The Resistance and the Lizard brain

I have been thinking about this story over the last couple of days. But I wasn't feeling very confident about what to write about. As I finish “Linchpin” and I start organizing the structure of the interviews, I wanted to write more, I wanted to do more and not just sit and wait to finish the book and get the interview plan ready. And this is what the Resistance and the Lizard brain are about. My Lizard brain would tell me to wait. Sit down and do nothing. What are you going to write about? Who would want to read and care about the content? But through reading Linchpin, I am learning to shut up the lizard brain and to fight and beat the resistance.

When you type “Lizard brain” in Google, the first non-sponsored result says “Lizard brain refers to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear”. And according to Seth Godin in Linchpin, it is the more developed and strongest part of our brain which will always try to triumph over the other parts of the brain such as the neocortex, a set of layers of the cerebral cortex involved in higher-ordered brain functions such as sensory perception, cognition, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning and language. This part of the brain is weaker and it requires work and effort to make it prevail over the lizard brain.

Since I really enjoy the topic and reading about it, I have also watched two TED talks, one recommended by Seth Godin and the second one by my coach. The first one which has over 20 million views in the TED platform is from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat. Pray. Love”. You can find her talk under “Your elusive creative genius” It is totally worth the 20 minutes. The second talk is from David Kelley and it can be found under the headline “How to build your creative confidence”. In a nutshell, both talks talk about overcoming resistance, shutting up the lizard brain and trusting your work, your passion and desire to get something done. Done is the engine for more.

This past week, I have been thinking a lot about the lizard brain and the resistance. I have seen it in several occasions. I have seen it in people’s conversations, where it is much easier to talk about superficial things and gossip instead of deep feelings and more productive topics. I have seen it in me, when I don't feel confident about what I am doing or about sharing this idea of the blog with more people due to fear about who knows what… I have seen it in practicing Golf, when I do a great shot and for the next one, the lizard brain jumps in and put pressure and fear on me to make that second shot as good as the previous one or even better. I have seen it at work, when people are not willing to take risks and feel their role is to follow rules and manuals, I see it again and again when I look at people that don't have confidence in themselves, that they don't believe they can do something to positively impact others, that are trapped in the comfort of their own unhappiness.

But the most important thing I have learnt this week by looking at me and at others is that when you are aware of the existence of the Lizard brain and the resistance, you can beat them. And what I love is that when you know them, you can also help others beat them. It is not easy, it is there all the time, but it is possible and it is worth the effort.

I would like to end with something that Elizabeth Gilbert inspired on me. There is one thing I am sure about myself. I want to show up every day. I want to show up and do more. I want to show up and try. I want to show up and make sure I have done everything I could to be a better person, a better husband, a better father and a better artist in my path to achieve my dreams.

Now, it is time to ship this second story…


Business and Marketing leader. Starting a journey to inspire others through writing. Passionate about the "Linchpin" concept.

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Gustavo Pisani

Business and Marketing leader. Starting a journey to inspire others through writing. Passionate about the "Linchpin" concept.