Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lizard Brain

Most of us have heard and know of the “flight-or-fight” response, “amygdala hijacking” and associated behavior. Though I knew the scientific theory I was never that cognitive of its impact on my everyday life till I read Seth Godin’s Linchpin.

Before I write anymore about it, let me define the Lizard Brain the way Seth does it:

“The lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump near the brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive.”


“The resistance [sic] is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer's block and putting jitters and every project that ever shipped late because people couldn't stay on the same page long enough to get something out the door”.

And for the visually motivated amongst us, there is a nice little video that someone put together to explain the lizard brain and its importance:

What is the Lizard Brain?

Okay, in simple words – I find my Lizard brain to be that part of my brain that is judgemental, scared and prevents me from trying or doing anything out of the ordinary. It is that part that keeps reminding me that – people are looking, you are not supposed to do that and I should be happy with whatever I have achieved and not look for more challenges.

The advantage of knowing of its existence now is – I can rationalize my fear. Each time that I am attempting to do something different and my brain prevents me from doing it, I can actually rationalize that its not me but a little part of my brain. Then I can consciously go and do it. So may it be public speaking, helping a stranger or just writing a blog post. Acknowledging its existence has now helped me become a little less shy and more disciplined with life in general. If you are like me, may be understanding this part of your brain might really help!

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