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Lizard Brain

I woke up at around nine o’ clock today morning. I thought of making a cup of milk tea then refrained myself. Spending a few dull moments in front of television, I stood up and went to the kitchen. I pulled myself and finally made a cup of lemon tea. Following that, I thought of washing my clothes, as I do not have any clean stuff to wear on Monday morning for office. But, I am yet struggling with the idea of starting my washing machine. I had bought a book on Risk Management two weeks ago, but procrastination is overcoming my keenness to run through the book.  Many a times it happens, you want to do something, then you change your mind, you do something else or sandbag the idea in between. Sometimes it also happens, you take immediate decisions (especially defensive, keep yourself cosy and to avoid any scuffle) without much thought process going behind. Later you even find your assessments acceptable however barely had you used your conscious level to take those decisions.

It is quite tricky to find out any explanation behind the irrational behavior of our mind. An American author of business books, Seth Godin, describes it the Lizard Brain at work, which is mostly concerned with the survival. Lizard hates change, achievement, and risk. Lizard Brain’s only reaction to everything is resistance (do not call it fear). Would you want to speak in public, would you want to buy something, would you want to go for a vacation, lizard brain is always going to put jitters on your way. Seth Godin rightly says that the resistance grows in strength, as we get closer to the truth of what we really want. The voice of resistance will always ring bells somewhere in the back of our mind signalling us to pull back, go slow and compromise.

We all have a pinch of Lizard traits at the top of our spine, inside the skull. On lighter side, we have had it since we were Lizards as evolutionists argue that we have evolved from lizards (around 300 million years ago when we were Tetrapodes). All I can say is that Lizard characteristics are never going to obtain victory for us in any battle of life. We cannot shoot that lizard or punch it to keep it quiet, but we can suspend the judgement coming from Lizard inside our body in order to overcome lizard traits. Now I am going to wash my clothes suspending the judgement presented by the lizard inside me.

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  1. Nishant Koria
    February 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm


    well said and analysed. There are two schools of thought when we think of the lizard brain theory (there are my views only).

    First, The lizard inside wants us to be complacent & stops us to do just about anything…in you case washing clothes.It happens to me too sometimes & i manage to while away hours/days achieving nothing but killing time. This is a sure-shot path to nowhere and we are nothing but a piece of flesh which is still breathing.

    Second, it may not be always wrong, what i am trying to say is that somewhere we are convince inside that its not our cup of tea and going ahead is suicidal so why be foolhardy. So the lizard inside stops us & wants us to use this energy in something which might be less significant in terms of achievement but sure to encompass. This sounds rational, now here the lizard is trying to stop you from meeting another failure.

    But my argument….its better to fail rather to survive in the anticipation of failure. At least we will live life without regrets. Still better, to identify which school of thought the lizard inside is referring to and act. So its better to slow-kill the ‘first lizard’ gradually by setting more ‘achievable’ goals and eventually proving the ‘second’ lizard wrong too…

    Hope i dint confuse you 🙂


  2. anoop
    February 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I think if u failed in your attempt, u may lose a battle but surely not the war. You will lose the war only if you don’t let yourself learn lessons from these failures. Let me explain this. Suppose you are trying to do something new and making various attempts, but failed 9 times out of 10. So those 9 times should not be counted as failures until u r not ready to learn from them. This means next time u r not going to repeat those mistakes again and your number of failure is much lesser than in the first case. so over a period of time, if you keep learning from your attempted failures, your mistakes reduces drastically. It also helps others to not attempt those mistakes which you already done. So in a way other people, who follow you or associated with you, also get benefitted from you. In the same way you can also learn from their failures.

    So lizard brain is nothing extraordinarily bad, many people have it. In fact many successful personalities have the same issues earlier in their life. The bad part is that if you don’t learn from your failures and keep repeating the same mistakes, but tough on execution.

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