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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 III

Tribe

Stakes in the Ground

To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.

—Michael Jordan

People: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them!

Day in, day out, we continually swing back and forth between wanting to be on our own and be with others.

Some of us seem only able to function outside of a social group—the reclusive quiet types, outliers, rebels or sociopaths. Others of us need to be right in the thick of the group—the leaders, hangers-on, welcome participants.

Ayn Rand, the controversial and politically influential novelist, playwright, and Objectivist philosopher, emphasized relying on what actually exists, rather than on our feelings, in attempting to define our world. She wrote in her book Philosophy: Who Needs It? about the selfish nature of people: “Some are lone wolves (stressing that species’ most predatory characteristics). . . rejected by the tribe (or by the people of their immediate environment); they are too unreliable to abide by conventional rules, and too crudely manipulative to compete for tribal power.”

This nonconformist, or politically simplistic, way of surviving can lead us to drift from group to group, displaying what can look like a selfish need to cling to people and manipulate them.

If we are to work successfully in groups, it is essential that we develop a sense of our “self.” Without the ability ...

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