Train that Chimp!

This week has been interesting and busy – the highlight being the full day Time Management training session with the Salvation Army Housing Association in Manchester. I have already presented the Mental Resilience workshop to this excellent management group and they equally enjoyed this Time Management course.

Utilising good time management techniques I stayed in a nearby hotel overnight and this gave me the time the following morning to have my early morning 1.5 hours of quiet time reading motivational books and visualising all the things I want to achieve over the next 20 years. This is the mental equivalent of a morning run for the body and I highly recommend this to improve your performance during the day. This routine puts me in a great place to start each day and helps me stay positive and energised all day long.

The Time Management training was great fun with excellent interaction and group work resulting in a further booking for another workshop in April. All things were going really well until I left the building and headed for the motorway to make my way home to Nottingham.

I’ve found that the best and quickest route from Manchester to Nottingham is via the M6 through Stoke then Nottingham avoiding all the usual heavy traffic. So I was in a great mood as I headed out to the M6. That was until I saw a motorway sign mentioning long delays on the M6 between junctions 20 and 18. I didn’t have a clue where these junctions were in relation to my journey and as I was only on the M6 for a few miles before coming off I hoped that the delay was further down the M6.

To my dismay as I hit the M6 I saw red tail lights and standing traffic in front of me. Luckily for me there was a slip road ahead to come off so I did. I headed back into Manchester and by the time I was near the city centre my Sat Nav was telling me that it was now 2.5 hours to Nottingham and I had already been driving for an hour! This meant that the normal 2 hour journey was now going to take at least 3.5 hours!

To add to the situation it now started to snow and the traffic was slowing down. My sat nav kept re-routing me and eventually indicated a shorter route which I accepted. I wasn’t aware as I took this shorter route that I was heading to Buxton in the Peak District which is the second highest town in England. This wasn’t good as the snow was falling and freezing. The traffic was reducing as people weren’t taking this dangerous route and the narrow roads were covered in snow and the traffic speed was reduced to 20 miles an hour.

To be honest it got a bit scary but luckily for me it stopped snowing and we slowly progressed. It was touch and go whether we would get stuck going up the hills but somehow we made it through. I was relieved until the sat nav took me via Matlock which again was over the Peak District and in the middle of nowhere. At times I was the only car for miles and it felt very lonely. Eventually I made it through to lower ground and got home after a challenging 4 hour journey.

The fascinating thing for me was to observe my Inner Chimp (emotions) to see how I was coping with the frustration of this journey. It pleased me to note that not once did I get angry or annoyed or say (like I used to) ‘what are the chances of that lorry shedding its load of Red Bull on the M6 to cause me all this misery!’  This is what happened here which I heard on the radio.This is because I have trained my Chimp to be ready for the unexpected and not react angrily. I have worked on developing an ‘auto pilot’ which says bad things happen each day and here it is. This settles the Chimp and so I don’t lose my temper any more.

This is worth working on and I recommend you try it. I used to lose my temper for lots of little things like the computer freezing up, being cut up in traffic, getting stuck in a long shopping queue with the one next to me flowing quickly to name a few – now I don’t. I accept these things as something which will happen and just get on with it.

The average person according to a recent survey loses their temper after being stuck in traffic for 13 minutes so I did pretty well considering the 2 hour journey took 4 hours and I enjoyed virtually all the journey except the snowy bits!

Tip for the day.

Work on your mind in the morning to get you in a positive state and train your Inner Chimp to expect things to go wrong so it doesn’t go crazy when bad things happen. More on this in my new book out in September.

Work on that mindset.


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