Zen and the Lizard Brain…

The Gold Medal Question

Why do people quit something after jumping into it with both feet, tackle a project with what seems like the same zeal and fervor as an Olympic athlete going for gold? What is that causes us to then slam on the brakes with both feet, do a 180 degree about face and run like the wind in the opposite direction?

We seem to do this on a regular basis during our lives, we start projects that we never finish, we join a martial arts program or a gym to only quit a month later or worse yet do it one belt away from earning our blackbelt, we lose 5 pounds only to gain back 20 in return. While others around us seem to flourish, they go on to achieve their fitness goals,  earn a blackbelt, finish that project they started and lose unwanted weight permanently. And as spectators we sit back in awe, watching and thinking how lucky they are to be so gifted and strong and day dream about being just like them some day. Boy have we sold out big time on our dreams.

Are those who succeed more talented gifted or of a finer stock than us? That certainly seems to be our perception and excuse when we lose courage or feel like giving up and throwing in the proverbial towel. The truth being told we are all gifted, talented and of a finer stock we just have a hard time believing or excepting it. So what’s holding us back from greatness?

Oh! That Little Voice

It’s that little voice in our heads that says STOP!…Slow Down!…You Can’t Do That!…This Isn’t For You!…It’s Too Hard!… and every other negative connotation we tend to entertain.  As we get closer to achieving our goals and to that shipping date the little voice inside gets louder and even more aggressive. You see the little voice hates it when we achieve anything of value. It get’s really upset and wants us to resist. Oh and does it  resist.

The Evolution of the Lizard Brain

That little voice resonates from a part of our brain that I’ll refer to as the “Lizard Brain”. It’s that pre-historic hump close to the brain stem called the “Amygdale”. It’s responsible for fear, rage and our re-productive drive, being so close to the brain stem it’s also the most aggressive and dominate part of our brain and the source of the “resistance”. Luckily through evolution we have developed an amazing focus control center called the “Pre-frontal Cortex” that enables us to reason, achieve goals and solve problems and it helps us to control the resistance. It’s what makes us human instead like a lizard whose main purpose in its life is to eat, survive and re-produce nothing more.

But How Do We Control The Resistance?

Quieting the lizard brain and overcoming the resistance isn’t easy it takes tenacity, courage and perseverance, along with plenty of practice, just like in practicing martial arts. It’s only after we tame the lizard and overcome the resistance that we can truly achieve the greatness and success that we so rightly deserve. The resistance is strong it hates to lose and it uses plenty of trickery to throw us off track, but the more we vigilant that we are beating it down the more subservient it becomes. Once the lizard is tamed greatness is possible.

Don’t let the resistance hold you back from the greatness you deserve…Tame the Lizard.

By Master Tim Bell

Special thanks to Seth Godin for inspiring me and allowing me to use his term “Lizard Brain” for more about the lizard brain read Seth’s books and blog.


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