Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Chimp Management

You know when maybe you aren't being the best version of you. You spend too much time worrying, hating how you deal with situations, stressing, feeling bad. Well that was how I felt a few months ago. I was anxious all the time, scared to do new things, nervous about going to work. I wasn't happy with the way every day interactions were going - normally ending in arguments, raised voices and tears. And I felt awful. Why didn't people like me? What was wrong with them? What was wrong with me?

Something had to change and I started reading a book called Chimp Management. Its written by Professor Steve Peters who is a very successful sports psychologist and worked with the British cycling team before their massive wins in the Olympics so you know nothing to be scoffed at!

The simple theory is that your mind is split into 3 parts:

  • The Computer - the part that deals with everyday functions
  • The Human - the logical rational side
  • The Chimp - the emotionally driven side
When you are acting in a way that doesn't make you happy this is your Chimp acting. The chimp can react quicker than your human side and is stronger which means you often react with your Chimp and then regret it once your human side kicks in. The more I read the book I realised I wasn't being responsible for my actions and emotions. So many times the book hit the nail on the head and sometimes the message was quite hard to acknowledge (i.e the tendency to blame others for when a situation goes sour rather than accepting my own responsibilities)

There is no way of getting rid of the Chimp - it is an integral part of who you are - but the book tries to teach you to manage your chimp and I have found the ideas really helpful. I now have a Chimp Management book where I write maybe 3 or 4 lines as to how the day has gone and how I think I could improve. It's also abut not making yourself feel guilty about having feelings you aren't happy with or acting in a way you wish you hadn't as feeling guilty is another wasted emotion. I'm trying to also recognise the fact that I can't control other people's Chimps!

I have never read a self help book before, never thought I needed to, but honestly this was one of the most enlightening books I have ever read and one of my wishes for 2015 is to try to manage my Chimp. I haven't got it all sorted but hopefully with some more practice I can feel more in control

Have you read any helpful self help books? If you do decide to read Chimp Management let me know how you get on, I'd love to know what you think

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