We seem to be getting awash this week with animals. Today its the turn of the Chimp. A new book that I’ve heard good reports on is sitting at my bedside waiting to help me out. The Chimp Paradox is a recent book by Professor Steve Peters, punningly know as the “Head Coach” to some of our sporting greats. The theory, and the book describing it, is that if we can understand the relationship between our behaviours (the emotional ones particularly driven by our inner chimp) and channel them, then we have tools to improve our performance in many ways including sporting achievements.
The Chimp is the area of the mind that is driven by feeling, impressions, emotional thinking and gut instincts. The Chimp quickly jumps to opinions and thinks in black and white terms. It can be paranoid and its behaviour can be catastrophic, irrational and emotive. Its primary motivator is survival and it goes back to a very primitive and essential part of our human development.
It is how athletes manage their Chimp that dictates how well they perform. Put simply, learn ways to control your Chimp to train the brain to manage surges of emotion. Impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives. Chances are, according to Peters, it’s your inner Chimp, that’s running amuck, and often at those moments of high pressure.
The Chimp behaves instinctively relying on the Fight, Flight or Freeze options and as well as being five times faster to respond than the remainder of your mind has real commitment issues so is well worth aiming to train.
With Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris Hoy and even Ronnie O’Sullivan on board I’m going to give it a go.