We all have an inner chimp. It is how we harness our inner chimp and when we use the inner chimp that affects our decision making.
The Flight or Fight reflex is in us all.
As human beings, we all have an inner chimp, the chimp reacts firsts to a situation, makes us angry, makes us sad, makes us scared. Then our brain takes over and the logical side makes the decisions.
We have all experienced the inner chimp, for example, you are waiting at an exit on the motorway and a car comes along and cuts in right in front of you. Immediately, you are angry, you may sound the horn of the car, make rude hand gestures or swear. Then after a while, the feelings go away, it doesn't matter, the person in front may have a legitimate reason for cutting in, they may have been in an emergency situation.
Does it really matter that they cut in front of you, is it going to affect your day that much? Not really, but your instant reaction is one of anger.
The flight or fight reflex is one which all intelligent animals possess, should I stay and fight or should I run and fight another day.
I experienced my inner chimp raging last week. I was questioned regarding an incident over data and the misuse of data. I was raging and immediately decided to fight, the person who questioned the misuse of the data did not have the full facts and have made an assumption and due to other people questioning her, she questioned me.
I had already replied to another person and explained the situation, but the questions continued. Instead of halting and thinking about it logically, I was so angered that I immediately responded, I had decided to fight.
The question was unsubstantiated, it was a stupid question, and one which did not have malice, but was one which she had been forced to ask by others. She already knew the answer that I was to give, but wanted to confirm the situation.
The question was made over email and not in person, had the question been made in person, I believe that I would of answered it differently and laughed it off, instead it angered me.
This led me to thinking about communication and how communications can be misinterpreted, Social Media, text messages, emails and letters can all be misunderstood. When talking face to face with someone, you can read their body language, you can see their facial expressions, when it is delivered in a written format, you can often interpret the message in the wrong way.
How many times have you read a message and interpreted it completely wrong? How many times have you been angered by a message, immediately responded and then regretted the response. Take the time today to look back over an email thread where you were angry, look at your responses and see if it was you or your chimp that responded.
There are many keyboard warriors out there in the Digital world, people who hide behind their keyboards and screens. People who when put in a face to face situation act completely differently.
The Halt 2 Proceed program tells us to stop and analyse before making a decision, but is this always possible? Sometimes we need the chimp to be present. We need to train and utilise our inner chimps.
At an early age, we are taught to count to ten before reacting, before fighting back. Incidents which happen in our lives cause us to become angry or sad. I was angry at the time and now looking at the email, the question did not even warrant a response and should have been deleted. I knew that I had acted with integrity and had done nothing wrong.
Shortly after I found out that a person close to my son had died and that another friend's relative cancer had returned. The stupid question that had got me angry was immediately put into perspective. It was insignificant, compared to other events which were now happening.
We do not know our futures, we do not know how long we have on this earth. For some their last day is today and we must remember that when we are dealing with issues and problems, take the time to think, leave the issue for a while, talk it over with others, you are never alone in this world, there are many people and organisations who will help you through tough situations.
There will always be people who want to try and put you down, they will try anything to stop your success. It is mainly due to jealousy. If you know that everything you have achieved has been completed through hard work and for a good cause, then sleep easy at night. Look at your loved ones, your family, your pets. Stop and think and realise what you have, what you have achieved and what you can achieve in the future.
The future is not written, we can decide our own paths and destiny. Some peoples journeys are cut short, others last longer. We do not know the length of our path, so when you are confronted by someone, take the time to think it over, does it matter? Does it really affect my journey. If the answer is No, then continue down the path, push on and leave these people behind and in the future you may work with them again but if not they will move onto other people, other agendas.
Continue down your path, but never be afraid to change direction, just do it for the right reasons.
The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chimp-Paradox-Management-Programme-Confidence/dp/009193558X