This is Part 3 in a Series about using permaculture design principles to train your “lizard-brain” – a name I’ve used to refer to the regions of your brain that are responsible for keeping you safe and comfortable.[i]
In Parts 1 and 2 of this Series we met the lizard in your brain, found out how it’s responsible for behaviors like procrastination and avoidance, and began to explore the idea of re-casting its role in your life, from foe to friend.
Here in Part 3, we’ll explore a common form of procrastination—being sidetracked by distractions—and see how you can “design your distractions” so that instead of leading you astray, they lead you in the direction you want to go.
LIZARDS HAVE SIMPLE PRIORITIES
The lizard brain’s priorities are very simple. It reacts to whatever seems most compelling in any given moment, moving you away from threatening or uncomfortable things, and toward safe, comfortable things.
In other words, humans are easily distracted from tasks that are important and valid, but that feel difficult or uncomfortable, because there is a lizard on the control panel who is obsessed with comfort and wants immediate short-term gratification.
What about that good old saying, “No pain, no gain?”
Well, that saying doesn’t work for lizards.
It’s true that with enough will power and motivation you can wrest the controls away from the lizard and stay focused on your goals for short periods of time.
But your lizard brain is waiting to catch your rational brain napping ii. When it does, it will seize its chance to immerse you in some comfort – and then you’re going to “wake up” a short time later, wondering how you got from …
‘I REFUSE to be distracted by those cookies one more time,’to the bottom of the empty cookie jar.
What can we do to work with this, rather than fighting it?