Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lizard Brain

In my mind there has always been one thing holding me back from doing great work, one thing preventing me from doing work that matters, one thing that prevents me from starting a new business venture or applying for a new job.  That one thing has plagued me practically my whole life.  What is it?

Author Seth Godin and I call it the Lizard Brain

What exactly is this monster?

Dinosaurs had a lizard brain.  Their brains told them to:
Be selfish
Figure out how they are gonna eat.
To run and hide from predators.
To stay safe and comfortable.
All animals, chickens, squirrels have a lizard brain.  Including humans.  It's the oldest part of our brain.

95% of teenagers are controlled by the lizard brain.

What are characteristics of the Lizard Brain?

It’s invisible

It’s insidious… it will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.

Lizard Brain is always full of B.S.

Lizard Brain is Impersonal

Lizard Brain never sleeps

Lizard Brain is universal – we all have it, it never goes away

Lizard Brain plays for keeps

The Lizard Brain Says:

They are gonna laugh at me.
I’m too tired to go for a run today.
Nobody else is doing it.
It hurts to run hard – its not worth the pain
I’m not good enough.
I'm not smart enough.
The teacher has it in for me.
I’m too busy.
The list of excuses is long.
The lizard brain loves excuses.

As we get closer to competition or commitment the louder the lizard brain gets, and before you know it, its screaming at the top of its lungs!  What happens is we listen to the lizard brain,… and hit the repeat button  - then we don’t do the work, we won't ask the hot girl out, we don't raise our hand, we lay low in the background.  And we sabotage our goals and never take a chance on success.

Following the crowd makes the lizard brain happy because then you don’t stand out… you don’t rock the boat and everything stays the same… and when you listen to the lizard brain you become a “pretender”.  You aren’t your true self.   

What if you quieted the lizard brain, what if you took a chance?  What if you decided that discipline was worth it?  What if you didn't care if you failed?  What would be the worse thing that could happen if you did fail?  

What happens if you do nothing?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

This week I've noticed a lot of great dads.  Maybe I'm paying attention more because it's the week of Father's day.  I've seen dads playing with their young kids at the park.  I've seen numerous kids skipping behind their father while he walks into the store with a big smile on their face - it's a look that says, "I'm with my Dad and he is cool!"  These dads aren't your stereotypical dads.  

At St. John the Baptist school and Park Elementary we host an "All Pro Dad's Day" breakfast before school starts.  I look out into the crowd and all I see are excellent fathers who are real men.  Men who know that their greatest job is raising their children right and spending time with their kids.  Every child who attends that breakfast with dad is searing a special bond into their memory.  And dad knows it.

These dads aren't your stereotypical dads.  T.V. tells us that the stereotypical dad is a beer chugging, sports loving man whose 11 year old kid is smarter than him.  They are weak men that orbit the family.  They aren't the central figure of the family.  Society is critical of the role of fathers at home.  When it comes to parenting, you'll be hard pressed to find a story strictly related to dear old dad unless we're talking about fathers who abandon their children.  Men are at the low end of the totem pole.

Men observe these stereotypes and kind of absorb them through osmosis.  We apologize simply because of our existence.  Our kids see these stereotypes on television and in the media and assume that they are true.   Dads are sort of shrinking in the background.

This strikes a nerve with me.  Because that stereotype is the opposite of how I see myself as a father and all of the great fathers that I see around me.  

In the book, "Strong Father's Strong Daughters" author Dr. Meg Meeker explains that the 
Data shows that if you have a strong, engaged, morally centric man, there is a rock solid correlation to a confident strong successful daughter.  

As important as the data shows, it wasn't until she said the following that truly made me realize my impact as a father, "Every women takes one man to her grave.  And that's her dad.  No matter how old she is.  Even when she is 70 years old and her dad is 90.  There is a huge part of her that is her dad.  A dad has an authority in her daughter's eyes with a capital A.  It just is that way, and nobody else will ever replace that.  She is her dad's daughter always.  In a way a father's impact and effect on their daughter as they grow into adulthood is as great and profound as ever, because daughters are still shaping themselves - Who am I as a mother, who am I as a wife, how do I make this work?  They look to their father throughout their life, so the teaching goes on and on and on.   Every daughter wants more from their father." 

It's an incredibly special bond that a daughter always wants to have with their dad.

I listen to the way my own mother talks about her dad, and easily see that what Dr. Meeker says is true.   

I look at my own father with a strong fondness and thank God that I had a father who showed me the value of hard work, to be patient, the importance of humor, and the effect that confidence plays in your life.   Growing up, my father was larger than life and all I wanted was to hang out and play with him.  I still remember growing up on the millpond having my dad teach me how to play catch and throw.  Those days are etched into my memory.  Thank you dad!  

So on this Fathers day, I'd like to thank all of the great fathers and wish them a Happy Father's Day!