Imagine your life as a spectacular journey. Your brain, with all it’s complexities has a driver and a passenger. A chimpanzee is driving. This chimpanzee is your emotional, animal self. Your awareness of “you” is sitting in the backseat….a passenger.
The chimp drives around and does what is fun. It’s impulsive. It’s a chimp, for goodness sake. It doesn’t balance responsibilities, IRA’s or consider time management. There is no relation to the activity you do today and how it will impact you 5, 10 or 20 years from now. Goals? No clue… It wants sex, food, and thrills. The easiest, most pleasurable experience is at the forefront. Woo Hoo!
You – from the backseat – are technically in charge. As the “passenger” your rational self has the absolute power and will to override the chimp and direct the speed, course and destination of your taxi. The chimp may protest verbally, but your superior will power is omnipotent and can cause the chimp to turn the wheel, brake and accelerate as needed.
Discipline isn’t measured in an instant, it requires constant effort to overpower the chimp.
Some people create excuses for where the monkey drove them. Oftentimes we hear, “I’m working on that…” or “Someday”. But the chimp doesn’t have the perspective of time and how it relates to goals and legacy. It was simply driving. The chimp didn’t consider all the consequences of the action it took. More importantly, it could never consider the consequences for the actions it did not take.
I’m not suggesting the chimp doesn’t have value. Quite often a wrong turn or even a speeding ticket creates great innovation or opportunity. Not to mention the pleasures of the occasional impulsive excursion. One should not ignore the monkey completely…achieving a goal without the reward is a rather bland life-right?
On occasion, let the monkey drive and see where it takes you. If Pareto was in the back seat, I’d let him give directions 80% of the time….those instincts are usually right. Always consider the consequences no matter who is behind the wheel or tracking the GPS. You are both the monkey and the passenger, so stay in charge of the taxi.
It’s OK to have fun, just be sure to let that chimp know you are a great tipper for not just a thrilling ride, but one with purpose.