Posts

The inner chimp

What happened to Rory McIlroy? Day 1, destruction +8, Day 2, brilliance -6, how can that be?

Yesterday, I was out golfing for the first time in nearly 2 years. It was a lot of fun. I wasn’t expecting too much – and that was exactly what happened! But I got to thinking about the challenges of what goes on in our thoughts, that directly affect our actions.

In The Chimp Paradox, Dr. Steve Peters illustrates the neuroscience behind the complex inner workings of the brain. According to Peters, we all have three parts to our brains. One being an “inner Chimp,” playing havoc with our rational thoughts and our emotional reactions, in a wrestling match over dominance when under pressure. Our inner Chimp is impulsive, it can impair our actions with self doubt & fear, chattering away in our heads with unwanted thoughts creating inner turmoil and potentially overwhelming the rational brain. When the Chimp is allowed to rule our thinking by having lots of fun, we can self-destruct. Day 1 perhaps? Rory talked about “pressure” with The Open being back in N. Ireland – at the same time holding the course record at Portrush since he was 16 years old.

Overnight – control returns.

Day 2 – The two other parts of the brain, namely the “human” and “computer” kick in and take control. In the human arena, the rational, compassionate and humane Rory resurface, he smiles and jokes with the crowd. Memory banks for reference filled with all sorts of automatic strokes of success kick in, as the computer is switched on again. Rory’s back, but sadly its not quite enough.

How do your thoughts affect your actions?