Overcoming the Primitive Brain

This episode is inspired by a man named Mark Bowden and his book Tame The Primitive Brain. You can check out Marks website here.

Mark breaks down the brain into three main parts:

  1. The Brain Step (the reptilian brain) – This part of the brain is 500 million years old and is responsible for our basic bodily functions, our fight or flight response and our general survival.
  2. The Limbic Brain (the social brain) – This is the part of our brain that makes us adept at living in tribes and having a ‘social life’. Having a tribe was for a long time a core necessity for security and survival.
  3. Neo Cortex (new brain) – This part of our brain is able to have incredibly creative, use mathematics, understand language, and do high level problem solving,

How our brain responds to stress and anxiety

It’s fascinating to learn that when under stress the body pulls blood, energy and oxygen from the upper levels of the brain and into the lower levels. In essence this almost shuts off our Neo Cortex and tends to default us into using our primitive brain.

As an example if you are in a state of anxiousness and get upset at an individual, you might revert to your primitive brain and respond with a fight or flight response. Sound familiar? We all do this to some degree in our personal and professional lives.

So how can you overcome the primitive brain?

When trying to overcome your more primal responses, it’s important to know what triggers you to drop into the primitive parts of your brain. These parts of our brain exist to serve us when we are in danger. But in todays world can be triggered by perceived danger, even when no real danger is present.

So step 1 is to start become self aware of what triggers you. You may also consider warning others close to you of your typical triggers so that you can work together on better communication.

The biggest skill in this area in my opinion is to remember that you always have a choice to act or to react – most people live in a reactionary state.

How does this relate to Network Marketing professionals?

Have you ever felt anxious or stressed when you think about approaching someone with your products or business opportunity? Why do you get anxious about simply approaching people? There is no real danger. Ever if you get totally rejected!

However the perceived danger that often comes up when we approach circumstances in which we could be rejected is that we might be rejected by the greater tribe. At the same time your limbic brain tells you that you NEED to be accepted by the tribe in order to survive in such a dangerous world!

Fear of public speaking is another common example. Many people say they would rather die than speak in front of a large audience and really that is just a response of their primitive brain. Their primitive brain has a huge fear of being rejected by ‘the tribe’.

The truth is that rejection doesn’t mean you’re going to die. Always ask yourself “what is the worst that could happen?” and you’ll realize rejection isn’t that bad at all. It just means that person isn’t interested in what you’re offering in that moment at that time… 

Understanding the 4 categories we default people to

Throughout our everyday life our brain tends to put people into 4 main categories as it scans our surroundings for potential danger and potential benefits.

  1. Friend category
  2. Predator
  3. Potential Sexual partner
  4. Indifference

You will default the vast majority of people into the indifference category.

Just as a test to make sure this theory is true, ask yourself at the end of the day “how many new people do I remember from today?
Most people only remember 1 or maybe 2 new people. The rest they defaulted to the indifference category!

Now if you’re a network marketer, developing new relationships and friendships is a priceless skill! I call network marketing pros professional friend finders!

You want to have a large and growing number of connections aka a huge tribe. =)

So how do you get people to put YOU in the friend category?

Well it’s pretty simple really. You should engage in normal friend behavior with them.

  • Agree with them.
  • Compliment them
  • Choose to find them funny
  • Simply be FRIENDly

Your goal as a network marketing pro should be to build connections with people and then in some future interaction, ask them if they are open to taking a look at what you have to offer or what you do. Many will say yes, many will say no, but either way you’ll have more connections, relationships and friendships.

Let me know in a comment below what you think about this concept, =)


PS If you liked this mindset episode, you’ll love this free audio training. It’s a must if you’re looking to go pro in the network marketing profession: