Once you name the problem, it’s not as scary. They call that the lizard brain. The lizard brain is your survival skills. There is a time and place for the lizard brain. Use it when you’re driving or eating your food. That way you don’t cause a wreck, killing others or yourself. Chew your food! Those are the times you want to use the lizard brain.
97% of people use their lizard brain for everything. Play it safe, Don't take risk, and don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Do this until you die and everyone will like you. It breaks my heart to write this because it’s true. I used to think like this. I thought this way until I made the switch.
We’re all problem solvers. What happens when somebody says that they don’t feel well? Our lizard brain goes beserk because we imagine it happening to us and we want them to feel better, right away. It’s not realistic and everything takes time.
It takes twenty-one days to form a new habit.
Don’t be reactive. It’s one of my favorite sayings. I have created a shirt for it, that can be found (here) I have a friend that says it all the time. He says it in jest, he says it when he gives advice, and he says it to himself. He isn’t the first one to come up with this phrase, but I think he’s the first one to bring it to my attention. “Don’t be reactive, be proactive.”
He isn’t wrong. You should always be proactive. What I mean when I say, “Don’t be reactive”, deals with behavior. We all act a certain way. If you’re thinking about being sneaky, you’ll act sneaky. Changing your behavior is one of the hardest thing you’re ever going to do. It feels like pulling teeth, ten times out of ten.
Why should you learn to change your behavior?
The process takes to learn a new skill, and the feeling you get when you achieve it is meaningful. It feels empowering and you’ll earn respect. Believe me, when I say, you want people to respect you.
If you’ve seen Game of Thrones, you might be familiar with King Joffery, The Boy King. The scene in the show, where they’re having a council, King Joffery screams, “I am King!”. This poor boy is demanding respect because of his status. (We’ll talk about status another time.) Never demand respect! Earn it!
King Joffery’s grandfather was quick to humble his grandson with few words, “if you have to say you’re the king, then you’re not the king.” Even though this is a fictional show, it reflects the thoughts and behavior of the author.
Would you rather be reactive like Joffery? Or would you like to keep your cool and demand respect with your behavior, like his grandfather? I know what I would do.
Pay attention to what people are doing, not what they’re saying.
An example of this can be seen all the time. If you write down all the times you hear the word “sorry”, you’ll find out that everyone is saying it. It starts to lose all of its meaning. People say it when they step out of the way of someone at the store. Everyone says it when they forget something. They say sorry for being sorry.
It’s difficult to know who’s sorry and means it, then who’s saying “sorry” to soothe you. I’m not saying, “don’t be sorry”. There are things to be sorry for. I’m saying don’t say sorry if you don’t mean it. Even if it may hurt the other's feelings.
Why do people say sorry, if they’re not actually sorry?
The answer is, they’re being reactive. They think, if they say sorry, the person that they’re saying sorry to, won’t harm them. They feel more than they think more. Words are a short term fix for greater things.
Actions speak louder than words. A phone call when times are hard, asking if everything is alright, shows that someone is “sorry”. A visiting an old friend in person is showing that you care. A girl that you take out on a date, calls you back for another one, after you told a stupid joke, shows that she has high interest.
This is also the best way to tell if someone is lying to you. If someone says that they really wanted to see you, after you arranged for you two to meet, and they don’t show up. It shows that you’re really not a huge priority. Things happen, I know. What if it happens more than once? By this time, you’re only wasting your time.
Time is the greatest gift you can give someone. If they can’t respect that, then they won’t respect you.
Times people use the lizard brain at the wrong time.
1. Giving meaningless “sorry.”
2. Signing silent contracts.
3. Not taking any risk.
4. Playing it safe, too much.
5. Not standing up for yourself.
6. Not telling the truth.
7. Comparing yourself to others.
8. Staying still.
9. Saying I can’t.
10. Helping too much.
This list will need further explanation. In future posts, I will explain each one of them. How you’re actually hindering yourself from your own potential, and how to fix it.
People say bad things about you all the time. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So it really doesn’t matter what you do. If this is the case, why haven’t you started to up your status?
Take action! Figure it out! Don’t be reactive.
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