Routine or Spontaneous? How much slack to give your inner chimp ~CM02

For several years I have visited a place on the coast joined to the main land by a causeway and it has a very high tidal range.

It takes several hours to do justice to the trip and sometimes the tides don’t quite conform to the tide table and to get it wrong you are then sitting on an island for the next 8 or so hours watching a swirling vortex of foam which even the strongest swimmer could not traverse.

So this is a great place to visit but the jewel in the crown, for me,  is crossing to the island. This is not a goal many people share. They are happy with the beautiful surroundings.

Now in the UK we have famously lush green countryside and in some places the damp, the mist, the drizzle and the rain prevail.

So it would be possible to do the crossing in driving rain but that was not in my game plan.

In the past I have studied the tide tables and the weather or work schedule have never all aligned.

Then on a trip to the area several years ago it all happened – great settled weather – and a clear tide window and I had some old trainers in my bag – flip flops were no match for the razor sharp rocks,

So then the question do I finally do this? My human was pondering the question but my chimp had already put the trainers on and was fastening my running belt as there would be no place for a redundant hand holding a water bottle.

There was no reason NOT to do it except being bothered and fear.

If I rationalised an excuse NOT to do it when would the next opportunity be!

So the chimp decided and I went along with him ( I like to think I added something to the process ).

And at the time I didn’t have a model to explain the mismatch in thinking.

The crazy girlfriend or the sensible girlfriend, the falling down character money pit of a house or a tidy utilitarian apartment, the car with the great fuel economy or the one that is so sun to drive. So many decisions in the past and now I can look back with “Chimp vision” and see input from the chimp and human.

bike kid 2013-09-17_121630

Recently while running with a novice I formulated an extended version of the three Fs – fight flight freeze – reflex reaction. In my crazy analogy  “sabre toothed tigers” had evolved to have freezers so the safety of not being last was lost. In my classic scenario you don’t need to be fastest and outrun the tiger you just need to not be last. The logic is that a tiger once they have caught their prey will stop and eat. If they had a fridge freezer perhaps they would be tempted to take more prey while it was nearby.

Anyway shortly afterwards a toddler blasted past the path we we running along riding a mini motorcyle with clouds of exhaust and the noise was incredible. Now freezing – was not an option – fighting is they come back is an option but see as we are running flight is a pretty natural reaction.

So the pre adolescent hell’s angle has gone past and a guy was walking towards us – I didn’t really feel I had a good enough case to say to the guy “crazy motorcyle toddler – turn back” and I am slightly ashamed to admit it was only after the event that my human thought of that option. We were having to do a walk / run strategy to deal with the required distance and the hills but the chimp was in control and said we will run up this hill not walk and put as much distance, and other people,  as quickly as possible between us and the potential threat.
Inspired by this post –

I wish I could write ~TJ88

spell 2013-09-16_201410
This is nothing to do with the journey except that I better appreciate good writing now that I have done some blog posts.
Suiting up copied below is blog a blog I love about a city guy who moves to the country.

Suiting up

What I wanted was a head-to-toe biohazard suit. Unfortunately, I did not have one at hand. So instead I went to the garage and got a pair of garden gloves.

Warning is not for the squeamish but so funny – I think it is anyway


My chimp can’t spell

Now another sub topic – my chimp cannot spell and has a pretty sloppy grasp of grammar and also tends to miss insignificant words out. I have noticed this for the first time after reading the Dr Steve Peters book.I had an inkling that the quality of my literary endeavours varied but I didn’t know why.

My chimp is quicker than I am at creating the thoughts ideas and processing them but he is not so hot on details so in full flow I vast blob of creativity can emerge but I then have to try to fashion it into something that other humans can understand.

Temper tantrum ~TJ85

I admit it – I had a major tantrum this morning. Every day since starting this lifestyle change with Steve I have got up, had a wee and waited for……… no delicate way to put it lol – waste disposal!

After this I strip off and weigh and measure, this is usually an exciting process because mostly the weight is down or stable and the fat mass is down and muscle mass up – as a general trend – not every single day.

This morning, after a great run yesterday, which was followed by a mile and a quarter walk with a walking group, (links below) I did the usual. To my absolute and abject horror I had gained nearly 2 kilos – almost 4 pounds. I went from 0 – ballistic in nanoseconds, there were tears, much foul language and general noise and ranting. I sent poor Steve an e-mail full of depression, anger and hurt.

Some while later I realised that it was the repair crews and nanobots in to fix my muscles after all the damage I did yesterday – whoops. I got an e-mail from Steve telling me so at about the same time that I realised. By this time I had skipped breakfast and lunch in an attempt to fast for 24 hours to shift the weight or water or whatever evil thing had invaded my body.

All this of course relates beautifully to the chimp thing.

When Steve first started to explain the mechanics of diet, exercise, nutrition and brain to me, he told me about the reptilian instinctive brain that controls all the basic stuff and is about survival. I knew of this from before but now for some reason it resonated and I found Lizzie – my inner lizard. She and I chat sometimes about how I want it to be! Well chat is maybe not the right word, it’s more me telling her to do stuff to help me. Sounds daft, but when I am running and I can’t get my breath or the burning starts in the legs I tell her I have to run or we will not survive (then I make up some rubbish about being chased by something), maybe it is the simple act of NOT thinking about the issue that stops it becoming a problem. I don’t care what it is but it works for me.

So, after Lizzie was ‘born’, further explanations followed about how the body tears muscle when exercising and then it all gets repaired, and it is better and stronger after the repairs. Being me I imagined nanobots and lizards doing the work and that is what Steve and I now call it 🙂

I went so far as to have a drawing of calf muscle repairs done to illustrate to Steve what I felt was happening – how I perceived his scientific explanation. I like it as just a picture but it is very symbolic of my journey. I had it done on five squids (link below) by a very talented man called Pixomanic.

How I imagine my muscles being repaired

How I imagine my muscles being repaired

Steve Peters: Been there done that ~TJ81

Dr. Steve Peters – CV type stuff from the web

See also “What the Chimp does NOT say ~TJ77” for description of how Steve works in his own words gatherd fro the web

Steve Peters: Been there done that

1993-2005 Works at Rampton secure hospital as a forensic psychiatrist.

1994 Begins work as a senior clinical lecturer and undergraduate dean at University of Sheffield.

2001 Turns to cycling and befriends Dave Brailsford, now British Cycling performance director. Among first pupils are Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. Goes on to work with GB Olympic cycling team and Team Sky.

2002 Works with police to profile Ian Huntley during investigation of the Soham murders.

2007 Aids England rugby union team as they reach World Cup final.

2011-12 Helps to revive Ronnie O’Sullivan’s career as snooker player wins fourth world title.

October 2012 Handed role with performance team at UK Athletics.

November 2012 Peters branches out to football to work with Liverpool.

Professor Steve Peters has been a vital cog in one of the country’s greatest ever stories of sporting success. A Consultant Psychiatrist working full time in Elite Sport, Steve is resident with the British Cycling Team, Team Sky and within the English Institute of Sport. –

Having initially become involved with British Cycling in 2001, Steve now works with riders, coaches and the staff team, and his contribution is deemed so valuable that Dave Brailsford, the Sky team principal, has described Steve as “the best appointment I’ve ever made.” The voice of reason‟‟ according to Sir Chris Hoy, if you ask Steve to describe himself he uses the words: the mechanic of the mind. Steve has been an unobtrusive yet powerful influence in a recent run of success which included the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a key element in the success of Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.His career began with teaching Mathematics and then moved on to Medicine. With a specialist interest in the working of the human mind and how it can reach optimum performance applied to all walks of life, Steve has worked in the clinical field of Psychiatry for the past twenty years. In addition, Steve has been engaged with Sheffield University as a Senior Clinical Lecturer since 1994 and is also Undergraduate Dean. He holds degrees in Mathematics, Medicine and a Masters degree in Medical Education, also with postgraduate qualifications in Sports Medicine, Education and Psychiatry.Steve is a Psychiatrist, who has worked with some of the country’s most successful sports people including; Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton.

His simple but ground breaking model of how the human brain functions, and particularly how it is DYSFUNCTIONAL, provides a completely new and innovative way of enabling leaders to inspire, motivate and drive their teams to even greater performances, as well as helping individuals understand themselves better and therefore perform at their best.

Through a highly interactive, thought provoking and practical workshop, Steve works with delegates to explore the implications of his model. His calm, credible and engaging approach helps peoples to tap into new techniques and ways of thinking in order to set and achieve strategic goals in the toughest of environments.

Key elements Steve can cover include:

– Understanding the Mind – Basics and Particulars.

– The Model explained – Always two perspectives/interpretations and reactions with any encounter.

– Managing your own “Chimp” and other people’s “Chimps”.

– Teamwork. Leadership, collaboration and inspiration.

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Just do it ~TJ78

Sometimes its good to – just do it – face the fear and do it anyway.

Now here is the question – in Chimp speak – the computer just holds autopilots – the stone of life – gremlins and goblins.

So if you knew doing something was positive but there was a gremlin saying you might fail – make a fool of yourself etc. Is it your human overriding your chimp – via a new autopilot – an amendment to the stone of life – the chimp being irresponsible and untrained – the human being adventurous.

There is the old adage – “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” well its official! (According to one study anyway).

The study concluded that people who have experienced some adversity and hardship in life appear to foster resilience and adapt better to new situations, which subsequently improves their mental health.

So what about the geek solution

  1. add to your stone of life – is the thing I am going to do genuinely life threatening – if so seek guidance and do a risk assessment and perhaps sleep on it and discuss with some of your more sensible friends – DO NOT discuss with adrenaline junkies or those people that DO, as a matter of course, take crazy risks
  2. create an autopilot that says the same thing a bit of redundancy in the system can’t hurt
  3. If there is suspected gremlin or goblin involvement – just noting that there is something going on will reduce their power over you. I believe there are apps being developed to either blank off the effects of goblins – avoid them being triggered – or remove the gremlins. I personally – think that the metaphor i s useful but that if you really cannot remove a goblin (it being hard wired) what you can do is remove any gremlin friends – build up your stock of autopilots and refine them so the goblin even if it remains is well documented and kept on a very short lease in isolation.
  4. If the thing is not actually a real threat what would the consequences of doing it successfully be. How would it feel might it actually mean dust off the stone of life and adding a revision.


Load the image file into the replicator nearest to your cabin
and wear with pride (if replicators are not yet available – imagine
wearing it) Don’t forget in the supermarket, if you keep it on,
you will get strange looks as people won’t understand.

If you do a running event and there are t-shirts and or finishers medals – take a moment to look around and enjoy all the people wearing them, office workers, construction workers, layers, college students, parents, grandparents ALL wearing them with pride. The bigger the event the greater the pride and the collective buzz. The following day almost none of them will be wearing them – a few will wear them when they return to their running clubs as a badge of honour but largely they are forgotten as we fall back into the routine of everyday life. Once in a while it is a useful tool to look at the pictures of the memorabilia and remember you took a calculated risk but that you did YOUR BEST.

Just your best and maybe you learned something along the way – at worst you think I will never do this again – BUT tread carefully before you even think that because, in my experience it is the beginning of the next journey – See paradoxical thinking – in the mind of a chimp near you.