The Chimp Paradox is one of my favourite book as it uses a simple analogy to explain you on how to take control of your emotions. This by seeing your brain from two different prospective, the first that’s you rational individual and other is the chimp within your brain.
By the way if you don’t know what a chimp means is just a chimpanzee or monkey. It’s important that you realise which part you are currently in as the main role of chimp is to trick and divert you from yourself.
- We have two competing forces within our brain, so we should learn to recognise it
Professor Steve Peters describes our prefrontal cortex as our own brain and limbic system as chimp or monkey. This can lead to some serious problems whenever the two clash or the wrong one (chimp) gets in charge.
Let me give you a simple example of this, it’s a rainy day you are walking your way back to home from university wearing your favourite shoes a car drives through the puddle at full speed and splashes you water and you are totally soaked. When you go home your partner instead of calming you down, tell you that you deserve it you didn’t take shower for the last three days.
If you are in chimp mode then you’ll start an argument, but if you are in human mode then you’ll calm down and let it go.
So probably now you can understand that the key thing here is to understand who is in control of your mind. Saying it is quite easy but putting into practice in a real life situation is a lot harder.
- The 4 scenario of communication between us and the other person
There are four scenario of communication
- both human mode
- You= human brain mode & your partner= chimp mode
- You= chimp mode & your partner= human brain mode
- both chimp mode
As you can tell that the first one is the optimal scenario as both of you are rational and can handle a situation. Whereas the fourth scenario should be avoided at all cost, as most of the time will end up with argument or fight which later on when you’ll be back to human mode you’ll both be embarrassed.
- Chimp always wants more that can be obstacle for your long-term peace
We all have goal in our life, including me of waking up early and going to the gym. But when we achieve them, we forget to celebrate and we immediately chase the next goal. That can be partially healthy when it comes to going to the gym however most of the time it is not.
We are always chasing that imaginary perfect state that we would like to stay, but we will never reach that state. An example of this is entrepreneurs, they want to make their first £100.000 in profit. When they reach £100.000 they now want £ 1 million. So the chimp is greedy and it always wants more. You should be understanding your inner chimp and don’t let it ruin your term happiness.
Overall, this is a great book and Steve has used an awesome analogy to explain a quite complicated concept. I recommend this book to every student who question the cause of their sudden change of emotion.