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The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness

Page history last edited by Chris 10 years, 4 months ago Saved with comment

Psychological Mind

Human brain simplified



Psychological Mind



 Human brain Psychological Mind 
Frontal  Human 
Limbic  Chimp 
Parietal  Computer 


The Chimp is an emotional machine that thinks independently from us. It is not good or bad, it is just a Chimp.


You are not responsible for the nature of your Chimp but you are responsible for managing it.


One of the secrets of success and happiness is to learn to live with your Chimp and not get bitten or attacked by it. To do this, you need to understand how your Chimp behaves, and why it thinks and acts in the way that it does. You also need to understand your Human and not muddle up your Human with your Chimp.


The Psychological Mind has two independent thinking machines that also independently interpret our experiences: Human (Frontal) and Chimp (Limbic).


You are the Human.


Your Chimp is an emotional thinking machine.


Your Computer is a storage area and automatic functioning machine.


Any one of them can take complete control but usually they work together.


The Divided Planet


Human and Chimp stay on this Planet.


Human  Chimp 
Logical Thinking:
  • Evidence-based
  • Rational
  • In context and with perspective
  • Shades of grey and balanced judgement 
Emotional Thinking:
  • Jumps to opinion
  • Thinks in black and white
  • Paranoid
  • Catastrophic
  • Irrational
  • Emotive judgement 
Fact . Truth  Feelings . Impressions 
  • Self-agenda (self-development, etc)
  • Society agenda



  • Perpetuation of species
  • self-survival


Humanity Center:
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Conscience
  • Law-abiding
  • Self-control
  • Sense of purpose
  • Achievement and satisfaction
  • Female Human same as Male Human 
Jungle Center:
  • Instincts (Fear, Flight, Fight responses)
  • Drives (sex, power, food, troop, ego, etc)
  • Vulnerable stances (insecure by nature)
  • Male and female Chimps (both Chimps are different)
  • Body language 


Whenever you have feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that you do not want or welcome, then you are being hijacked by your Chimp.


Chimps like to go on how they feel to decide on future actions, whereas Humans tend to go on what needs to be done and also how they will feel at the end of the day when they look back on how they used their time. These are two very different approaches.


All info goes to Chimp first, Human second.


INFO ---> Chimp ---> Human


Willpower is NOT a good way to manage your Chimp. Your Chimp is 5x stronger than your Human. You cannot control your Chimp, but you can manage it.


Part of the problem of clashes between your Chimp and you is not realizing that the Chimp is merely making an offer, not a command. You have a choice to accept or reject the offer.


INPUT ---> Chimp (interprets emotionally) --->gives an offer to ---> Human (who has a choice to accept or reject)


You are responsible for managing your Chimp and its actions just like you are responsible for your dog and its actions. You cannot change the nature of the Chimp but you can manage its actions.


Two aspects to working with the Chimp: first nurture, then manage.


Manage the Chimp

Three ways to manage your Chimp:

  1. Exercise
  2. Box
  3. Banana


Exercise The Chimp

  1. Take the Chimp out to a locked compounds
  2. Let it all out
  3. Listen to the Chimp for as long as it takes.
  4. Don't comment


Boxing the Chimp

Use facts, reason, truth, and logic to calm the Chimp down.


It may take several episodes of exercising the Chimp for any one problem before you can box it. You may also need to keep putting the Chimp back into its box several times for any one problem.


Sometimes, the Chimp does not need to be exercised and will go into the box of logic and truth straight away.


Distract Chimp with Banana

     a way to distract the Chimp. It could be external praise or approval.


Sometimes you can skip directly to boxing the Chimp without exercising it.


Exercise you can use

One good exercise is NEAT.

It is Normal to have Chimp outbursts and activity that you will not manage well.

Therefore you should Expect this to happen from time to time.

Accept that you are not perfect and this animal is powerful.

Take care of the outburst or activity by appropriate means, apologies if you have affected others, forgiveness if you feel guilty.


The Guiding Moon

Your Computer (Parietal) has two functions:

  1. Think and act automatically for you using programmed thoughts and behaviors.
  2. Reference source for information, beliefs, and values.


Your Computer is 20x faster than your Human.


Your Computer has 5 parts:

  1. Autopilots
  2. Goblins
  3. Gremlins
  4. Stone of Life
  5. Mindset 


Autopilots are positive, constructive beliefs, behaviors, and automatic functioning. 

E.g., riding a bicycle, staying calm when something goes wrong, focuses on solutions than problems. 


Goblins and Gremlins are the opposite of Autopilots.


Goblins are hardwired in your Computer because they were put there when you were very young. You cannot remove them, but you can contain them.

Gremlins are softwired and can be removed, usually have to do with unhelpful and unrealistic expectation.


E.g. of Goblin, a child who thinks that her worth is based on what she achieves.

E.g. of Gremlin, I believe that I should always be on time.


Autopilots and Gremlins are put into the Computer by your Human and your Chimp respectively. 


When a situation occurs, both your Human and your Chimp will look to the Computer for references. The Human will find Autopilots and the Chimp will retrieve Gremlins.


It is important to have lots of Autopilots in the Computer because this will help to slow down the Chimp.


The Stone of Life

Stone of Life contains 3 smaller components:

  1. Truths of Life
  2. Values
  3. Life force


Truths of life are the set of beliefs that you know how the world works and you can "prove" they are true by experience or example.


Values are beliefs you have found to be important to you.


Truths are evidence based, Values are personal judgement calls.


The Life Force is what you believe life is about and how you should live it. To discover the Life force, imagine you are on your death bed and you have one minute left. Your great-great-grandchild asks, "What should i do with my life?"  Your answer is your Life Force.


Your Computer provides a reference for a Mindset. A Mindset is based on perception of self, other people, and the world. 


Humans don't always get it right. Chimps don't always get it wrong.


You can search out and replace Gremlins with Autopilots.


The Stone of Life is the most important part of your mind. It is something that you can work on.


Reinforcing the Stone of Life by making it visible every day is a major settling influence on you.


You can replace the "Should" Gremlins with the "Could" Autopilots. This needs to be done repeatedly to embed the Autopilots into the Computer so that it can work without your inputs.


I cannot urge you enough to return to your Stone of Life and if necessary perfect and redraw your poster. When you get this clear in your mind, it will be the most settling influence on your Chimp, your Human and your very existence. Remember that the Stone of Life is by far the most powerful stabilizer for your Psychological Mind and the indeed for your entire Universe.


How the Chimp, Human and the Computer deal with info


How you can change your default programme


3 ways to change your programme:

  1. Human intervenes by managing Chimp to stop acting out its thoughts 
  2. Getting the help of others
  3. using the Computer to manage the Chimp



Event -> Feelings/Impression ->Emotional Thinking -> Plan -> Action


Event -> Facts/Truth -> Logical Thinking -> Plan -> Action


You cannot stop Chimp from reacting to the event, but you can stop the Chimp from acting on the reactions.



Event -> Feelings/Impression -> Intervention HERE!! Switch to Human track


Facts/Truth -> Logical Thinking -> Plan -> Action


You cannot always use the Human to intervene successfully because the Chimp is strongest and reacts faster than Human.


However, the Chimp will check with the Computer for reference, so you can programme the Computer to settle the Chimp down.


Your personality is a mixture of CHimp, Human and Computer.


You can be the person you want to be, but your Chimp hijacks your being.


The Planet of Others

Snow White Mindset

Innocent, passive victim at the mercy of others and circumstances. Completely devoid of accountability, responsibility, and power to change the circumstances.


Alpha Wolf Mindset

varying degress of dictator and control freak. Success and ego are paramount.


When dealing with others,

  1. try not to conclude from first impressions
  2. try not to have preconceived notions of others
  3. beware of prejudices


Human searches for Truth, Fact and Evidence before reaching Conclusion.

Chimp has a COnclusion and then searches of 'facts', 'truth' and 'evidence' to support the Conclusion.


Successful people don't make demands of others, but set the scene so that the Human in other people can respond, rather than their Chimp.


It is your decision to remain with other people and to accept them as they are or to leave them just as it is their right to act in the way that they want to.


One in 5 people will love you regardless what you do. One in 5 people will hate you regardless what you will do. The other 3 will be balanced.


The Troop Moon

How to choose the right support network


Chimp needs to belong to a troop to survive. So it will do everything it can to please everyone in the same troop.


Human wants to belong to a troop because Human based its beliefs on social values.


The Human treats everyone as a friend, so everyone is in the troop.


The Chimp sees enemies everywhere, so only has a troop of friends and families.


The Human misleads the Chimp by declaring everyone is a friend. 

The Chimp is right originally. Not everybody is in your troop, so you do not have to please everybody.


The Human looks for people with Humanity qualities to recruit into its troop.


The Chimp looks for people with superficial qualities like power, good looks.


You must strike a balance.


The trouble is when the Chimp chooses someone the Human disagrees with. E.g., abusive spouses fail the Humanity test, but the Chimp defends the spouse with excuses due to strong emotions. "But he is a good person. You just don't see it."


Troops are not fixed. People move in and out.


Opinions outside of your troop are not important.


Clarifying the roles of those inside the troop helps it to function well.


The Planet Connect

How to communicate effectively


The Square of Communication


Assertive Communicator  Aggressive Communicator 
Removes emotion from speech  Full of emotion 
Choose words carefully  Evokes emotion in other people 



Assertive Communicator paths :

  1. Say to the other person what you don't want using the word, I
  2. Say to them how it is making you feel.
  3. Say to them what you do want using the word, I


The way you package your message is critical to its success being received. There are four package types :

     1. Body Language. 

    • Message is conveyed without speaking.
    • Chimps read this.
    • Females better than males at reading.
    • Don't overrate body language, about 50% of communication 

     2. Intonation

    • Speed, volume and emphasis.
    • Slower, quieter relaxes chimp.
    • We mimic what we hear and see. 
    • Emphasis changes meaning of the same words. 

     3. Use of words.

    • Attack by words is same as a chimps attack by teeth and fists.
    • Picking the wrong word can have big consequences.
    • Words have emotive content. e.g. hate vs don't like.
    • Same thing can happen in your own head. e.g. should vs could.
    • Sometimes the use of "I want" is appropriate. Using polite words can have a negative affect. 

     4. Ambience

    • Mood of the person.
    • Children and dogs are easy to read. They don't try to hide ambience. Adults do.
    • Think about the ambience you have. Ask yourself what kind of ambience you would like someone else to have? What kind of ambience would put you at ease? 


Acknowledge your own Chimp by relating how you feel to the other person.

Avoid evoking the other person's Chimp by saying in an assertive but not aggressive manner.


Pulling it all together :

  • Check you are talking to the right person for your agenda.
  • Check the place is appropriate.
  • Establish agenda of chimp and human.
  • Remove unreasonable parts of your agenda.
  • Approach the conversation in human mode.
  • Present conversation with the right packaging.
  • Help to manage the chimp in the other person e.g. listen to them exercise their chimp.  
  • Find the agenda of the human and chimp in the other person.
  • Clarify your own agenda.
  • Agree common ground and outcomes.
  • Try to meet other persons agenda first before your own.
  • Try to meet own agenda.
  • If no agreement can use mediator or  arbitrator.
  • Summarise what you have agreed.
  • Smile and thank the person! 


The Planet of the Real World

How to establish the right environment


The Chimp lives in the Jungle world, goes by Jungle rules, driven by survival and other primitive drives.


The Human lives in Society, goes by Social rules, driven by Quality of Life and Humanity.


The Computer makes sense of these worlds and come up with the Real World.


The Moon of Instant Stress

How to deal with immediate stress


Autopilot for dealing with instant stress:

  1. Recognize you are under instant stress and you need to CHANGE your immediate reaction to stress.
  2. Hit the PAUSE button for the Chimp. 
  3. Escape by either physically or mentally distancing yourself from the situation.
  4. Imagine climbing into a helicopter and hover over the situation. Ask yourself, "How is this important to the rest of my life?" "Is this situation going to last forever or things will change?" "What are the really important things in my life? Is this one of them?" 
  5. Form a PLAN to remove the stress.
  6. Reflect and activate. Do you want the Chimp to act on your plan or the Human?
  7. Smile. Smile when you can.





Move on



Start from where you are at and what you have got. Not where you want to be and what you want to get.


Time travel. Imagine 10 years into the future. Will this still matter?


Common stressors:

Decision making - sometimes you just cannot gather any more information and you just have to make a decision. Accept that fact and that now is the right time to make a decision.


Sometimes the consequences of the decisions are dire if wrong. Accept that fact and make the best decision you can possibly make under the situation.


If you hold the expectation that life should remain constant, it will become a source of stress.



The Moon of Chronic Stress

How to deal with long-standing stress


Chronic stress comes from circumstances, self and others.


Constructive ways to diffuse chronic stress:

  1. use relaxation techniques
  2. be able to delegate
  3. ask for help
  4. get perspective
  5. be realistic
  6. look beyond the problem to solutions
  7. remember you are in charge of your feelings and reactions
  8. share feelings with someone who cares


If you try to catch a monkey, it is easy.


Cement a vase into the ground. Put stone inside vase. Wait for monkey to come by. Monkey reaches in to take out stone. Stone with arm is too big to take out. Approach monkey with net. Monkey will not let go despite stone being worthless.Throw net over monkey.


Need to learn to let go. Don't hold on to worthless thoughts or worries like the monkey with the stone.



The Planet of Shadows and Asteroid Belt

How to look after your health


Malfunction - machine not working

Person is ill, needs treat ment


Dysfunction - machine working

Person is not working properly, needs maintenance.


Look after body and mind in a serious way to get the best out of yourself.


Work on maintenance of physical and mental health.


If ill, take responsibility to seek treatment to get yourself better.


The Planet of Success and its Three Moons

Foundations for success


the 3 moons are:

Regal Moon


Moon of Carrots.


Regal Moon

We need to recognise which realm we are operating in and who is wearing the crown.


Own Realm, other's realm and joint realm.


In Own realm, you wear the crown and you are the monarch. You need to choose your advisors wisely. Other people in your Realm are either advisors whose opinions you seek out and listen to OR subjects whom you must behave politely towards.


There are rules that govern your realm even if you are the monarch. Always use your Human to behave properly regardless to advisors or subjects.


In other's realm, you do not wear the crown. You are not in charge. You are either the advisor or the subject. Respect the monarch of the realm. If you are treated like an advisor, proffer your advice when called for, but do not be upset if advice not taken up. 


As a subject, you can only treat monarch with respect, but does not mean you roll over and be a doormat.


If you do not agree with the monarch's descision move on to other realms.


In Joint realms, respect that decisions are made in a joint manner. Sometimes Joint Realms are personal relationship between 2 people. Sometimes it is a team of more than 2 people with different people having different levels of power and control.


Respect everyone in the realm.


CORE moon







Chimp is motivation-driven, not commitment-driven. Commitment comes from Human.


For success to occur, it is commitment not motivation that matters.


2 aspects of commitment screen:

  1. what i need to do the job
  2. solutions ready for any difficulty


What you need is divided into 3 types:

  1. essential - what is absolutely critical to do the job
  2. significant - what will greatly influence the results of the job or job itself.
  3. desirable - may or may not help, but definitely makes things more comfortable


What difficulties:

  1. hurdles - obstacles that simply have no way to get around 
  2. barriers - obstacles that you can get around of.
  3. pitfalls - if you do not watch out for these, it will hurt you


Anyone can be organized by making a plan. Only the disciplined person can stick to a plan and make it work.



Having ownership excites the Human and the Chimp.


Making a plan and having ownership of the plan ==> being organized




Taking responsibility and accountability for executing plan ==> being disciplined.




Personal excellence means doing your best.


Now you have all 4 ingredients:

A thought-through commitment

A plan for which you have ownership

Accepted responsibility for execution

Striving for personal excellence in execution


Moon of carrots


Civilised society replaces sticks with carrots.


3 common sticks are:

Beating yourself up

Guilt, blame and regret

Abusive reminder ( putting other people in constant guilt trip)




The Planet of Success 

How to plan for success


7 gears:

  1. The Dream 
  2. Foundation Stones
  3. COmmitment SCreen 
  4. The Plan 
  5. Oiling wheels
  6. Audit
  7. Outcomes



A dream is something you want to happen but it is not totally within your control.


A goal supports a dream. A goal is something totally within your control.


Dreams send blood supply to the Chimp.

Goals send blood supply to the Human.


Don't make dreams into goals because you will set the Chimp off. 


Psychological evidence shows that we need to dream big and set challenging goals to excite ourselves and stretch our abilities.


Aim for the stars not the moon.


Stars are goals you can achieve with great effort


Moon is a goal you can achieve with effort.


Foundation Stones


Foundation stones are components the Dream rests on. Basically they are still goals with measurable outcomes.

Some are target goals. Others are maintenance goals.


Always work on 1 or 2 target goals at a time.


Maintenance goals are goals where you only need to maintain the standards of your outcomes. Target goals are those with standards

just a little out of reach.


Commitment Screen

Make a list of essential, significant and desirable needs to reach your dream.

Make a list of hurdles, barriers and pitfalls that lie between you and your dream.


The Plan

THe more preparation you make with your plan, the more likely you are to succeed.


Make the plan in stages. just like you planned the ascent onto a mountain by planning for different camps along the way up.


Oiling the wheels


When you reach a goal (camp), look back. Celebrate how much you have gone so far.


Monitor the success with a chart or some visible signs of showing your progress.


Display visible reminders and encouragers such as posters or notes to keep your CHimp on track.


Get a friend to share your journey with.



Looking at the progress so far. Are you on track? What is working? What isn't?


Successful thinking requires considering the source of problems in this order:

  1. Me
  2. Circumstances
  3. Others

Chimp thinks

  1. Others
  2. Circumstances
  3. Me (and not really at all)


Sometimes your CHimp will repaint the picture and rationalize your errors into a rosy situation. Don't let your CHimp deceive yourself.




Success can lead to 3 feelings: complacency, fear of losing success, emotional depressed because the success did not turn out to be as wonderful as first thought.


It is normal to have a dive in emotions after success.


Partial success

Chimp sees things black and white like a child. COnsider that you may have partial success as an outcome rather than success and failures only.


Failures can be an opportunity to sharpen your skills and problem solving capability. Chimps tend to see this as a catastrophe.


Anything in life is only as important as you want it to be.



The Planet of Happiness

How to be happy


3 states: positive, neutral, negative.


there are 2 lists to achieve happiness:


having list and the being list.


having list includes

  1. achievements
  2. posessions
  3. emotional
  4. physical
  5. intellectual

being list includes

  1. self worth
  2. self image
  3. self confidence
  4. self esteem

focus on being list not having list.


Items on Being list is about choice.

self image is how you see your personality and presence

self worth is the value you put yourself as a person

self esteem is how you see yourself compared to others

self confidence is what you believe you are capable of doing


The Moon of Confidence

How to be confident



Confidence based on ability gives power to the CHimp


Confidence based on giving your best gives power to the Human



The Moon of Security

How to develop security


Chimp: I think there is risk!! REmove it!!!!

Human : Sometimes risk cannot be avoided. You have to accept it. How can i help my Chimp?


The Chimp frequently seeks security unrealistically. You can place an Autopilot in the Computer to steady the Chimp.












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