Winning The Mind Game
To succeed, you need to know how you fail.
– Gbolade Ogunfowote
The first time I heard of MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), I couldn’t help but think that I had a mild form of the disease. I really believed it. My curiosity was roused, and I began to do a little research. I realized that almost everyone feels the same way I do. We sometimes act in ways that are antithetical to our self-image. We’re lucky if we even notice when we do. A very good example in my life was my first shot at being a boss. Gosh! It was frustrating. All the books on effective leadership that I had read suddenly forgotten, the principles consigned to oblivion. In reflection, it seemed unreal, that I said what I said, that I did what I did. That’s just one example.
In studying the effect of evolution on the human brain, I learned about the limbic system: the part of the brain that controls the basic emotions: anger, fear, pleasure; and drives hunger and sex; and the prefrontal cortex: the part of the brain responsible for processing information, and making decisions, also called the personality center. Unfortunately, the limbic system is more developed than the prefrontal cortex, therefore while the limbic system works almost automatically, we have to ‘manually’ operate our prefrontal cortices.
What all these mean is that there’s a physiological reason why we sometimes behave in ways antithetical to our self-image. It doesn’t end there though. To be productive, we need to know how to play the mind game effectively.
The first step: Awareness. I call it: naming the game, just for jokes, I identified and listed out in my Evernote, the several forms of Gbolade there is. I take this out and glance through every once in a while to determine who’s in control in that moment. Here are a few:
- Higher Gbolade
- Hedonistic Gbolade
- Emotional Gbolade
- Loquacious Gbolade
- Insecure Gbolade
- Empathetic Gbolade
- Irritable Gbolade
- Pessimistic Gbolade
- Productive Gbolade
- Confident and Social Gbolade
These are some of my commonest states. Naming them help me know what state my mind is in, or, if you like, who is in charge at the moment, and then I decide whether to fire and replace the boss if he doesn’t fit the current job description.