Some have said that the measure of civilization is how well we can suppress our instincts.
Meaning that we humans are still animals with millions of years of evolution programmed into us. Anytime our species has picked up skills along our long evolutionary past, they old ones aren’t replaced by the new ones.
The new ones are layered on top of the old ones. Brain scientists tell us we’ve got three brains, of varying complexity. The most primal is the reptilian brain, and then on top of that is the mammalian brain, and then the most recent addition, the neo-cortex, is responsible for all of our rational thought, and hence pretty much everything we’d refer to as our “civilized” self.
When you’re suddenly presented with a life threatening situation, and the “fight or flight” mechanism kicks in, that’s your reptilian brain taking over.
Whenever you feel those warm emotional fuzzies, either from a sexually attractive person to a potential pile of cash, that’s your mammalian brain kicking in.
Whenever you can stop, take a step back and look at the big picture objectively and rationally, that’s that neo-cortex taking control.
Needless to say, the neo-cortex is easy to overpower by the mammalian or reptilian brain.
In the moment at least.
But when you consistently use your neo-cortex to imagine a bright and powerful future for yourself, you’ll start to change those things that your two “lower” brains respond to on a regular basis.
Meaning that instead of being hostage to pre-programmed desires and fears, your neo-cortex can slowly but surely override your evolutionary programming, so you can live a much fuller, and richer life.
What can really help is having the ability to “reframe” things “in the moment,” so you’ll have much more choice of how you can define anything that comes up.
Meaning when other people see problems, fear, and lack, you can look at the same thing and see opportunity, prosperity, and solutions.