Frequently Asked Questions
Why or how is this different from other ‘monkey’ or ‘mind control’ techniques?
The short answer is that this approach uses a new belief that your Monkey can and will help you if you learn how to work with them. Most methods of dealing with Monkeys offer tools and techniques to ‘manage’,’ tame’ or ‘control’ the Monkey. This is a combative approach and, in our view, largely unnecessary.
We recognise the opportunity the Monkey presents as a hard-working, knowledgeable, and powerful asset and we offer tools and techniques to set them free on their true path to help us in our endeavours, situation by situation, and moment by moment. Our tools and techniques help you establish a win-win partnership that combines your Monkey’s energies with yours for a more effective you.
Think of it as a more permanent repair – fixing the leak in the boat once rather than resigning yourself to a life of continually bailing out water. Both options keep you afloat but the first gives you a far better quality of life.
What has the Misaligned Monkey got to do with Meditation and Mindfulness?
Most people seem to agree that the biggest obstacle to a successful practice is interruption and distraction caused by an internal flow of thoughts. The chattering Monkey is said to be the architect of this flow and a prerequisite of successful practice is the space to just be and observe. Most methods of addressing the Monkey disturbances involve subduing, controlling or ignoring most of which don’t seem to work well or permanently. The Misaligned Monkey offers another approach. a new way of creating the peace and space to explore your Meditation practice and enjoy your mindfulness. An Aligned Monkey who understands what your are doing and why you are doing it does not need to be controlled or ignored, they will simply support and aid your decision to practice.
Some people have told me not to engage with my Monkey Is this engagement?
One thing we learnt in our work with sales people is that all engagement is not equal. You know this is true with people and teams. If some one starts talking to you about how you need to ‘behave differently’ it can all get very messy very quickly. This is even more likely if you get involved in the detail of what they are saying. If, on the other hand, you engage at the level of why they are saying it, the conversation and the end results are completely different. You can often find that the most aggressive, ill mannered people are just trying to help you and that they are just a bit clumsy or unaware of what you are all about.
We do not advocate engaging with your Monkey about any detail however we have found making sure both you and your Monkey are clear at the levels of purpose, intention or outcome works well. It is a completely different activity to simply engaging in what the Monkey throws at you. We operates the leader rather than the victim and this eliminates the dangers of getting lost in the detail that a normal level engagement would incur. It also avoids the ongoing swamp of more thoughts that occurs when or if you engage with the Monkey as a detail level.
Understanding why your Monkey does what it does, understanding how they think it will help you leads to better results and the the more your Monkey knows what you are doing what you want and that your are serious about it, then the more the relationship becomes simple, easy and effective
On a final note:
Most traditional teaching suggests not to engage with the thoughts (the Monkey) during meditation practice. This makes perfect sense as any involvement or engagement means we are distracted, no longer practicing and our awareness of what we seek in the moment has gone. The Misaligned Monkey sets up the relationship at the level of purpose, intention an outcome before your start to meditate.
The subsequent changes in the activity of your Monkey within your meditation practice is one indicator of how well your relationship has become aligned.
How are my Monkey and I doing?
We have a Monkey Relationship Survey that gives you an idea of how things are currently. It asks you to score your current relationship against 42 statements and gives you a final score that lets you get an idea of how your relationship with your Monkey stacks up now. It’s a great place to start and particularly valuable to use to plot any trends as you work together to change the relationship for the better.
What Is the Monkey?
The Monkey is that voice in your head. The one that disturbs you, breaks your concentration or focus, and lures your attention away to something else. They might be voicing negative ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ comments or doubts, anxieties, and guilt. They interrupt most of us at the wrong time with a message we don’t understand too well.
We could spend ages working out why they do what they do or we could work out how to get the best from them. If you don’t yet know what we’re talking about, click here to meet yours.
Surely my problem is I just can’t concentrate?
We don’t think this is true. If you get side tracked, distracted, or have too many choices to consider and can’t make up your mind easily, we think it’s due to the relationship you have with your Monkey. It’s likely that you both have different ideas about who you are, who you should be, and what you should do or try to achieve. This leads to procrastination and difficulty with focus.
In addition, poor communication hinders your relationship with your Monkey and it’s highly likely you both have a bad history together with hurt and issues on both sides.
This means you expect more of what you currently get and so, guess what?
That’s what you get…
Concentrating harder on your tasks or trying to ignore your Monkey is not enough to fix your issues.
In fact trying harder using old methods seems to encourage our Monkeys to greater efforts to distract and interupt.
See what your monkey thinks about all this here What does your Monkey think?
Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?
The idea that we must ignore the Monkey at all costs has been accepted for thousands of years, back when meditation techniques and traditions were starting to develop.
This long-accepted idea of the Monkey as a problem creates a group think mentality that enforces the status quo. Perhaps it’s a bit like the story of the Emperors New Clothes where no one wants to point out the obvious if it runs the risk of them appearing stupid.
The other issue is that treating our Monkey as a problem is a self-fulfilling prophecy and results in our experience of the Monkey as a problem, thus reinforcing this commonly-held view of them. Our behaviour causes them to behave like this, perpetuating the myth that Monkeys have no value.
It is difficult to come up with new thoughts and ideas about the Monkey when the group think around a long-accepted truth leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. We think this is why a new idea of the Monkey as a resource who can help us make the best of our lives has not surfaced and endured as a viable alternative.
We’ve used the ideas generated from our own work on relationships in businesses all over the world. These ideas have shown us that even the most difficult relationships can be improved. Our findings caused us to wonder at the relationship with the Monkey and propose a new approach to create a better relationship with our Monkeys.
Can I do it ?
Like many things, whether it’s running a mile in less than four minutes or swimming the English Channel, once this is seen as a possibility more people can and will do it.
There’s a lot of good content here on the site and the book provides a great way to understand and test the ideas and methods. The Misaligned Monkey
To get the job done in three months The challenge gives you a more structured implementation that takes you step by step with enhanced exercises. Read more about the Challenge here
Can I work with you ?
Maybe. We are interested in talking to yoga teachers or mediation / mindfulness teachers and coaching professionals who would be interested in helping us develop a Misaligned Monkey out reach programme. There are no fixed ideas yet but we imagine a supported challenge / teaching session approach with 15 or so people at a time. We think a 12 week start up and then an ongoing weekly or monthly session involving some Q n A and a guided session at view point three would work for practitioners and attendees.
You will take the challenge as part of any assessment process.
You should be able to conduct one to one and group sessions in an atmosphere and environment which encourages challenge and debate, positivity and support.
Who Benefits from a better relationship with their Monkey?
Anyone who gets distracted from what they want to do now or struggles to achieve their goals.
Whether you are:
- a distracted meditator seeking silence free from distraction
- someone who can’t concentrate on their goals
- someone who just can’t do the right things regularly enough to get the job done
- someone who procrastinates
- someone who can’t decide what they want or how to go about getting it
- someone who suffers from ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ thinking
- someone who’s head is full of unwanted or unhelpful thoughts
Whatever the problem, sorting out your relationship with your Monkey will make a huge difference to almost every facet of your life.
What’s it like for the Monkey?
Think about it for a moment from your Monkey’s viewpoint:
Imagine how you would feel if you were trying to help a friend and they treated you as a distraction or a chattering fool? Think about how you would feel if you kept getting it wrong despite your desire to help and especially if your friend never took the time to explain what they needed from you?
How do you think you would behave if you thought you knew something that would make your best friend’s life a hundred times better and they refused to listen or were unable to understand you?
How much worse would you feel if you felt appointed to look after or even save your friend from themselves and you felt they were making mistake after mistake?
- Would you nag?
- Would you remind them of the key issues as you see them?
- Would you warn of future issues?
- Would you give options and alternatives?
- Would you raise your concerns?
If this had been going on for longer than you could remember, how resentful of the whole situation would you be if you were that little voice trying to help someone like you?
Contrast these behaviours with what would happen to that relationship if everything was different:
- Imagine you started being treated as someone who wanted to help.
- Imagine you started being treated as someone who could actually help.
- Imagine being listened to respectfully.
- Imagine being allowed to express your worries, fears and ideas.
- Imagine being given the time to talk.
- Imagine really understanding each other.
- Imagine sharing the same agreed-upon goal.
- Imagine being thanked for your contribution.
- Imagine having the same view of what was really going on.
Think about your Monkey’s feelings now and think about the difference in the results you both would get if you worked with them in a partnership. Can you imagine what it’s like for your Monkey now? Take the Relationship survey if you haven’y yet and see where your relationship scores now. Take the challenge if you think its worth changing this. You can find it here
I’m anxious and worry about lots of things. Will working better with my Monkey help me?
The anxious thoughts you hear in your head are your Monkey trying to help you. Helping the Monkey understand how to help you in terms of content, style, and timing makes a quick and huge difference. You can read ore about this on the site and in our book, The Misaligned Monkey.
Establishing and sharing who you are, what your real capabilities are and what you want your life to be like will transform the substance and nature off your internal dialogue. A shared clarity and focus on what you want to be, to have or to do is a great first step. Determining these essentials allows your monkey to understand what you are doing and really help. It also helps you understand how your Monkey’s input is helpful. Working together to set out a plan that will deliver the life you want makes a huge difference to the noise level and to the content of these thoughts. A quick way to set this up is to take the challenge.
I procrastinate all the time delaying decisions, and actions; how will this help me?
Procrastination often happens when we can’t decide what is best. Left alone to their own devices, our Monkey’s sense of fair play means they present us with both sides of any argument or decision or choice. They do this to give us the best information on which to move forward. In practise, for many of us this conflicting information confuses us and often stops us dead in our tracks or, even worse, scares us off.
Our confusion leaves us unable to decide what to do and can lead to a cycle of procrastination and inaction. Breaking this cycle together with your Monkey allows you to make decisions and choices more easily. Deciding and choosing results in more timely and effective action. Yes, fixing the Monkey relationship directly alters any problem with procrastination.
I’ve read the book where can I get more help to get the exercises done?
Check out our Challenge its designed for busy people who want to find an easier implementation.
What do you mean by ‘Model of the World’ or ‘Personal Paradigm’?
There’s a post here that will help you
What do you mean by six dimensions of success?
Theres a post here that will help
What’s the relationship between a model of the world and Monkeys?
The first consideration here is that an effective model of the world covers what you think about the voice in your head. It tells you the best things you can do to make the most of it, to give you the best chance of having the life you really want. In our experience, most models are built slowly an largely unconsciously. Once subject to conscious examination we understand far more about why we do what we do an dhow to change it. One flaw in most models involves inherited ideas or poor past experiences which manifests as a belief that our Monkeys are uncontrollable and of no value. The Misaligned Monkey addresses this critical model element and provides some alternatives that will give you better results.
The second element of this raises the question of how you Monkey knows what is right or wrong what is best for you and how things should be done; one answer is that they are intimately acquainted with your model of the road. Perhaps even better acquainted than you are and they use this to inform their opinions and suggestions and to tailor their help. Its obvious how an out of date or unknown model of the world would cause problems.
What’s the best way to make this work for me?
The short answer is sign up and complete the challenge.
You want have to think We will send you emails at the right time with the exercise links you need when you want them.
There are lots of free helpful and interesting resources on this site.
Reading the book is a great place to start and will help you and your Monkey get the whole picture. It systematically takes you through what you need to do and think about to get the job done. As you read it together it also pave step way for relationship change.
Preview The Misaligned Monkey here.
Purchase The Misaligned Monkey here.
If you have read the book and want some guidance to make it happen quickly or access to more advanced exercises then check out the challenge.
What the Challenge all about?
Some readers have asked for some guidance to follow the steps on the book. We’ve recorded sessions that take you painlessly through the steps outlined in the book. Taking advantage of being able to talk with you we’ve upgraded and extended the exercises taking you sequentially through the steps required to reengineer your relationship with your Monkey and to set up an ongoing practice to keep things going as you want them. The mechanics of the challenge involve a structured timetable, help and advice on making it happen, weekly emails with all the links you need to the Audio sessions. The audio provides 7 hours of guided help to achieve the objectives of each exercise along the way. In addition you are encouraged to take the relationship survey each week to enable you to see your progress.Use the discount coupon in your book to get 10% of the challenge price.
Find the challenge here
Yes you can find it here and comprehensive terms and conditions here