Tuesday 25 October 2016

Are you with the chimps or the champs?

The difference between winning and losing can be tiny, but Padraig O Ceidigh says there's a way to get over the line

Padraig O Ceidigh

Published 05/04/2015 | 02:30

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's a believer in the chimp paradox
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's a believer in the chimp paradox

World-class elite athletes often say that the difference between winning and losing is in the top six inches. I had the great pleasure in mentoring a few of those Irish athletes over a long number of years and I have been struck by the focus they give to being "in the right frame of mind" and of continuous improvement.

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This attracted me in the first place to Professor Steve Peters, and his book The Chimp Paradox.

In it he shares his hugely successful mind management program. This is the same program he uses to help elite athletes, business people and others to understand how their mind works in decision making and then, to "rewire" their brain into making far more effective decisions.

Professor Peters has worked with many world-class athletes. In fact Sir Chris Hoy is quoted as saying that "without Steve I don't think I would have brought home triple gold from Beijing".

He also worked with Ronnie O'Sullivan, the English national soccer team, Liverpool FC, the list goes on.

You may remember a recent interview with Padraig Harrington on the Late Late Show where Padraig mentioned The Chimp Paradox as being instrumental in helping him get into the right mind set in winning the Honda Classic a few weeks earlier.

The Chimp Model provides a simple model for how the brain works by focusing on three distinct parts. We are introduced to the 'human part' of the brain. This is the part of the brain that is associated with logical thinking and works with facts and the proof of concepts.

Another key part of the brain he calls 'the chimp' and this part constantly reacts to what it sees. It works on feelings and impressions it filters from the world around it, and makes immediate and often impulsive decisions. The chimp is in control when you make a decision to eat that extra slice of cake - even though you may be on a diet.

As you can see, the chimp can be in conflict with the human part of the brain. You therefore need to learn how to manage your chimp rather than control it.

There is also what he calls the 'computer part' of the brain. This is the storage area for ingrained thoughts and beliefs. It is very difficult to change those thoughts and habits that have been ingrained over many years, even some from before you were born.

So, I decided to invite Glenn Mead who is an associate of Professor Peters, to lead a workshop based on the Chimp Paradox next Friday, April 10 in NUIG Business School. This is a very powerful system of understanding your own and others' minds.

This helps you decide on how you will react to a given situation in sport, business and in life. In my opinion, this is a tool that can significantly increase your enjoyment of life as well as being a catalyst to creating whatever success means to you.

Sunday Indo Business

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