Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fighting the Lizard Brain


One of my favourite Internet people is Seth Godin. I follow his blog faithfully, am a member of his Domino Project and have bought more than one of his books. Without those steady years of brainwashing, I doubt I would ever have started this blog. Phrases like "Don't wait to be picked - do the work" have pushed me out of my passive stance and into doing something - anything - not waiting to be picked. Although, of course, I am waiting to be picked. Waiting to be read, noticed, picked up by somebody who matters more than I do in the Internet world.

One of the concepts that appeals to me in Seth's writing is the Lizard Brain. It's that part of our brain that is the Resistance. that is afraid of change, of doing anything new. It makes us want to sink back into our comfortable rut and read Facebook instead of thinking, writing, doing whatever it is that we think we should be doing to be picked, to stand out, to make art or something else that is worthwhile (although aren't all things that are worthwhile art, in some form or another?).

So here I am, I've written a few blog posts. My dear friends and family who love me and actually care what I have to say have read and a few have even commented. I've put it out there on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn (with much trepidation!). It's even been picked up by the Manitoba Educators Daily, much to my surprise. I'm going to assume that it is because it is summer and Andy had no real news to put in there. Or is that the Lizard Brain talking?

My first reaction when I saw that my blog had been picked up in this little Twitter newsletter was fear. Oh no, now I'm going to be read and judged by people who aren't my nearest and dearest ... well, I'm going to hope that they are all at the lake anyway. Or do I really hope that?

I have no doubt that my writing will improve with time and practice, and that there is no reason to assume that people outside my inner circle are going to dislike it even before then. But why do I immediately cut myself down? When I read people's summaries on LinkedIn they are all excellent, experienced, they know everything there is to know about this business. Does the Lizard Brain not whisper in their inner ear? Or are they shouting to drown it out?

I know the Lizard Brain talks to you, too. What do you do to make it shut up?


  1. I say, "Shut up, lizard brain. If you're good, I'll feed you a whole rat race. If you act like one of the rats, I'll turn you into a nice pair of shoes."

  2. Hee hee....felt the same way when Science News picked up my blog post on why I didn't have a mammogram but it passes.

  3. Thanks for the comments! fulltimetumbleweed, I followed the link to your blog but it wasn't there. Why did you decide not to have a mammogram?

  4. I highly recommend a book by Steven Pressfield called "The War of Art." In one way or another, it's all about this, and it's a very slim volume.

  5. Thanks, Rebecca! I've heard about it, need to get on getting it. He's a friend of Seth Godin's, and that's good enough for me ;-).

  6. Oh, I know why I'd heard of him! Downloaded his latest book "Do the Work" from the Domino Project, and it was instrumental in my starting this blog ;-).

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