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Leave Your Lizard Brain Behind

AMYGDALA (uh mig’ dull uh) Code name: “The Lizard Brain.” This little almond nugget, that sits on top of our brain stem, is the location where the perception of ourselves and others is built. Here, emotional learning and affective behavior (e.g. fear, anger) compel our given actions.

You’re probably wondering, just what the heck this “Lizard Brain” has to do with the life of an entrepreneur? Well, just about everything! I was introduced to it in this great book Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky, the founder and CEO of Behance (a leading platform for creative professionals). Belsky describes a lecture Seth Godin (yes that one) gave discussing how this tiny little organ keeps 97% of the population from the completion of projects and the realization of our goals. Our amygdala (don’t ask me to pronounce this by the way) is what keeps us fearful. Fearful of the acceptance of our ideas, change and new challenges. It sabotages our confidence and compels us to play it safe. Then what do we do? We end up perpetually second guessing ourselves and remain stagnant in the pursuit of our ambitions.

“what creative people need, is to quiet down that lizard brain.”- Seth Godin

Biological tendencies are tough to conquer sometimes. We all probably have one or two things we just can’t seem to stop doing. However, being fearful is not one of them. Fear is invariably conquerable. The truth of the situation is; most of the obstacles to our success are self-inflicted. We worry about acceptance, looming failure or public ridicule. Let me tell you, as a person who definitely has experienced my fair share of disappointment, the last thing that matters is what other people think! Sure we all have occasional missteps, but it is the very acceptance of risk, and failure for that matter, that empowers us to achieve.

The next time you’re feeling your confidence shaken, or that annoying tinge of fear; embrace your intellect, your creativity and your passion. Shut that lizard up. After all you can’t hit a homerun if you don’t swing.

“the motivation for me, was them telling me what I could not be” -Pharrell Williams

All my best,

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Jay Kubassek


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  • Increasing awareness about the dreaded Lizard Brain will go a long way to understanding how to deal with it. It will never really go away completely, but at least it can be tamed. BTW, I created an animation based on this. Fell free to share. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAoFPIHBu6U

  • If I had a penny for each time I came to jaykubassek.com… Superb read!

  • Hah I am actually the first comment to this amazing post?!?

  • You’ve done it once again! Amazing article!

  • If only more people could read about this!

  • You have done it again. Incredible read.

  • This is such a great article, it motivates me a lot.

  • I am amazed with what I learned about our similarities. Great article

  • By convincing yourself I have better marketing skills or more time available than you have you are talking yourself away from success. Your focus should be on you and if you look at me and what I’ve done (a former soccer player who has no more knowledge than your average guy) all you do is waste any positive energy you might have had by focusing on the impossibility of it all..