As an NLP Practitioner, I often marvel at the amazing powers of the brain, but did you know that it has only evolved by 10 per cent in the past 50,000 years.
According to evolutionary psychologists, most of your brain is still very much living in the past.
While 10% of you is equipped to deal with the modern world and its trappings, 90% of you is scouting round the cave, seeing off perceived predators and on a quest to capture the largest share of the hairy mammoth stock.
What most of us fail to realise is that we are ruled by a survival-based brain that is hopelessly out-of-date, which is why we are subject to fear, stick to familiarity and don't take risks. We develop phobias and aversions as our brain tries to over-protect us. We're evolutionarily immature.
It is also why we dismiss things we don't understand, don't 'accept' things like personal development and don't see the value in emotional intelligence.
We are naturally sceptical when it comes to things we don't understand, because it's a shortcut for our brain to take. Unfamiliar? Not easily processed? Leave it alone – it might be an enemy.
Neither your brain nor your body is equipped to deal with modern life – obesity shows that our bodies have not evolved enough to process the modern diet coupled with a lack of exercise, and it doesn't help that your brain is programmed to want more of everything. Yep, it's survival again.
It is difficult to counter what has been hardwired into us for thousands of years, but awareness is the first step into liberating yourself from the limitations of your caveman brain.
Being mindful of the brain's functions can help us to step back from what it's telling us and objectively look at a new subject in an open and less prejudiced way.
It is pretty tricky to do this without practice, as our gut will often kick in based on past false encodings. But practising mindfulness can help you to detach yourself from judgements and learn when your gut is right and where it's way off track.
Apparently, singular traits take 25 generations to change naturally, so maybe it will be a little while yet until NLP and positive psychology gets taken as seriously it deserves to be. But the good news is, because psychologists know of the caveman brain and its challenges, there are some cool tricks you can use to help you learn faster, which you can read on my other website here.
Meanwhile, if you're a forward-thinking sort, and you'd like to boost your business' efficiency or your personal skills, drop me a line. I'm a workshop facilitator and trainer as well as a coach.
by Beth Burgess, Therapist and author of The Recovery Formula, The Happy Addict, and What Is Self-Esteem?