Fending off the Lizard Brain

Seth Godin’s 3 day seminar revolved around facing your fears and fighting off the lizard brain in you – that was the easier to remember term we used to refer to the amygdala for non-psychology majors. It is the piece of brain in charge of fear. It is there holding me back when I want to ask a question in class, there when I give a presentation, and there when I contemplate giving my seat up to someone who may be in need. Anything that put me out there to be judged in any way made me feel vulnerable and left my little lizard brain shaking to an extent. It is paralyzing and there are so many things we can achieve if we had control of our amygdala – the ringleader of irrational thinking. Seth showed us that training our brain isn’t all that daunting throughout the seminar and through a little story that I’d like to share.

When little Seth was at summer camp(?) there was a high diving board that kids often went on. When they climbed to the top, and looked down, most kids realized it wasn’t quite as easy as they thought it’d be. Fortunately, the ladder was too slippery and dangerous to go down, which left the kids only one option – to gather up the courage and make that jump. Some stayed for hours on the plank and one stayed the whole night on it, but those who overcame their fears had no regrets. Every kid jumped, and every kid went right back up and did it again.

I like this story because it rings oh-so-true. 4 days ago my friend and I stood staring off a cliff into Lake George as silly little kids with underdeveloped lizard brains made fun of us for not jumping. When we finally did jump, the little rats asked me to do it again but from a higher place. It took me 2 seconds to make that jump; my friend followed suit – no questions asked.

I felt great.

My cliff jumping friend wanted me to send a motivational text message to her tomorrow. Here’s a blog post instead.


Feeling lazy? Can’t bring yourself to go to the gym? Want your employees to step their game up?

When it comes to motivation, there is a huge gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current society functions on an outdated carrot-and-stick model, that would’ve worked better in the years of manual labor and indentured servants, where work revolved around turning screws all day. Work has become more complex, more interesting, and more self-directed (especially for us college kids receiving a higher education).  The reward and punishment system does little to help and more harm. Still people follow it, and businesses use this outdated model. The new approach has 3 essential elements:

  1. Autonomy- the desire to direct our own lives. Freedom in the workplace.
  2. Mastery- the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters.
  3. Purpose- the yearning to do something for a greater cause
Here is a personal example. I have been going to the gym almost everyday for two months, something I was no where close to

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Occupy Concentration

“The Pareto principle is founded on a theory that 80% of effectiveness is driven by 20% of our activity (or causes). I argue that it’s more like 99%:1%.” – Scott Scheper

1% of activity occupies 99% of effectiveness!


However, instead of focusing on just 1% or 20% of your day, it is best to focus on one important thing a day. Make it a goal. Multi-tasking is a problem I have and everyone in the generation of the internets. Job Application? Set a date to do it, and NOT the last

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