Quiet your lizard brain in order to achieve greatness

Thursday, July 22, 2010 gc 3 Comments

Seth Godin is a great bestselling author that really gets me motivated and inspired. I am definitely a part of his tribe. One of his recent memes is about the lizard brain in all of us. As he describes it, the lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump near the brain stem that is responsible for revenge, fear, rage and reproductive drive. The "lizard brain", really called the amygdala, is mostly the same brain that a chicken and lizard have. This brain is the one that developed millions and millions of years ago. This prehistoric vestige is no longer relevant because there are no more saber tooth tigers chasing us.

In order to do great design, you'll need to quiet your lizard brain. Artists usually know how to sooth or quiet the lizard brain, because art starts in the big brain (neo-cortex).

Your lizard brain might be in control when you...
  • are interviewing a peer that would be great for your company but your lizard brain feels threatened; Jim Collins argues that this is no way for a company to go from Good to Great
  • have a possibly great design but you are afraid people might find a flaw
  • need to do something that isn't in the manual 
  • need to prepare a presentation for your customer or team
Once you realize that everyone has the same problem and it has a name, you are almost all the way there in solving it. And when you feel the lizard brain in control, then you are probably on the road to greatness.

In the this video, Godin targets our "lizard brain" as the source of primary doubts.

Here are a couple of posts about the lizard brain:

Don't appease the lizard or you will be making the biggest mistake of all--you will always be trying not to fail. Failing is so better than not attempting, so make things happen.

Enjoy. I hope you find it inspiring.

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aditya menon said...

"Failing is so better than not attempting, so make things happen."

Certainly inspired, thank you :)

gc said...

@aditya so glad that it inspired you. Enjoy.

gc said...