Are you dominant or submissive? 

Now hold on, don’t be getting carried away!

A question we have to ask ourselves is, who is really in charge of our decisions? 

Of course you are going to say that you are. (I would hope)

If you are in charge of your own decisions then you own responsibility of those decisions. 

Where the problem lies, is there is a constant battle for power in your mind every single day, every single decision.

Think of your brain as having three areas, your computer brain, your human (logical) brain and your chimp (emotional) brain.

Your computer brain is set. It works entirely off habits, routines. Think driving your car and changing gears without even thinking (unless your my dad that is). That is your computer brain in action. Things we do daily without thinking. 

Then you have the frontal part of the brain, the human, logical brain. This will take time to analyse a situation, assess the best outcomes and make a conscious rational decision (most of the time).

Finally, we have the chimp!

The chimp is a part of the brain called the amygdala. The chimp works solely from emotion. The chimp is irrational. The chimp is erratic. The chimp is nuts!

I think we can all relate to the chimp. 

We need all these parts of our brain for a number of reasons but understanding how it works can help you recognise when the chimp is hijacking your human logical brain and you can learn to deal with it.

The problem is all signals are first sent to our chimp to process in rapid speed, the human brain takes longer to receive the same message and process. 

This is why when you fly off the handle, or say something you did not mean or dive into a full packet of biscuits without thinking and after you think to yourself, I really didn’t want or need to do that.

That was your chimp (emotional brain) hijacking you. 

Our chimp is strong and it is constant battle every day. Emotions are important and it isn’t a case of ignoring the chimp.

It is recognising when a stress comes on, when you feel yourself about to react to what someone has said, or you feel crap and are heading for the biscuit tin, to just stop.

Stop for 60 seconds, say to yourself “I am being hijacked”. Take 10 deep breaths. 

Allow your human brain to catch up. Step away from the situation (as hard as that might be) for 5 minutes.

I guarantee you, your reaction and the experience you have will be completely different when you come back.

This is not an easy thing to do, but understanding our day to day is filled with habits (computer brain) and emotional reactions (chimp) so, our human (logical) can find it hard to keep up.

A lot of the self sabotage we do regarding our training and nutrition stems from this chimp winning more often than not.

We all would have better relationships if we could recognise when we were being hijacked, and take a minute before reacting.

Trust me this is very hard!! It takes practice, so be easy on yourself.

Have a great day.

Ian (The ultimate chimp) Murphy



If you identify with this story, I would recommend you read a book named “The Chimp Paradox” by Steve Peters.

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