Beyond the new relationship – What happens when things get quieter?

New Developments to look forward to “1”

It’s been a couple of years since I felt that I had successfully reengineered my relationship with my Monkey. The changes have been significant and remain effective to this day.

However, the process has begun to give me more than ‘just’ a quieter head or an internal team that work together on the same goals and outcomes, and I suspect it’s worth sharing.

As some of you know, when your head gets quieter, when you sit with your Monkey looking at internal and external stuff it’s like the mist clears.

Him and I both see causative relations and patterns that we have not noticed before. Perhaps it was the noise or the emotion that used to keep all this hidden but as me and him have sat watching, we now see other things that are worthy of our consideration as a pair.

Just a quick note my Monkey is a him, Vanessa’s Monkey is a her –  please translate my ‘him’ into whatever is right for you.

Things that help us understand why we are the way we are and perhaps more importantly, what my job as leader is.

Some of you may have come across Fred Harteis. He ran a multi million dollar network marketing group, one thing he kept saying to his team was “You are the driver of the dozer”.

Imagine you, your body and all that we think of as you, are a bull dozer. Someone has to drive. If not it careers about following lines of easy resistance or smashing down things that don’t need to be smashed down.

There is no apparent rhyme or reason to the movement of a driverless bull dozer.

His point was that someone has to drive if you want it to achieve something less random.


New stuff

So what are these other things we now see that might be worth us as leader taking more into account than maybe we did before?

The first set to write about ( I see a number of post new relationship what to expect posts) is something to do with questions we began to consider regarding what caused my Monkey to talk to me about a given subject or to take a stance on a particular subject.

Why in the past would he bring up that house, that car or a specific old memory at this specific time?

If you’ve followed the program and completed the exercises you will understand sometimes an isolated monkey just has to …………   NOW!!

As we become partners, they are more able and more likely to tailor, what they say and do to our needs.

This works in terms of both their chosen content and their chosen timing.

You will be getting the same changes as you complete the challenge and it makes sense that our partner, the Monkey,  uses our agreed futures (think exercise 12) to make better choices.

Ok so we know all that now but where does their content come from?

Do we see the monkey really as the source of all this content they bring to our attention?

Or are they just reporting what the rest of their world ‘thinks’  ( says / communicates in some way).

Perhaps we see them more like a ‘librarian’ who access to all our records, experiences, memories and learning.?

Perhaps we may also now realise that they seem to have access to other sources, things ‘we’ can’t or don’t have the history to ‘know’ about or even ‘of’?

The point is the Monkey has access to stuff that can help us live our best life.

Stuff we may not be able to access easily on our own.

There was not a one day moment when I began to realise the idea of librarian or even safety deposit box was not the right metaphor.

As your head space gets quieter we see more of what is really going on.

My monkey is not just a librarian, he is a researcher and he is also subject to approaches or ‘petitions’ from interested parties.

In future posts I’ll talk more about the researcher

You know how it works – frame your problem or query as a good question, ask your Monkey to find a solution and watch what happens next.

If you do this enough it becomes clear that many of these new answers  use content or ideas we didn’t really have in our experience before  asking the question – think Crick and Watson, Thomas Edison, Dick Sutphen

all fascinating but not for today.

Today I want to cover how far I have moved in my understanding with regard to my Monkey being ‘petitioned’.

In our quest to use labelling to rise above internal or external distraction I find it becoming very useful:

The human brain – Basic ‘evolution’

What do we know?

It’s evolved over time. As it evolved we have developed what Psychologists call more ‘advanced capability’.

From an original urge to move away from discomfort (heat cold pain of some sort)

We have moved on to understand that:

Some stimuli although uncomfortable are not dangerous

Some stimuli are dangerous and we need two act quickly – our trusted fight or flight reactions

We are not slaves to this anymore.

We can consciously get into cold water or remain in an uncomfortable position without running away or hitting any one.

How do we this?


The short answer seems to be their is a well honed hierarchy where ‘older’ or [perhaps what we might rudely call ‘more primitive” mechanisms are overridden by thoughts from different, newer brain developments, bits we might describe as more ‘modern’,  ‘advanced’ or even more ‘superior’.


If we jump forward a few thousand years we now know that at some point later in our development process we have developed and now ‘enjoy’ the benefits of cortex activity.

I am sorry there;’s a number of speech marks or parentheses creeping in here….

We now have a capability that in some circumstances allows us to override some of the lower functions.

Some people (like Wim Hoff) would say far more than we currently accept.

Although many scientists and Psychologists seem to act and think as though we know all about stuff –  I go with Bill Bryson and work on the basis that 50 years on we see we were wrong  and as an extension – any one who is certain is probably wrong.

This doesn’t mean that simple half truths cannot help us –

That interesting book Fast and Slow thinking is based on what we all recognise as what goes on inside our head space – the debate that occurs between different parts of our internal processing system.

So we can use what we know to start playing with a few ideas if they help us pragmatically in our experience of a lovely life. part of which is understanding what goes on inside a human in such a way that lets us understand what is going on and in the worlds of

help us have the power understand what to change (if anything at all – and the strength / method to change it if we want to.

Different evolutional brain stages – so what?

Seeing clearly from a distanced perspective allows us to see what is going on more clearly. If you do this with your Monkey a lot you begin to suspect that at moments of stress the ‘voices’ of different parts of our brain have more impact, more voice than under ‘normal’ or less stressful circumstances.

Most of us living in what we call a civilised world recognise the red mist and the urge to fight or the sick discomfort in the gut that means we want only to run away or go to sleep and escape. The proven reactions of older parts of the brain are not to be denied and after all is said and done in praise of the ‘higher functions’ they have kept us alive as a species when we were immersed in nature and our struggle for a place on earth .

In modern world we usually manage to ignore this input and modify it with alternate behaviours that are more ‘acceptable’. The survive behaviours are out of fashion and we use more of those that help us thrive in the world we find ourselves in today.

Many of these still link to a common need to fit in or belong which underpins most of what we have learnt over millennia about survival.

Ask an antelope –  theres more chance of not being eaten by a lion in the middle of a big herd.

Thrive behaviours may cause us more stress or even disruption to our health and happiness if its prolonged override of a ‘core’ survival system,

We all know this because we feel or experience the inputs even when we don’t act on them and yet almost definition those striving for success must operate outside the comfort zone away from the herd. Like a Jonathan Livingstone

This idea has let us enjoy books like The Courage to be Disliked its a big thing almost as big as accepting we are not right or that we need help.

As we build space with an onside Monkey, once the noise clears a little and we can see patterns more clearly as our partnership gets going, it seems we can look not only at the nature of the thought but at the root of the thought – where it came from and a short step from there begin to examine its original purpose.

Maybe it’s me?

I have begun to see patterns between the different stages of my brain evolution and the nature and make up of the internal thought streams clamour.

I feel now that many of the underlying ‘arguments’ or conflicts that go on are between what seem to be the inputs from different brain stages which were previously fielded and then presented to me by my Monkey.


This is new providing

  • Root causes I could not see before.
  • Labels I could not use before.

It seems that my Monkey has known all along.  Part of his previous role was to sort between these inputs and prepare a thought or ‘proposal’  for me to consider.

I say this quickly but you may remember those stages of relationship between us and our Monkey that we spelt out in the book. Not all of us go through all of them but they help us see what’s going on and let us know we are not alone.

Just knowing we all have a monkey without a partnership we all have interesting issues to sort out and we are not alone, the only pone or sadly, special ( in this way) – helps.

I can now notice how far I have moved from my original situation, considering originally that my thoughts were mine or actually me.

Of course we could say they are mine if its my primitive brain or my cortex but that is to forget I am the driver of the dozer I am not the engine the clutch the fuel tank or the tyres – I may use their input via any gauges I have but all or any parts of the dozer is not me.

To know now that these thoughts are suggestions from a concerned friend that require me as driver to make choices, decisions or ignore them is a game changer.

Monkey Role – more thoughts

My Monkey works to sort the inputs from these internal brain sources to give me a precis and or recommendation to use in my decision process.

It makes even more sense now that I appreciate he has been like a night club bouncer, helping to sort the internal inputs out before passing some on to me.

His choice based on what he thinks we are doing or in the past we should have been doing….

I now think that he was continually approached to represent this or that view, more like a court official in a small kingdom, deciding which petition could go forward for the ruler’s attention.

And, how even when he had done this, others could continue to petition or make better arguments causing him to change his mind and have to return to the ruler and  reverse what he had recommended before.

I did not consciously understand the nature and complexity of his role or these urges or thought sources before.

Given that some have long felt themselves accurately to be key to our survival as a species let alone an individual its likely they have a degree of confidence or belief that is tough to dent.

I find it a new useful addition to our labelling armoury.

Next Steps


Theres some work in the land or our NLP friends that some call parts therapy

There are a lot of parallels here and if there’s some interest ‘Ill put some more out about that


Perhaps that’s enough for now?


If you have moved to the point where you have more space to safely watch internal thought currents all the way back to their sources thats a huge jump it was for me!

Try holding  on to the idea of a link between thoughts, urges, gut feels and the ideas we have on brain development path – with different parts of our brain system perhaps including the Gut and the Heart as a potential source for some of these conflicting thoughts.

It makes sense as most parts of our brain stem however old, still remain active.

They controlled us in the past and unfettered, are likely to continue to do what they do to keep us safe.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll  capture some ideas on the types of thoughts that seem too emanate from these different brain parts.

I have found there to be some links which can help us to label persistent demanding or destructive thinking and as usual:

Labelling enables us to detach ourselves from the situation more easily and effectively.


In Sales Academy we came across many examples of the internal conflict and resultant stress that conflicted thought streams and subsequent action choices could cause. It can help with a more peaceful experience by  helping us to understand more about sources of thought streams. Where they come from, why they are there and how we can peacefully choose to run with them or ignore them today.

As one sales manager said to us on a coaching course “It’s hard to remember the rules for good coaching when you just want to shake the living shit out of someone”.

  • Understanding it’s a primitive input helps in the short term, we can distance and see it what is happening in the context of sources.
  • Understanding it’s a primitive input that still needs release or honouring helps long term. The sales manager concerned used a boxing class twice a week to satisfy some of the urges he could not use to inform his every day behaviour if he wanted to succeed at work.

It’s also worth remembering our role is to ignore, to choose or to decide and,   if we don’t do this actively we are not the one who is driving the Dozer.

For a discussion on who drives what take a look at Joe’s Cliff

It’s all about Authors stories and who is writing yours

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