Is Your Reptilian Brain Threatening Your Long-Term Success?
This week I had conversations with two people who are at very different points in their businesses yet facing similar dilemmas. One person is several years into the establishment of two complementary businesses. One is a full-time employee hoping to become an entrepreneur within two years. In both cases, they are struggling with limited resources—namely time and energy. And in both cases, the temptation to make big changes to their long-term dreams is being fueled by the desire to escape relief from short-term struggles.
Have you ever made the mistake of giving up what you want MOST for what you want NOW?
An extra hour of sleep and an extra glass of wine mean a missed workout and a few extra calories. No big deal, right? True, until the doctor reminds you your long-term health is declining.
And who DOESN’T know the couple who moved in together much more quickly than was prudent because one of them lost a job or an apartment?
What about hiring someone who is cheap and quick to fix something when you really should’ve gotten a few estimates, paid a little more, and waited a little longer to make sure the job was done right and the repair would last? Nah, you’d never make that mistake, would you?
That reptilian brain of ours drives us to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. But as thinking, sophisticated human beings, we know sometimes it’s wiser to be a little uncomfortable NOW so we can have greater payoff LATER. If you’re older than 25, then your brain is 100% developed, which means your executive functioning, reward center, and understanding of consequences are all there in the frontal lobe, pushing you to do grownup things.
That’s why I took the time to chat with those two colleagues and ask them a tough question: Are you making a decision about your long-term goals based on your short-term challenges?
No surprise—in both cases, the answer was OOPS! Oops, as in, “Oops, I almost did exactly that. Thanks for reminding me not to give up what I want most for what I want right now.”
Are you facing immediate financial troubles, health problems, life transitions, relationship struggles, staffing issues, competitive threats, or depression, anxiety, or stress that make it feel IMPOSSIBLE to keep your eye on the prize? Are you making decisions that alleviate the pain short-term without considering the long-term ramifications?
Don’t let the reptilian brain win. Remember what you want MOST and drive toward it every day. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, so keep fighting!