The Chimp Paradox Featured


Professor Steve Peters worked with the already successful British cycling teams. His methods are credited as being a major part of the reason for the multiple gold medals won.

The example with professional cycling is worth exploring. The people Steve worked with were already good at their sport and dedicated - but they werent always winning. There was often something holding the cyclists back from achieving their potential. 

By using his knowledge of brain function and sports psychology Steve explained how the popular misconception of a single "mind" that controls us is wrong. Modern brain science backs up our own knowledge that a number of different parts of the brain work together to make us do things. He simplifies this in what he calls the Chimp paradox:

  • The "chimp brain" controls emotions - strong but not intelligent
  • The "human brain" is based on logic and planning - but is slower
  • An "automatic pilot" which is usually in charge when we don't think

What Steve showed was that the reason we often don't achieve our expectations is conflicts between these three main ideas and importantly he worked out how to train the three parts to work together and thus raise achievement.

The same ideas apply at school. Being motivated often isn't enough, you need to control that Chimp!


A better explanation?


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