What Makes You AFRAID to Take Chances? Your “Reptile Brain”!!

OK, let me back up a second — I’m NOT trying to say YOU have a “reptile brain.” I’m saying, scientists have figured out that human brains are limited by FEAR, the same way it is for other animals. And they call this idea, “reptile brain.”

 

lizard brain

 

What does that mean? Basically, it means, our INSTINCTS and FEAR can limit us.

Animals are limited by their instincts. (Even my beautiful bobcats!!) And to some extent, humans are too, because our brains are wired to keep us “safe,” and avoid scary situations. When you want to do something scary and your brain tries to paralyze you…that’s EVOLUTION at work.

Because, your brain being all fearful was helpful back in the cavepeople days, so you could survive. “Don’t chase that mammoth all by yourself!”

But nowadays, your brain being programmed and wired to fear is not very helpful. Like when I go out on stage, and feel that “fight or flight” anxiety in the pit of my stomach…It’s like, brain, you’re not helping!

So, what’s the the secret to “retraining” or “reprogramming” your brain to stop FEARING so much?

 

Dark haired little child with glasses holding a brain with angry face, negative sign showing dislike with thumbs down, rejection concept

 

(By the way, I have more hacks for getting motivated and “hacking” your brain, in my blog post, “Do You Have “Excusism”? Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Changes!“)

PUSHING past the fear, and doing LOTS of things you’re scared of, until it’s your new normal.

Then, your brain will be used to you doing crazy things, and the auto-fear response won’t kick in…

But that’s easier said than done, right?

As Inc.com says, the reason your brain is wired this way is because it’s “convincing you to stay in your comfort zone and do the same thing that has kept you alive this many years…Anything else could mean danger.”

 

 

So HOW do you combat your primitive reptile brain that says, “Stay safe. Don’t take chances!”

Well, I found the answer through a TED talk by motivational speaker Mel Robbins. She talks about how YOUR BRAIN is wired to produce visualizations of fear and hesitation to keep you “realistic” and avoid negative consequences/emotions.

What’s Mel’s LIFE-CHANGING tip…?

You have to be FASTER than your brain!!

She calls this concept “The Five-Second Rule.” (You know, when people say it’s safe to pick up food off the floor and eat it, within 5 seconds. For that, I would say, please be careful, because bacteria is everywhere, and it doesn’t take 5 seconds to reach your food. Anyway…)

You need to, in the words of Shia Labeouf, “JUST DO IT!!” and physically move your body within 5 seconds, because according to Mel, after 5 seconds your brain will start to come up with excuses.

 

So, whether you’re having trouble getting up in the morning…or you’re wanting to try cliff jumping or skydiving…Obviously your “reptile brain”/instincts are going to shout, “NO! NO!!

The trick is to beat the negative self-talk, and the visions of what could go wrong, by not giving your brain time to think. Let’s say it’s skydiving. Before you can tell yourself, “NO!” Sign up online. Before you have 5 seconds to talk yourself out of it, jump in your car. When you get there, hurry and walk into the building. Don’t hesitate. Don’t give your brain the TIME to freak out.

Now, I know this might not work every time, and that “reptile brain” is always going to try and scare you…but sometimes, the answer is NOT to trust your instincts. You just act, RIGHT NOW! I DARE YOU!

 

 

I know, for me, that’s the only way I can get from backstage to front and center, and confront that crowd. Thanks Mel!! (And, thanks, Shia! 😉 )

 

 

About the Author Melissa McAllister

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