Its all very well having all these ways of fooling the inner reptile to make him compliant to your goal achieving aspirations, but all of this is hard work! Wouldn’t it be nice if he would just let go and come along for the ride?
Well, first of all you need to acknowledge that he is doing a great job! You’re still alive aren’t you? So often we beat ourselves up for our “failures” which does only one thing – it puts us under even more stress.
We tell ourselves we’re stupid, that we are failures, and that we will never improve. I once heard a prominent motivational speaker suggesting we go into a bathroom, look at ourselves in the mirror and give ourselves a big telling off! And what does our system do in response to that? Well, it gets even more stressed, produces more adrenalin and the little reptile says “see, I was right, there is danger” and takes an even tighter hold, stops us doing the things we need to do to succeed and creates even more feelings of failure. Another vicious circle.
So give your inner reptile a big hug instead of telling him off – thank him for all the amazing work he’s done for you in keeping you alive and then gently take back control!
Now your human brain is back in charge how does it stay there?
There is one way to permanently re-programme the reptile so that it works with you to create your fabulous life. We are all born with a purpose, something we are born to do, our own unique ability to make our lives fulfilled and satisfying and to make the world a better place. It is called our Life Purpose. It’s not just some airy-fairy, idealistic thing, that only monks and philosophers get to do. It actually is our very reason for being here, and as such is essential to our survival.
We are also born with another, more basic purpose, that is to survive. That survival instinct is like our basic programming. It ensures that our heart beats, we breath, we eat, drink and stay warm and safe. And as long as that basic programming is in place it will take over whenever things get tough. Very few people spend any time discovering what their life purpose is. It’s the kind of thing you might talk about late into the night as a student, over a couple of bottles of bad red wine. You might even have great insights during these discussions, but sadly you probably won’t remember them in the morning! And once you get into the “real” world, just surviving takes precedence. You have to earn a living, pay the rent/mortgage, keep a job, and have a relationship. Life is really just too busy and full to even think about why you are here. Most people go through their lives so busy earning a living, they never even attempt to get a life!
What this means is that every time they come under stress, the survival instinct kicks in. Where does the survival instinct come from? The reptilian brain! The part of the brain that is least equipped to help us get a life, but the part that will keep us alive and functioning in the same boring/miserable place we’ve always been. Mostly we are not even aware of being miserable. If you ask someone how they are, often they’ll reply “not bad”. But is “not bad” really the way you want to spend your one and only precious life?
The reptilian brain is the least intelligent part of our brain. It doesn’t understand fun, joy or love. All it understands it survival. That’s why people stay in jobs that bore them silly, or marriages where their partner beats them up. Not because its fun or they enjoy it, but because their inner reptile says “it might not be comfortable but at least its safe”. Its safe because its familiar, and the last time you were here you survived.
Even if you are living successful, pleasant life, the minute you come under stress your reptile takes over. When you are under stress this is when you need to be able to make good, powerful decisions about your future, you need the best your incredible mind can give you to get yourself out of this mess. What you get is an iguana!
The way your life purpose works is that it over-writes your basic programming. Once you have aligned yourself with your true purpose in life, and made the decision that this is who you are, then your life purpose becomes your new basic programming. Instead of holding you back, making you do the same things over and over so that you never take on the scary changes, your reptile is now working to help you live your life purpose. Instead of stopping you making that important phone call the reptile will force you to make it. Instead of leaving everything to the last minute and doing a mediocre job, you will start in plenty of time to do the best possible work and shine.
Living your purpose will be as instinctive as dropping a hot potato, and as effortless.