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Why We Choose Safety over Excellence (and How to Reprogram)

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“Influencing people in your Smart State isn’t about strong-arming them or ordering them around,” clarifies Comaford. “It’s about building rapport and connecting, which makes the other person’s critter brain feel safe. Once his fight or flight instincts are no longer at the forefront, he’ll be more willing to accept you, listen to you, and work with you.

“It may sound simplistic, but mirroring posture and behavior are great ‘shortcuts’ for helping you establish rapport with a client or colleague,” she adds. “If he leans forward, you should lean forward too. If he speaks softly and slowly, so should you. His critter brain will classify you as ‘similar to me’—in other words, a non-threat—and you’ll be on your way to a productive relationship.”

Don’t run out of gas. (Smart State Accelerator: SUSTAINABLE RESULTS) Your critter brain is not a “planner.” It doesn’t approach the future with the consideration of a master chess player; instead, it does what it thinks is best for you right now. In other words, sustainability isn’t often a primary consideration. That’s why we can sometimes be really fired up about a goal (like losing weight) at first, but run out of steam quickly. It’s also why so many of us feel completely exhausted by the end of each busy day.

“When you learn to consciously and intentionally manage your energy in your Smart State, you will continuously move forward,” Comaford promises. “Eventually, you might even be able to put in less overt effort as you are carried along by your own momentum.

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