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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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Week II

Relationships

Who Made This Mess?

Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.

—William Gibson

I like both country and western music. For someone obsessed with understanding human behavior, nothing drags relationships through the dirt more effectively than country music. It’s chock full of cheatin’, achy-breaky hearts, gunpowder and lead; and not just in love but at work, as well, whether it’s “sticking with it” and dealing with the bossman 9 to 5, or packing bags and walking off down the railroad tracks, sick of work—the boss such a jerk—and not caring about getting fired.

There is an interesting evolutionary theory that proposes there’s a benefit to exploring the potential prizes and punishments for our actions by listening to the lyrics of songs like these. Doing so allows us to experience the emotions and outcomes they provoke, but within the safety of our imagination, before we decide whether or not to try them out for real—a bit like this book, but with the added bonus of listening to Dolly Parton or Kenny Chesney.

Given how heated relationships can become, and the primitive impulses they can produce, you can understand how useful it would be to be able to work out some of the problems of your relationships before you commit to solving them by “wastin’ bullets.”

So before you blame your problems at work on your own lying, cheating, cold, dead-beating, two-timing, double-dealing, ...

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