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  • Writer's pictureMo Reynolds

Me v. My Brain

If you haven't seen this Pixar short yet. . . I'll wait. It's worth it.

I spent some time tonight thinking about how we use the word "hard" about things that we want to accomplish but doing so feels impossible. Hard is the word that gets slapped on to that experience. What does "hard" mean? I think I"ve avoided lots of things because of their hardness factor.

Hard, perhaps, is a definition of how quickly something might crumble or dissolve--how well it can take a hit. In that case, don't I want hard sometimes? Don't I want to create something that lasts, endures, takes some knocks and stays on its feet?

So, what is the hard that makes us shy away in fear?

I blame lizard brain.

Lizard Brain is that primal part of our brain that is designed to maintain status quo and preserve life and core temperature. Chasing tigers might be exciting, but it is a quick way to die.

Lizard Brain says: "Let's not."

Climbing that mountain could be super cool. It could also cause blisters, oxygen deprivation, and death.

Lizard Brain: "Nope. Down here is nice and safe. Here, have some ice cream."

All change has risks and our reptilian brain stem senses that, shifting into protective mode when necessary. "Stay safe," it says. "Stay still. . . just stay."

But, I am more than my brain stem.

I am arms.

I am legs.

I am heart.

I am soul.

My arms want to hold a plank without trembling.

My legs want to run a marathon.

My heart wants to love and beat with courage and vitality.

My soul wants to unite my body and spirit in joy and growth.

So that means my brain and me need to have a little talk:

Me: "Lizard Brain, I know you just want to keep me safe. You're afraid. I get it. But there are no tigers here. It's just me. .moving a little, trying a little, growing a little, changing a little. No need to shut down. We can do this. BUT, you keep doing what you do. If my kid ever gets trapped under a car or something---I'll need you little buddy. That's where you'll shine.

Me and you, Lizard Brain. We've got this."

See, that wasn't so hard after all.

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