#11 The Monkey Mind

The poo-flinging monkey behind the wheel

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Nic Peterson

I refer to the "monkey mind" a lot.

More specifically, I warn you to be aware of the tricks your monkey mind will play on you if you let it. What is the monkey mind and how do you know what to look for?

I'm too lazy to type it out again, but this is copied and pasted from the August 2020 issue of The Letter:

Monkeys like gifts. In fact, there are a ton of studies that show if you give a group of monkeys each a banana they celebrate widely and their dopamine centers light up like a Christmas Tree. Here’s the interesting part: if you give a group of monkeys two bananas each and then take one away they are pissed.

They scream, throw fits and fling poo all over the place.

In either scenario the outcome is the same: the monkeys have one more banana than when they started.  In the first scenario a free banana makes them happy. In the second, they are angry, even though they are +1 total bananas. 

How often are we more focused on what we’ve lost than what we have gained or what we are already fortunate to have?

How many disadvantages do we incur by misframing our own problems?

That part of you that has a hard time zooming out and keeping perspective... You know the one that is certain that its moment-to-moment feelings make a good representation of reality? That's your monkey mind.

It will make sense of things quickly, it has a warped sense of reality and it will misframe many of the things that happen to you. Guess who incurs all the disadvantages?

You do.

The monkey mind is the dim light in Three Levels of Light, it's the Human Mindset in Dr. Jeff Spencer's Human Mentalities, and the impulsive System 1 in Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.*

The monkey mind, whether you call it a dim light, the human mindset, or the impulsive system 1 is so dangerous because it tricks you into believing that you can see things clearly, that you know exactly what to do, and has a high level of certainty that it's the best thing to do in that very moment.

The monkey mind never goes away.

It will fight for control of the wheel at all hours of the day. It's hard-wired into us. We must develop the habit of slowing down, gaining sobriety, and overriding the monkey mind, especially in moments of extreme fear or euphoria.

Most people are flinging poo when they should be celebrating and celebrating when they should be questioning what's going on.

Those are people that have given up control to the monkey mind. Watching them is like being able to see into the matrix, except instead of seeing numbers and symbols, I just see monkeys flinging shit at each other.

Don't be those people. Study the resources above.*

If you want a step-by-step plan/curriculum to have the best chance of silencing the monkey mind, I did my best to lay the foundation in the Guardian Academy foundations, which you can get for free here.

Onward.

Nic

PS. The alternative is to join the CCA, which is basically the world's cheapest and most effective brain transplant. We open a new cohort in March, spots are limited.

#monkey