The talk went into some of the intricacies of the model and how he has applied it in different contexts. Whilst this was very interesting I have decided against doing a summary piece here, instead I am going to focus on one small point he made as I feel that this is one of those 80/20 factors which could have a huge impact on your life with very little in terms of input and effort.
This point is, in Steve's language, to 'prepare your chimp'.
What does this mean in lay language? What Prof Peters is getting at here is that we all have our triggers. Certain things that will set us off, make us reactive, put us in a bad mood or just make us generally less pleasant. There is no issue with this, we are all human and we will get annoyed occasionally. The trick is to reduce the severity of these triggers so that, whilst they may irritate you, they don't have a negative impact on your behaviour. For example say that you manage people and often have them write reports for you which you proof and send on. Bad grammar really irritates you and one of your workers is consistently poor in this regard which winds you up every time you read one of their reports. You often lose your temper, shout at your colleague and take 20mins to calm down before resuming work. Is this helpful? Not at all - you damage your working relationships and affect your own productivity. So how can we prevent this?
Prof Peters advice is to make yourself aware of these triggers and prepare for them. Through the next week make note of everything that annoys you, anything where you can feel your mood turning. Once you have a list of your triggers and an idea of when you may encounter them you can take 5 mins to prepare - in the world of the chimps this is termed programming your computer. Essentially you want to input more helpful behaviours or coping strategies that will prevent negative outcomes. So maybe you suffer from road rage - develop a reframe which will help you switch into calmer state. If you are really shy and struggle in social situations then prepare some small talk before you go in to the event.
Take responsibility for your triggers and be proactive in developing management strategies. I'd love to hear any strategies or self talk you develop for your triggers so please share in the comments - you may be able to help someone else with the same issue.
If you feel you need extra reading on this then take a look back in the archives for my previous post on 'reactivity'.