Milton Keynes Personal and Professional Development Book Club – The Chimp Paradox – Prof Steve Rogers

Post-event update

WE LOVED – the exercises spattered throughout the book which helped us manage our chimp.

5 points we got from the book

1.Rogers has summarised how the brain works by using a model – we have a chimp, a human and a computer which are all interacting tougher.

The chimp is 5 times stronger than the human, and it is emotional. It reacts on feeling rather than rationality, and it is there to keep us safe. It does a good job – that ‘gut feeling’ that we get to warn us away from trouble, for example, is the chimp.
The human is logical, rational and may be saying ‘there is no evidence that something is wrong here, come on let’s get on with it’. This creates the inner conflict that we all strive to minimise.

You learn by experience which one is right:
– You don’t want to put yourself in danger
– But does your chimp have any unconscious biases? It has a tendency to be a bit too overprotective unless we teach it using the human not to be.

Your computer stores your memories, which your chimp and human will both look to for information on how to behave. The idea is to try and manage your system by storing helpful things in your computer.
(Shameless hypnotherapy plug – getting into your computer to tidy it up and store helpful information will help you react rationally in situations…there are many ways to do this, of which hypnosis is a great one!)

2. How do we manage our chimp when it’s overreacting?
Don’t suppress it….
a. Reward it, give it praise, let it know that you know it’s trying to be helpful.
b. Exercise it – let the chimp talk, say anything it needs to say, get it all out….just don’t make any decisions until its done and is willing to make decisions WITH the human
c. Distract it – give it something else to do

One of the main things I got out of the book is exercising the chimp! I have a tendency when I know I’m thinking irrationally to put it in a box and shove it under the carpet…but this always backfires because the chimp hasn’t been exercised and gets more and more pent up and frustrated until he comes out in a big flurry. Since reading the book, I’ve tried to remember to exercise the chimp instead, and it works!

3. Your chimp and your human work best together when you know what your life values are. So, imagine you’re 100 years old, you’re on your deathbed and you have one minute left to live.  You’ve got to tell your grandkids, or some other kids you want to nurture, what to value in that minute.
Whatever you’ve written down in that minute, those are the values you really care about.

So in the future, if you’re trying to make a decision or if you’re feeling stressed and you don’t know why, just have a think about your values and whether what you’re doing fits into them or not – this will make decision making a lot easier.
(This reminded me of the concepts behind ‘Start With Why’ and ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ – we need a purpose, and when we haven’t defined one or we’re drifting from this purpose it causes stress).

4. Remember other people have their own chimps…this helps us manage our reactions…if someone is being rude to us because THEIR chimp is acting up, we can show compassion because we have our own chimp too…and try and appeal to their human.

5. Your chimp and your human both want a lifestyle around them based on their likes and dislikes. If either your chimp or your human feel unsafe in your surroundings, there is a reason for this and you’ll continue to feel stressed until you address it.

Our verdict

This was a great way of thinking about the mind – very pictorial, even for those of us who listened to the book. Towards the end of the book it got a bit repetitive, but this was definitely not without being incredibly useful before it got to that point.

I’d definitely recommend it (in fact, this is the second time I’ve read it and I got new things out of it…and would happily read it again).

I can share it on Audible with anyone for free if you haven’t used Audible before.

Continue the discussion in the comments below.


Come and discuss this book on 17th April 2018, 7-9pm, Fountain Harvester, Milton Keynes.
Comment below or email me to let me know you’re going to join. Event is free and new members are always welcome.

Our book club is an informal discussion over food and drinks (both optional) where we discuss what we thought and how reading the book has helped us. New members are always welcome.

The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Prof Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:

– Recognise how your mind is working
– Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts
– Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be

The Chimp Mind Management Model is based on scientific facts and principles, which have been simplified into a workable model for easy use. It will help you to develop yourself and give you the skills, for example, to remove anxiety, have confidence and choose your emotions. The book will do this by giving you an understanding of the way in which your mind works and how you can manage it. It will also help you to identify what is holding you back or preventing you from having a happier and more successful life. Each chapter explains different aspects of how you function and highlights key facts for you to understand. There are also exercises for you to work with. By undertaking these exercises you will see immediate improvements in your daily living and, over time, you will develop emotional skills and practical habits that will help you to become the person that you want to be, and live the life that you want to live.

Come and share your thoughts on how it fits (or doesn’t) with your experiences. If the book inspires you, let us know how that has changed things in your life.





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