The marketing team went a bit over the top with the book’s subtitle “The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness” but I wanted to read it because its author, Dr Steve Peters, is credited with improving the performance of cyclists Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy and is the resident psychiatrist for the Sky Pro Cycling team.
His approach of distinguishing between your human brain and your chimp brain is enlightening, and I think has much to offer to pretty much any reader. Whether you are an elite athlete aiming for gold in an Olympic or world championship event, an extreme amateur, or someone like me who is scrabbling around for any hints and tips to get my mind in a place to finish my next challenge, the concept is simple.
And the more I read, the more I think there is something of value for every reader, including advisers and business owners who face their own challenges and want to understand why they react as they do and how to achieve more in whatever they do.
Your human brain uses logical thinking to act on facts and established truth. Your chimp brain interprets the same information with feelings and impressions and responds in an emotional way. The chimp responds before the human, and is a more powerful driver in our thinking and decision-making.
You cannot get rid of the chimp as it lies within all of us and is in fact very necessary for a balanced approach to life, as long as it does not go wild.
Much depends on understanding this, recognising it and training yourself to deal differently with the chimp.
It is all too easy to dismiss this book and its little chimp pictures as childish and trivial, but read it before you do so.
The more I read about, for example, how individuals respond to change (the RDR), the better way to make finely balanced decisions between two complex choices (making recommendations), how to cope with threats to your business (economic and regulatory), responding to criticisms (complaints, Fos and the FCA) and the source of ethical behaviour (why is it so hard to do the right thing), the more I see ways in which this model could help businessmen and women as much as sportsmen and women. Something to order in for the Easter break, I think.
Gill Cardy is network development director of ValidPath