Snake, Monkey and Genius are always wrestling with each other

In Part 1 we explored power of the mind through recognition of fatal flaws and in Part 2 we looked at parts of the brain and how they function in our lives.

This is the final Part of Mindset and Willpower for High Performance where we will explore the interaction of the Snake, Monkey and Genius with the goal of how to be mindful.


To understand how these three characters are interacting with each other and affecting your daily life we need to take a closer look to their dynamics.

The three parts are structured in a way that the lower ones will shut down the higher ones.

If the Snake is highly stimulated it will take over Monkey and Genius.

In a life or death situation, like avoiding a bull gone berserk, I would put blind trust in my Snake and hide in a safe spot away from the enraged beast.

And so would you…unless your Monkey is crazy enough to jump in the middle of a street in Pamplona during the festival.

Once you are in a safe place and the Snake is chilling down, the Monkey will make his move and you would be drawn to watch the cruel but at the same time entertaining scene that is happening in front of your eyes.

The Monkey loves to see scary and exciting things

You are magnetically charmed by that mass of horns, dust and blood. Provided that the Monkey stays stimulated it will stay in control of you until he gets bored.

The Genius really does not go along with the Monkey

Since he’s a bit of a precious queen, he won’t come up as long as the monkey is juggling with your mind.

When later on in the day you will be laying down in bed staring the ceiling and reflecting on the experience, you might have a chance to rub the lamp and have a chat with the Genius. He will explore past memories and beliefs you accumulated in creating your new personal opinion.

The Genius only visits you when you are in a state of calm, abundance and wholeness with the world.

That is why we believe geniuses are a rare thing nowadays, but really are not.

Simply there are few people that take the time to master the skill required to rub the lamp. On the opposite side I’m sure you know plenty of monkeys!

A monkey-friendly society

Now that you know how the monkey likes to keep himself stimulated you can quickly realize how marketing experts have structured our environment to keep us jumping from one stimulus to another, just like happy monkeys.

Colorful bars, pictures of hot looking men and women on a sunny beach, your favourite bottle of whiskey and James Dean making cigarette smoking look cool.

The Monkey is continuously stimulated and makes us experience a series of highs and lows worth of an Olympic jump gold medallist.

We are simply doomed to be ‘monkeyfied’!

Exercise: who is doing what?

how to be mindful_2If after reading this article you found yourself not wanting to act like a monkey any more and rushed to the toilet grooming your beard and shaving your body to look less primal, you might want to consider trying a simple little exercise that will have an immense impact on your life and help you become more of a genius.

It goes like this:

Redirect yourself

Come back to your life, go for a walk or simply keep doing what you were doing before.

Switch on your attention and explore your emotions.

What do you feel?

Emotions are Monkey driven and keep the monkey jumping around looking for something shiny or something to snack on to suppress the emotion.

Do you feel anxious, angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed? Or do you feel happy, excited or simply bored?

Explore your emotions

Is it rational to feel that way?

Or are you simply going with the flaw as you always do without questioning why you feel a certain way?

Where do you feel the emotion in your body? Literally scan your body from head to toe to find where you feel something different. Do you feel your stomach? Do you feel your head or your neck? Do you feel your lower back?

Become familiar with the body part upon noticing a certain emotion.

Explore your intentions

What do you feel like doing? Do you feel like checking email and social networks? Do you feel like snacking on sweets or crisps? Do you feel like wine or cigarettes?

Do you feel like texting someone hoping that he or she might feel the same as you? Do you feel like going to sleep?


Every emotion triggers a certain behavior that is most likely non-rational. Every Monkey has a different way to entertain himself with emotions.

Some monkeys like to eat, others like to smoke and drink alone.

There are social pub monkeys and geeky video game addicted monkeys. Last but not least the violent monkeys and the ones that lock themselves into a room and start crying…

These simple exercises, if done consistently will have a tremendous positive impact in your life. In fact I didn’t invent it myself but it is one of the most taught Buddhist teachings.

So remember:

Emotions, Sensations, Intentions. 

Is what I want to do now rational? And will it have a beneficial effect on my life? You will be amazed by the incredible amount of stupid choices your Monkey makes for you every day.

Connect with Expert Davide Alfonsi

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