[How We Change] - Your Triune Brain is Your Greatest Enemy

Triune Brain.jpg

If you’ve noticed that people seem to have an initial reaction of disdain for change, there is a reason. 

I remember working for an organization that I had been at for a couple years. Leadership had changed. The direction of the group had changed. It’s role in the community had changed. 

And so, a couple years in, we changed the logo. 

Oh my goodness…you would have thought that we stole all their money and were threatening to uproot them from their homes while taking away their ability to taste food for the rest of their life. It was obvious that whatever was happening, the change was threatening and, as most normal people would, they rebelled against it.

Even if the change is desirable and positive and good, why do we respond with such reluctance to it?

Because you have a Triune Brain. 

Think of your brain as a set of three concentric circles.

Each circle contains various parts that make you human, but contain a reflection of increasing complexity that makes you more and more of a unique creature. 

The outermost circle would be the Neo-Cortex - the ability to think and attribute meaning, a relatively complex process, comes from here. Only the most intelligent creatures have this, humans as the example of the most intricate version. 

In the middle is the Limbic brain. It is pre-dominantly mammalian and correlates with care and action and connection. 

Then, the central core and the most basic circle is the Reptilian brain. Think lizards. Yet, this part of the brain isn't designated with just repitles. The inner core composition of every human being's brain contains this part. It is that which controls the involuntary, natural processes of creatures like adrenaline. It is why fight or flight is still a thing. 

Because you want to survive. 

And embedded in your drive for survival and the drive for our species to continue its existence is that the world be as predictable and stable as possible. So we set up systems and methods and procedures (i.e., culture) that become normal and familiar to make survival easier. 

Do you see why, when something is established, people don’t want you to mess with it?

A new logo is a threat to the known. Even though the previous logo may have been quite new, it became the norm. It doesn’t take long for something to become “tradition” and, once it is seen that way, it becomes spoken of as if it has been there for all of civilized history and is the foundation of everything. That "tradition" is simply the familiar, known, stable & predictable reality that makes surviving easier. Humans carrying around this presence of, “Don’t mess with my stuff,” are speaking from the instinct of their reptilian brain. Even if it is disguised as an argument that you are changing how things have always been (though by “always been” they probably just mean “recent memory”), it is a reflection of our very biology. 

You have a Triune Brain - and it is the greatest enemy to any change you are trying to make. 

Our reptilian brain hates uncertainty. We have a fear of the unknown. We create boxes and set them up as if that is the only way the world works - because we crave predictability and stability. We are hardwired to stay safe and secure and that isn’t just something you can will away…it is there and it is a part of how you work. 

So of course a new logo or a new routine or a new process or a new way of thinking will result in retreat. Or when you offer a new idea it will be treated as a threat to the tribe. Or when you want to change a behavior, it is why you will systematically resort to relapsing to how you existed before. It is a disruption of the Script and our biology is going to have some problems with that. 

If you are going to change, you have to be aware of the what is unchangeable - your Triune Brain. 

Know that you understand why that resistance seems so unavoidable, you can start going through the process of overcoming it.


This is Post #6 in the series "How We Change" - read the rest by clicking the first image below.