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Jun 24, 2019Fred Robinson

3 Ways to clear the chatter in your mind.

In my last post on mental endurance, Three Ways to Improve Your Mental Endurance, we discussed:

  • Discovering your "Why"
  • Setting realistic expectations
  • Recognizing that mental strength will always come through challenges

Today, I want to elaborate on the last point of mental strength and overcoming the challenges.

As a brilliant scientist in the 16th Century, Nicholas Copernicus had a mathematical dilemma.  There was a complete breakdown in humanity’s perception at that time.  Religious leaders, and most of the brightest minds, all agreed that the Earth was the center of the universe. However, according to Copernicus’ calculations, it simply didn’t add up.

Can you imagine sitting at your desk, working on equations and thinking “Hmmm… something is really, REALLY wrong here.  I don’t think the earth is at the center of the universe after all.”  Once he figured it out, though, he had to send out his message into the world: “Hey everyone, I hate to break it to humanity’s ego, but we are not it! We aren’t the center of it all!”  Imagine the looks, the stares, and the thoughts of a bonfire with Copernicus being tied to a stake in the center of it.



Did you know that monkeys come in groups called a troop, barrel, carload, cartload, or a tribe?  Did you know that a large group of baboons is called a “congress?" Not really -  but it’s a fantastic urban meme.  (And quite an appropriate one, I might add).  In all seriousness, though, we all have monkey chatter going on.  It’s that constant chatter that’s going on in our heads.  Sometimes, when we are pouring our heart out to the person next to us, they even have a “congress” talking in their heads and can’t hear a word we are saying.


The voice, the choir, or the constant monkey chatter going on in our head is simply that -  it’s chatter.  It’s not an authority speaking to us.

We could ask ourselves these questions about the chattering voices: “Who put you in charge? What are your qualifications?” Then, we could simply observe that this is not our real potential.  Like Copernicus told the world that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe, we too could tell ourselves that this voice is not the center of our universe. This voice will not lead us down a path to being our very best.

My recommendation to you is this: Fire the baboon and get started with programming in order to become a “Copernicus.”  This is your human right.

To help you get rid of the monkey chatter, I want to share with you an excerpt from one of my all time favorite fun books Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Her description of inviting fear (aka “monkey chatter”) to ride along with you, but not enabling it to take complete control is exactly what we need to do to develop the mental strength and endurance that we are all seeking:


“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do.  I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting- and may I say, you are superb at your job.

So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still- your suggestions will never be followed.

You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude- you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” 

So, are you shaking the monkeys out of those trees yet?  Stay tuned because I have plenty more to say on how you can make it happen.  Be sure to subscribe and share this with your friends so they can come along on the journey with us.

Move Through It. . .

Fred Robinson

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