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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 IV

New You

Higher Planes

The mind is like a parachute—it works only when it’s open.

—Frank Zappa

The newest, most recently developed and evolved part of your brain makes up about 2 percent of your total body weight but uses the vast majority of the 20 percent of your body’s energy that goes into entire brain function—enough to power a light bulb. It is this newest part of your brain that you use for voluntary movement, forward thinking, logic, imagination, creativity, abstraction, problem solving, language, Sudoku, and a bunch of other time-consuming but totally cool activities.

This part of the brain is, however, a costly piece of equipment to carry around with you, especially when you are in a stressful situation and would like to lighten your load. Just reading this page will cost your body a quarter of your lung capacity for oxygen. (Let’s hope it finds it worth the expense!) No wonder the primitive brain wants to shut down critical thinking capacity when the body is under stress. The intelligent and imaginative mind is a force to be reckoned with, but what with the cost of running it we often use it less frequently than we would like.

Keeping “your head when all about you are losing theirs,” as Rudyard Kipling suggested, is an expensive proposition. You can, however, optimize your ability to keep a wise head on your shoulders under stress by mindfully creating and constructing an environment within which you, as well as those with whom you work, are better able to think ...

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