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Tame the Primitive Brain: 28 Ways in 28 Days to Manage the Most Impulsive Behaviors at Work by Mark Bowden

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Day 1

Shared Instincts

No One Taught You to Breathe

There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.

—Malcolm Gladwell

Today you’ll tame:

  • Your automatic response
The following is a completely true story that someone once told me about his worst presentation experience—ever. After working all morning—skipping breakfast and lunch—to fully prepare to give his first pitch to the senior leadership team, a new vice president of marketing triumphantly clicked onto his final PowerPoint slide. He dramatically pronounced the end of the presentation with the obligatory prompt: “Any questions?”
No response came, bolstering his confidence that he had given the audience every bit of information that they needed. He flipped the lights back on. The boardroom flooded with light. But to say that the reaction of the senior team was disappointing would have been an understatement.
Instead of the applause he had been counting on, all that could be heard was the embarrassingly loud snoring of the CEO—who was fast asleep at the head of the table.
Awkward—and true!
But not as awkward as what followed from the VP who had presented: His face turned bright red, just before he violently hurled his laser-pointer across the boardroom and stormed out, shouting obscenities.
Luckily, the CEO wasn’t awake for any of that, either.
I’ll return to this story at the end of the chapter.

There are some things to which you react immediately, without thinking. You have a knee-jerk ...

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