Knowledge Cloud

Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just as grooves in a record, and they never get out of them.’’ Apple PR

“I do not want to discuss evolution in such depth, however, only touch on it from my own perspective: from the moment when I stood on the Serengeti plains holding the fossilised bones of ancient creatures in my hands to the moment when, staring into the eyes of a chimpanzee, I saw thinking, reasoning personality looking back. You may not believe in evolution, and that is all right. How we humans came to be the way we are is far less important than how we should act now to get out of the mess we have made for ourselves.”  Dame Joan Goodall anthropologist famed for her work with chimps

The Chimp Paradox Dr Steve Peters  (2011 Ebury publishing, Random House Group)

Dr Steve Peters is a Consultant Psychiatrist who specialises in optimising the functioning of the mind. He is Undergraduate Dean at  Sheffield University Medical School and the resident psychiatrist with the British Cycling and Sky Pro-cycling. He is credited for much of the success of our current British cycling team.

“The mind program that helped me win my Olympic golds” Sir Chris Hoy. What about that last sprint from 4th to first ! “Badly boxed in with less than 80 metres to go, Hoy sensed the vaguest hint of a gap opening up on his inside and seized it with relish. In a flash he swooped down the banking and lasered through the gap, miraculously avoiding contact with an opponent. “it’s just a reminder that you never say die….you never stop riding because strange things happen”
Sir Chris Hoy Daily Telegraph 9/4/12

This book draws upon his knowledge of the way our brains work and the study of his fellow humans beings, whether ordinary folk or Olympic athletes. He takes apart  the most mysterious organ in the body and gives us glimpses inside. What are we to make of this?

‘The Chimp Paradox’ is so named as he has split the brain into three distinct portions. The ‘Chimp’ brain, the ‘Adult’ brain and the ‘Computer’ brain. There are many books written about the physical, philosophical and  psychiatric nature of our brains and thinking process. The chimp is our nearest living relative. We, Homo sapiens, have evolved over the last 48,000 years also to be ‘I’m only human after all’. We’re fascinated by such films as Planet of the Apes and Avatar. It is as if we, subconsciously, dig into our pre-primeval brain and use these films as a mirror. Our experience of chimps is mainly gained from watching television documentaries or Typhoo tea adverts. The lightning pace of development, from a cup of tea to apple at Cupertino, is both exciting and frightening.

What does Peters mean by this and why is this book a manual for how modern man needs to be thinking in a fast moving ‘Knowledge World’? How do you use these techniques to come from fourth to first and astound all?

He describes this book as one which has ‘helped many people understand themselves and learn how to work with their emotions’. He starts with an oxymoron – ‘the human brain simplified’. He first describes the Chimp brain: an emotional response. The chimp is your emotional side, given to you at birth, and it lives in your limbic system. The human ‘Adult’ brain is how you live, and is in your frontal lobe. Thirdly, the psychological mind is described as a storage area for thoughts and behaviours called the ‘Computer’ which is spread throughout the brain. This is the storage area or memory for reference. We have trouble with our simple lap tops and tv’s, so, that’s easy to deal with then! He describes the two methods of thinking. The ‘human’ brain takes a factual truth,applies logical thinking, and derives a plan of action. The ‘chimp’ brain starts with feelings and impressions, immerses it emotional thinking which results in a plan of action. Each has consequences.

Peters now analyses each of these in turn. The chimp, or emotional thinking brain, includes the following traits: jumps to an opinion, thinks in black-and-white, is paranoid, catastrophic, is irrational, and results in ‘omitted judgements’. Most easily, it jumps to an opinion. Hence, that well-known instruction ‘engage brain before opening mouth’. Like all truisms they are often quoted but seldom acted upon.

The logical,thinking Adult brain is different. It is evidence-based, rational thinking. It is constantly putting life in context with perspective, and understands the different shades of grey to form a balanced judgement.

This book is easy to understand and Peters next leads us to the way our two brains naturally progress following an event. Interpretation is common to both but then the paths diverge. The chimp will analyse the situation based upon feelings and impressions,resulting in emotional thinking and a plan of action.

The Adult interprets and analyses the facts and the ‘truth’. The application of logical thinking results in a plan of action.

YouTube is full of clips of chimps in Attenborough style nature programmes normally set in their natural environment –the  jungle. We civilised educated and highly evolved Homo sapiens, of course, do not live in a jungle! We have our own agenda, we respect societies agendas, and hopefully work to carefully thought through plans. The chimp, in his clearing, acts on instincts, drives, typically takes a vulnerable stance. Male and female chimps have different roles and think differently – they are all acutely aware of body language. One program is set in a jungle clearing. The chimps are chattering happily to each other grooming and going about their normal business. The skin of a leopard on a bamboo frame is introduced into the clearing through the bushes. The reaction is predictable – fight, flight, and freeze! As with us ‘only humans’ these instincts are deeply wired into our DNA.

A recent Spectator article describes the plethora of books at an airport or railway station written by our fellow humans to share their experiences of fight,flight,and freeze – fear and greed. ‘How to’ build a business, run a family, or achieve success. The airport is a very good environment in which to study the behaviour of our fellow humans. Just like the chimp in the clearing, the environment is strange, it’s threatening, it causes anxiety and you can watch people fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Once on the plane there are plenty of examples of, evolved, ‘up-to-date’ chimp thinking and behaviour! As Peters says ‘nature throws in anxiety as a means of forcing the chimp to make a decision’. Chimps normally live in troops and their drives include ‘food ,power, sex, parenting,industry ,security,inquisitiveness,territory acquisition and dominance. Traits management courses described by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Interestingly, Peters believes that male and female humans think the same way. Moving swiftly forward from that contentious statement we can be satisfied that he states ‘male and female chimps are very different emotional machines’. A paradox indeed.

The human ‘operational features’ include honesty and compassion, a conscious law-abiding nature, self-control, a sense of purpose, the need for achievement and satisfaction.

Peters then examines the really useful part of our brain – the computer. ‘We can think of the computers running at a speed around four times that of the ‘chimp brain’ and 20 times that of the ‘human’. Therefore, if the computer is operating as programmed, it can execute commands at amazing speed with complete accuracy before the chimp or human has a chance to finish ‘thinking’. See Hoys amazing sprint to victory! A way of understanding this section or nature of the brain is to examine your daily travel to work. Humans like to ‘get used to’ things. We get used to each other, our behaviours, our work; we get used to our environment, used to what we eat and drink, and any change causes anxiety. The computer removes the day-to-day boring functions that we don’t really want to think about. We don’t think about breathing until we go on holiday and try and dive to the bottom of the pool to see how long we can stay under. The strain of holding one’s breath is not so much the self-imposed inhibiting of the muscles, but the fight with our brains message ‘start breathing again or you’ll die!’ Your morning drive or commute to work involves a complex number of interactions and journey planning. Yet, quite easily, we forget what it was like when we first undertook our daily journey. Now the computer brain does it for us, leaving our highly evolved ‘only human brain’ to listen to our iPod or whatever else is hissing in the ears of your fellow passengers. We use this time daydreaming, thinking,planning and evaluating,(or sleeping!) and we are to great extent oblivious to what is going on around us until something unusual happens. Then the computer is instantly taken over by the chimp and the human brain and you go into corrective action, for good or ill.

The computer is receiving information from two different worlds: The fast moving human world, where we live, in a society with society rules and we look for ‘quality-of-life’ and ‘respect for humanity’. The other input comes from the chimp world, your jungle, where jungle rules (Homs?) and it’s survival of the fittest combined with the satisfaction of our primitive drives. The recent headline ‘final disgrace of the rutting chimpanzee’ was an interesting way for us ‘only humans’ to describe the behaviour of the former head of the IMF.

The book shows how by understanding the different portions of our brain and controlling our reactions we will, with practice and development, turn our moments of stress and anxiety from the primeval to the computer so that ‘the autopilot is the way to manage sudden stress’. That would apply as much as to the closing microseconds of an Olympic cycle race to the excitements generated by ‘office politics’ and ‘happy families’.

The chimp paradox extends these different sections and behaviour’s of the brain and applies it to a number of areas only too familiar to every ‘only human’ . The  book ends on the difference between the human and chimp headed ‘the human misleads the chimp!’ The human brain thinks ‘everyone is a friend’ whilst the chimp thinks ‘there are enemies everywhere’. A constant challenge both politically and Politically.

It would be impossible to summarise the gamut of human relationships and experiences in a small book but you will end up with a much more finely tuned ‘biological laptop’ in your head. You may choose to apply these techniques to win an Olympic gold medal, or, just enjoy achieving your goals with contentment. You will also find yourself a compulsive chimp spotter and have hours of endless enjoyment! Come on the seminar……….

Doing Business in the Digital Age: John Redwood joins IOD London seminar as guest speaker

We hope you can join us on 17 April 2012 from 10 till 4 at the Institute of Directors in London. Guest speaker is John Redwood, author of, a hard hitting website providing contemporary comment on the credit crunch, the future of the Euro and much else, who will be speaking about “Doing Business in the Digital Age”.

Rollo Clifford, an internet entrepreneur and expert in change, has a lifetime’s experience in guiding companies, charities and groups through challenging times.  With his seminar “Take Advantage of Your Future” he shows participants how to use their best assets – their experience and their brains. The seminar empowers participants to overcome perceived or real obstacles, thus putting them in a better position to improve performance in the current economic climate.

“According to the Bank of England’s governor the path to economic recovery is slow and uncertain. You need your brain to be finely tuned to all opportunities and threats over the next few years”, explained Rollo Clifford. “My seminar is guaranteed to make you think – thus improving your business chances.”

“We are delighted that John Redwood has agreed to join us as a guest speaker over lunch”, added Rollo.  “John has been involved in turning around many companies in difficulties and is therefore in an excellent position to advise on how to do business in the digital age.”

“Rollo is right to mentor, warn and advise companies on the very different conditions we now face in business”, commented John Redwood.  “The rise of many new competitors in the emerging economies, the interaction of customers and commentators through Facebook and Twitter, the ever present threat or advantage of You Tube sensations, have made business more electric, more dangerous and potentially more rewarding.”

Join us if you would like to take advantage of your future!

You can book by going to the booking page on this website, by calling Elke on 07881504863 or by sending an email to

Feel free to share this page on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All you need to do is click on “Reply” and then on the share button below the post.  Thank you!

Affirmations and visualization

In order to create meaningful and lasting change we need to change the recurrent thoughts – our ‘self-talk’ so that our ‘self-image’ and our brains automatically reflect the new truth.

You decide where to change. When you have done this, write your goals down. Write a brief definition of the way you want things to be, the way you wish to ‘see’ them. Remember the formula I xV=R, imagination times vividness equals reality on the subconscious level.  Now, fine tune them so that these brief statements have specific details. They must be positive, realistic and written in the first person, present tense. Remember, no comparisons -it’s you you’re interested in! Constantly develop a deeper spirit with each and keep it private!

Finally find somewhere quiet 10-15 min a day. This is your time, guard it jealously and effectively. Close your eyes and relax. When you are completely calm, read your affirmation yourself, picture images triggered by your words and feel the emotion stirred by these images. Take your time, delve deep into your subconscious. You will of course feel self-conscious to begin with and a bit ‘false’. So get used to it.
Remember Arnold Palmer? “And I find the more I practice the luckier I get…………”

Good luck, strong affirmations, persistence and determination = Results!

The Software Programme for the Brain is coming to Minehead, Somerset

Local Minehead and Exmoor business people have the opportunity to attend Rollo Clifford’s seminar about how to take advantage of their future in the current economic climate on 22 March 2012 at the Hobby Horse in Minehead.  Guest speaker is Adrian Humphreys,WPA’s managing director responsible for corporate business.

West Porlock based Rollo Clifford, an internet entrepreneur and expert in change, has a lifetime’s experience in guiding companies, charities and groups through challenging times.  With his seminar “Take Advantage of Your Future – The Software Programme for Your Brain” he shows participants how to use their best assets – their experience and their brains. The seminar empowers participants to overcome perceived or real obstacles, thus putting them in a better position to improve performance in the current economic climate.

“According to the Bank of England’s governor the path to economic recovery is slow and uncertain. You need your brain to be finely tuned to all opportunities and threats over the next few years”, explained Rollo Clifford. “My seminar is guaranteed to make you think – thus improving your business chances.”

Adrian Humphreys, Managing Director, Corporate Group, WPA, grew up on Exmoor

“We are delighted that Adrian Humphreys has agreed to join us as a guest speaker over lunch”, added Rollo.  “Adrian grew up on Exmoor and, having spent many years abroad working for an international management consultancy, is now the Managing Director of WPA’s Corporate Group, a leading UK health insurer with a not-for-profit heritage of over 110 years.”

“Answering three simple questions will allow companies to move in a positive direction”, commented Adrian Humphreys.  “Inertia is the secret enemy, but there are many ways companies are able to excel even in the current economic climate.”Part of the proceeds of the seminar will go to local charity “GoCommando”, supporting Royal Marines and their families.

John Redwood, MP, is our guest speaker at the IOD

The Rt Hon John Redwood, MP, has just confirmed that he will be our guest speaker at the forthcoming “Take Advantage of Your Future” seminar at the Institute of Directors in London on 8 March 2012!

This is exciting news for us as John has turned around many companies in difficulties over the years, which puts him in a perfect situation to talk about how to do business at a time when we are facing a fundamental economic crisis. The path to recovery is slow and uncertain, according to Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England. It is therefore essential to work out a way that will guide us through and ultimately lead us out of the current situation.

Member of Parliament for Wokingham

Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee

John Redwood campaigning against the Lisbon TreatyJohn Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

John was an Oxfordshire County Councillor in the 1970s. In the mid-1980s he was Chief Policy Advisor to Margaret Thatcher. He urged her to begin a great privatisation programme, and then took privatisation around the world as one if its first advocates before being elected to parliament. He was soon made a minister, joining the front bench in 1989 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Trade and Industry. He supervised the liberalisation of the telecoms industry in the early 1990s and became Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities after the 1992 General Election.

Shortly afterwards, John joined the Cabinet and served as Secretary of State for Wales from 1993 to 1995. In opposition he has acted as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1997-1999), Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1999-2000) and Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation (2004-2005). He stood for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1995 and again in 1997.

John was a fellow of All Souls from 1972 to 1987 and again from 2003 to 2005. He was elected to a Distinguished fellowship of All Souls in 2007. He is currently a Visiting Professor for Middlesex University Business School and has published a number of books including ‘Superpower Struggles‘, on the European Union, China and the United States, ‘Just Say No‘ on why the UK should reject further European integration, and ‘Singing the Blues‘, his personal history of the Conservative Party throughout the last thirty years. His most recent publications are ‘I Want to Make a Difference, But I Don’t Like Politics‘, which examines the reason for the decline in membership of political parties and those voting in local and General Elections, and After the Credit Crunch: No More Boom and Bust, which considers the reasons behind the global recession and why Britain has been hit especially hard.

John is a frequent commentator in the media and is a keen cricketer and water sports enthusiast, and supports a number of different charities.

You can follow John Redwood on his website