There are 3 types of brains we human beings use. In the order of primitive to advanced thinking, they are the Reptile Brain, Monkey Brain and Empire Builder Brain. Each of the more primitive brains undermines the more advanced ones. For instance, If your Reptile Brain is engaged, you cannot live in your Monkey Brain or Empire Builder Brain. If your Monkey Brain is engaged, your Empire Builder Brain is not functioning. The Reptile Brain only believes what it can see and touch. If you have no money in your pocket and old food in your cabinets, the Reptile Brain is stressed out…no matter how much you might have in your bank account. It is the brain that keeps you awake at night with your mind running in circles thinking about problems that you cannot solve at 3am. Until the Reptile Brain can see and touch the solution, it does not recognize that it exists. Your brain goes round and round with the same repetitive thoughts about things you cannot control at the moment and it keeps you in a constant cycle of being stressed out. However, the Reptile Brain does help in some ways. If a battalion of sword-wielding ninjas repelled through your ceiling, intent on killing you, it is your Reptile Brain that would save you. Fight or flight…thank you Reptile Brain! In the life of an entrepenuer, the Reptile Brain is not good. Until you can close the door on that reptile’s habitat and keep it slumbering on its heat rock, it will keep you from achieving anything greater than running in circles and getting little accomplished other than high blood pressure. So, how do you fix the problem? You give that brain something to feel and touch. You undermine its stressful, worrisome demeanor by fooling it into thinking everything is fine. Carry cash, shop regularly for fresh food, fill your tank when it is half empty…keep tangible evidence of provision everywhere. Even if your bank account is almost empty, that cash in your pocket will keep your Reptile Brain at bay, allowing you to rise to the more advances levels of thinking, such as the Monkey Brain. The Monkey Brain wants comfort, entertainment and fun. It loves routine and gorges itself on drama. This is the brain that most people spend their entire lives either living within or pursuing the next moment when they can. The monkey wants to wake up and check Facebook for the latest drama, click on the news and shake it head in dismay, eat its favorite breakfast every day, drive the same way to work, keep things predictable all day long, then return home to gossip with the wife and put its feet up in front of the television. Our entire culture is modeled around cultivating and catering to Monkey Brains. Our culture knows that most people shuffle through their lives slightly glassy-eyed and emersed in a world of low aspirations that says “keep things predictable and entertain me!” For goodness sake, we cannot even stand at the gas pump for 3 minutes these days without a TV screen chattering away at us while we squeeze the pump! I recently walked into a public bathroom with a little LCD screen mounted over the faucet. It was lit up with funny ads and movie reviews looping over and over. Sometimes I feel like there is an army of monkeys chasing me everywhere I go! How do you deal with these drama-seeking primates? You teach yourself to be comfortable with change, you remove drama from your life and limit entertainment to brief, intentional moments of respit. Take a different route when you leave the driveway, dramatically change your look each day, eat at new places and order things you’ve never tried, shut off the news, put down the magazine, turn off the radio and refuse to participate in gossip. Be intentional about the limited times you schedule for entertainment or social networking. Most of all, become a thinker. Become so comfortable living within your thoughts that the chatter of the radio or the drama of the television becomes an annoyance. You’ll find that your mind is far more intriguing…and your friends will wonder how you can achieve so much in your life! They complain about having no time or resources to do the things you can do! They think you are an anomoly! In reality, they are running a race surrounded by a pack of screaming monkeys, whereas you are in full stride, ahead of the pack, running at full speed and employing your Empire Builder Brain. The Empire Builder Brain is responsible for every great thing anyone has ever accomplished. It is where you create, discover, invent and problem solve. It is the genesis point of your most advanced thinking. As an entrepenuer, this is where you want to live your life. I have deliberately chosen to surround myself with people who think this way so naturally that they cannot do otherwise. Have you ever walked into a room and socialized with a dozen people, but at the end of the evening, there is one person who’s sharp thinking, laser focused ideas and intense gaze captivated your interest? This is an empire builder. This is person who comfortably lives within their own creative mind without tethers to reptiles or monkeys. Every other conversation that evening seemed shallow by comparison. You walked away remembering the words of the empire builder while vaguely aware of what was said with other people. The empire builder gave you things to think about that could change your perspective on the world. Everyone else gave you fluff of little consequence that will have very little impact on your life at all. This type of thinking is a discipline. It does not happen without cultivating a lifestyle free from the Reptile Brain and Monkey Brain. It becomes very natural to someone who has practiced, but practice it requires…tons and tons of practice. It is an exciting way to live. Instead of being in a fog of vicarious living through the stories of other people, you are fully engaged in regards to your own life and the excitement you are uniquely cultivating each day. I have found great empowerment in this concept. Keep the reptile under his heat lamp. Keep the monkeys sniffing their own poop. Let the empire builder determine your days. It is how you were designed to function and how you will accomplish your greatest achievements!
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