you would like to be and if you are not the somewhere you divesting from that by being hijacked by your inner Chimp.
Part two is Day to Day Functioning
Words of wisdom from Prof Peters is; try not to make assumptions of others nor preconceived expectations of them and beware of your own bias.
The golden rule for understanding people; is to always establish the facts before make an assessment of the situation.
Understand that there is a difference between how both YOUR Chimp,and YOUR human use this evidence, to make a judgment!
Successful people don’t make demands of others…
You must have realistic expectations of people, getting the best from people depends on how you approach them and your understanding of them.
The use of the one in five rule: you will not please, all the people, all the time and some of these people will not like you and there is nothing you can do about it, but you can walk away, and use that energy developing relations with other people who do.
There is a difference between assertiveness and aggression in how you approach people and the Prof gives tips on how to best to commute with people and how to do it in the right way.
The need to understand the difference to your Chimp the words “Should and “Could” are explained and that preparing yourself for significant conversations is a prerequisite to effective dialogue between people and Prof Peters goes through an fourteen step check list to explain this with a great key point added on at the end, making it fifteen which is:
The fifteenth step is to smile and thank the person.
In the planet on which we live your inner Chimp lives on the jungle, your human lives in a society and your inner computer (tries to make sense of these two worlds) and comes up with the real world view which both the Chimp and the human can access any time for advice and knowledge of values it has experienced.
In the everyday world we live in, people are affected by stress, you should check for this and Prof Peters lists some of the contributing factors, and warns; you must deal with this stress and not let it become the norm. Recognize your limits and do not exceed them, learn to deal with it.
Prof Peters states; don’t be caught in life, holding on to a worthless stone.
Chapters eleven: Stress in your life — recognizing it and dealing with it.
Chapters twelve: How the Human and the chimp deal with stress.
Chapters thirteen: Looks at your physical and mental health and what you can do about it.
Chapters fourteen and fifteen: How to apply your mind in the world of success and what is success to you? How you the Human and your Chimp can work together to achieve your goals.
Chapters sixteen, seventeen and eighteen: How to apply this model to achieve Health, success and happiness, guidelines on what successful and happy people do, selecting what you need to do , to get a better life.
Part Three Health, Success and Happiness
As you would expect with a sports orientated psychiatrist, it’s important to be fit in body and in mind. there is a difference between malfunction (you are ill) and dysfunction (you are fine but the machine is not working or needs maintainable) the Chimp and human have different ways of going about it; the Chimp wants immediate gratification with no responsibilities and the human, who will take pleasure in the reward of getting it right, while going through progress, eating the right food doing what is painful right now, delayed gratification to achieve long term benefits.
The foundations for success
Here Prof Peters talks about defining what success means to YOU and then sticking with that definition. Prof Peters explains that there are three moons that orbit the planet success the first: The Regal Moon ; you are the king or queen and you are responsible for your situation, think of it as a crown of power or leadership, sometimes others may wear that crown, so show respect, nevertheless you must take responsibility for your own actions.
The second is the Core moon, with an acronym CORE which stands for commitment, ownership, responsibility, excellence. For success you need total commitment, with a plan that you have ownership of and have accepted responsibility for and while always striving for personal excellence.
The third moon is the carrot moon, people work best with carrots or incentives rather than the Chimp way of doing things which would be through violence, intimidation and threats or the stick approach. Instead the use of the Human approach of compassion, encouragement and consequential bench marking should be used and this concept is explained in that chapter.
How to plan for success
Prof Peters has a system, think of it as getting the cogs in the right place to get your success, if you get the seven cogs to a line in just the right way you may be able to achieve success, this is one of the chapters with most of these simple but effective diagrams used through out the book to emphasize key the points chapters and I would suggest one of the key chapters in the book.
The seven cogs are 1: The dream, 2: The foundation stones, 3: The commitment screen, 4: The Plan , 5: Oiling the wheels, 6: Audit, 7: Outcomes. Prof Peters details each cog, and states that there is a difference between a dream and a goal, that there needs to be planning and structure to achieve success, and doing what he calls oiling the wheels, will improve the chances of that success, and that feedback in the form of regular audits will keep you on track and finally that dealing with outcomes is all part of your success blueprint.
How to be Happy
Doesn’t everyone want to be ? Prof peters does not mean just content happy, there is a bit more. He describes three states of mind and then suggest a number of ways you can achieve happiness. However there is still the battle between what makes the Chimp happy and what makes the human happy.
To move to happiness you have to add extras in your life and bring quality to it
The prof lists a number of factors that can help, such as a having list, possessions, partners building fulfilling relationships, being list and having a happiness approach in life and gives a succinct explanation of of happiness, he states that you need to find out what YOU NEED to make yourself happy and then make it happen.
The moon of confidence
In this the penultimate chapter of Prof Peters book, he suggests that confidence can be based of two ways of thinking, yes you guessed it; the human or the Chimp way and that you have a choice of basing your confidence, on doing your best, rather than trying to achieve perfection, and this in fact is the best way to gain confidence, especially if this self-confidence is built upon gradually and will be progressive, when you have realistic expectations of yourself.
The moon of security
This is one of the basic triggers for the Chimp and as prof Peters says
Felling insecure from time to time is normal for the Chimp, so expect it, accept it and take care of it; this skill was explained in earlier chapters of the book. The Chimp will seek out security albeit unrealistically and the human must address this issue as it is one of the major stabilisers of happiness for both of them.
The book ends with an appendix for those who want an explanation of the text book terminology such as dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or ventromedial prefrontal cortex encircling the uncinate fascicules…bits and bobs in the brain as my Chimp is now telling me to finish this now, so I will but before I do the human part of me would like you to
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This book is highly recommended by sports people and medical staff, student and business people, and very popular in the UK.
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