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The monkey brain does what it does best

If you operate from the purely functional part of your brain, you will live like a monkey. The monkey does all the repetitive tasks, and the reptile provides a variety of peak emotions like anger, sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, sexual arousal and excitement. If you tell the monkey it earns £45,000 a year, it believes that’s all there is. The monkey cannot perceive how life can be any different from the way it is now because no one has told it how. The monkey can only act if it’s shown how to do something and then it can repeat it.

All the monkey wants to do is stay safe and see what the reptile comes up with next as entertainment.

If you’ve ever gotten caught in meaningless repetitive endeavours or felt helpless about how to change your life for the better because you don’t know how, you were caught in monkey mode.

 

The entrepreneur is rarely in charge

The monkey brain is designed to stay focused on tasks while the reptile keeps it entertained from time to time. From a survival standpoint, doing repetitive and familiar tasks that have always paid the bills, kept you fed and a roof over your head makes sense. If you are surviving, your monkey doesn’t want you to rock the boat with a big idea that could destabilise things and make the reptile start attacking everything.

Accessing your inner entrepreneur isn’t as hard as you might think. You first need to convince yourself of three things:

  1. You don’t need anything – you are whole and complete in this moment and your survival is not threatened in any way.
  2. You are not required to perform repetitive and meaningless tasks in order to survive.
  3. You’re here to transform the world for the better, serve others and experience the rewards that come from these inspired acts of service.

 

10 Challenges to Awaken the Entrepreneur Within

Challenge #1 Make three calls

Make three phone calls to see if anyone else is interested in your idea. Not friends, not family, but three people who will either advance the idea forward or tell you why it’s not for them. And see what happens.

Begin something bold without knowing how, exactly, it will work out. You might want to plan an event, start producing a song, talk to an investor, introduce yourself to that person you’ve been admiring. Whatever it is, don’t plan too far ahead, begin it and let it unfold after you’re in too deep. The entrepreneur isn’t scared, but the monkey and the reptile get terrified if they think you’re not able to survive, or if there’s no money for the little luxuries later on in life. If they feel threatened, the reptile and the monkey will do everything they can to hold the entrepreneur back.

Challenge #2 Get your monkey a bank account

Set up a new bank account and put at least 10% of all the money you earn into that account. This ‘monkey account’ helps you to feel OK about taking risks, and will eventually stop you from needing to do boring, familiar tasks. Don’t touch that money; its purpose is nothing more than to become part of ‘your wealth’. This automatic wealth-building plan will be an essential key for keeping the monkey and the reptile off your back.

As you step into the Entrepreneur Revolution, well-meaning people around you will tell you how risky it is to go and do big things like start a business. Having a safe stash of money, that just keeps growing, helps you to reason with your monkey and reptile brain. You need your monkey and reptile brain to feel safe that this money will not be used by the entrepreneur for any ‘risky dreams or schemes’. The money you put aside can never be used for business, spending or risky investments. It’s for boring stuff like cash, property, tracker funds and blue-chip shares.

Challenge #3 Stop sending time with people who bring you down

Start making friends with more people who inspire you. Spend more time having conversations with people who bring out the best in you. Stop hanging around people who drag you down. Make a list of people you currently spend a lot of time with and decide who can stay and who might need to go.

You become just like the people you have regular conversations with. These people determine the dominant ideas you ponder, the opportunities you notice and the resources you can access. Your peer group normalises a level of performance and if you don’t like the results your friends have, you had better consider spending time with people who live the kind of life you aspire to.

Challenge #4 Carry cash

Carry £1000 on you at all times. If £1000 isn’t enough to make you a little bit uncomfortable, carry the amount you’d love to earn in a day.

It’s almost impossible to go ‘reptile mode’ when you have a wad of cash in your possession. The reptile simply won’t register a survival situation unless it’s worried about immediate survival issues. With cash in your pocket, you won’t be worried about your immediate survival. If the reptile is calm, you also won’t be as susceptible to juvenile promises of easy windfalls.

Challenge #5 Every week take someone new to lunch

Take two new people out to lunch each week and pick up the bill. Have no fixed agenda, talk about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s not a sales meeting or a meeting to look for partnership opportunities, it’s just a warm, friendly chat over lunch.

The reptile brain fears people it doesn’t know. It believes that a new person is probably unsafe or untrustworthy. This subconscious belief will hold you back in business, because entrepreneurs have to meet new people all the time. An entrepreneur needs to be able to quickly connect with someone, build trust and find common ground to discuss. Without the ability to talk to strangers, you are limited to a very small pool of opportunities, but when you open up to new people you open up to new resources as well.

Challenge #6 Tune out from the news

Give up on all news. No papers, no radio, no TV, no news websites. Feel free to Google specific stories that relate to what you do, but avoid news as a form of entertainment.

Today we live in a world where the best computer scientists are paid to create news content from around the world and from your friendship groups that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. The power of a digital newsfeed is that there are no ‘stopping cues’. At least an old-fashioned newspaper had a physical stopping point, but digital media can hold your attention indefinitely as you scroll and click endlessly between world events and social gossip. When you tune out from the news, you will probably feel anxious that you’re missing out on something. Quickly you will discover that, if anything does relate to you, someone will tell you about it. After a while, you will be shocked at how much energy you once gave to this thinly veiled form of entertainment.

Challenge #7 Keep a journal

Start a journal. Make lists of high-value tasks, write down your goals, draw pictures, write marketing copy and project your future. Keep track of your thoughts and mark down your milestones. Every entrepreneur needs to explore ideas, plans, goals, targets and keep track of important stories for perspective.

Here are some key things to write down to get you started:

  • What are you most grateful for in your life so far?
  • Who’s been helping you recently whom you haven’t acknowledged?
  • What do you want to achieve in the coming 3 years?
  • What would you do if you had £100k to invest in your business?
  • Who can you take out to lunch this month?
  • What have you noticed since carrying £1000 in your pocket?
  • What problems can you solve for your clients?
  • Where would you like to go on holiday in the next 12 months?

 Challenge #8 Plan your holidays first

Using a yearly planner, schedule in the holidays you want to take. Blank out the time you’ll be taking off in the coming year. Rule out the long weekends you plan on taking off and the mid-week lazy days you want free.

Why is this important? Firstly, it allows your brain to relax about getting some downtime because it knows the holidays are coming. This allows you to get so much done when you are working. It also allows your family and friends to relax about when they will be able to spend some real quality time with you. If your family knows that there is a good two weeks of planned holidays coming soon, they won’t worry so much if you have to be home late or work through a weekend here and there. Next, holidays also give you time to think. The monkey brain takes over whenever you do repetitive tasks that you are familiar with. Going to new places snaps you out of that.

Challenge #9 Get structured

Make an appointment with an accountant and a lawyer to discuss your business and wealth-building plans. Ask them to steer you in the right direction for tax planning, wealth protection and attracting investment.

No one is born with an inbuilt knowledge of how legal and accounting systems operate, so it’s something every ambitious entrepreneur needs to learn. There’s also good reason why you were never taught about tax and structuring in school. The system is more than happy for you to earn money in your personal name, pay the highest possible rate of tax and be completely liable for every risk you encounter, even though both of these liabilities can be legally reduced.

Challenge #10 Get an entrepreneurial team in place

Identify people around you who can help you to implement your ideas and achieve the big goals you have for your future. No matter if you are starting out or you’re already a millionaire, it will be the team you build today that will determine the results you get tomorrow.

If you are starting out, here’s Daniel’s draft pick for who you should be looking for from day one:

  • A graphic designer – someone who can take the vision and create brochures, websites, sales forms, business cards and make a business idea look tangible.
  • A sales person – someone who’s genuine, likeable and can ask that tough question: ‘How would you like to pay for that?’
  • A Swiss army knife – someone who isn’t 100% brilliant in any one thing, but can get most things done well enough. They are organised, flexible, frugal and detail-orientated. They can do data entry if required, customer service calls, order supplies, book flights, fix most IT problems or quickly find someone who can.
  • A technician – someone who’s brilliant at delivering value to your clients in the industry you’re in (e.g. a hairdresser for your hair salon, a software coder for your technology business, a builder for your home renovations business).
  • A mentor – someone outside the business, successful, wise, who’s been around the block and had a few bloody noses, available for late-night chats over a glass of wine. This could also take the form of a mastermind group rather than just one person.

These people could be a mix of full-time staff that you hire, virtual staff paid by the hour, or even people who are helping you out as a favour.

 

Don’t Skip the Tough Challenges

If any of these tasks really challenge you and you feel uncomfortable, they absolutely have to be done. Try to dig deep and look for the underlying beliefs that make it so challenging.

Anything at all that comes up in your mind and stops you from implementing these ideas is worth taking a good look at.

Chances are these limiting beliefs are holding you back in other areas of your life too. You need to lean in, push through the challenges and soon you’ll catch a glimpse of what it’s like living outside the system.

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Kyaw Wai Yan Tun

Hi, I'm Wai Yan. I love designing visuals and writing insightful articles online. I see it as my way of making the world a more beautiful and insightful place.