ILLUSION OF SUCCESS

The voices around us are inputs that influence the way we act in the world.

In evolutionary psychology, the Theory of the modulatory of the mind introduces the idea of algorithm-like brain functions called modules.

According to a view of this model, each of our modules has distinct roles and compete against the other at any given time. They are command units that take turns running the show of our lives. Their goal is to make us adopt behaviors that ensure the survival and passing of our genes to the next generation.

Although we are continually evolving, it is important to remember that the contemporary human being, we believe we are, is a newborn baby at the light of Human History. As a species, we have been roaming our planet, living in tribes of hunter-gatherers, for hundreds of thousands of years. Our brains, just like our bodies, are the product of this time. We are cavemen lost in a society of abundance, sedentarity, and technology.

What led our ancestors to survive then has shaped the brain we still carry today. By looking at our minds through a time-traveling machine, we can easily assume that our inner algorithms’ focuses might revolve around self-preservation, mating, and more behaviors that would elevate our chance to find a mate. In such light, behavior leading us to elevate our status and create affiliation are good candidates. Indeed, the most important, the most successful, and the strongest we appear, the higher our chances of reproduction.

The modulatory theory of the mind excludes the existence of a superior executive function that takes all decisions. In other words, it eliminates the presence of the Self. It believes , instead, that one after the other, depending on clues in our environment, relevant modules take over. It is a difficult theory not to resist.

It is undeniable indeed, that, except for a rare few, we do feel like we are in charge of our own minds.

The social scientists’ opinion on this matter is interesting. It says that the reason why we have such a sense of self is that it is another trick of our brain. In order to increase our likelihood of finding the best mate, we want to look like keepers. Better, we want to look like the best catch in the whole world.

To meet this objective, we need to create and run a massive communication campaign aimed at one thing: manipulating other people’s perceptions of ourselves and our behaviors. To do so, we construct a person, a story of a perfect being, and we try to sell it. As we all know, it is easier to sell something that we believe to be true; and it is also easier for us to believe something if we are convinced to be in charge.

One of the critical functions of our brain is, therefore, to be a PR machine that both makes us believe in our selves and wins us status, mates and peers as a way to increase our chance to be successful, to pass our genes to the next generation.

What happens then if we surround ourselves with naysayers?

Today, many of us live in a world where self-preservation requires minimal effort and where we have created the conditions for many of us to not only dream but, most incredibly, to pursue their purpose and yearning actively.

However, daily, talented, and capable individuals let the dominant voice in their environment crush their dreams. They negate their chance to define their own definition of success and, instead, conform to the accepted version of the perfect individual that their tribe sells.

The voices around us are inputs that influence the way we act in the world.

As the tendency to seek a higher status by seducing the people we spend time with is engraved in us, let us be careful with the voices we bring to our surroundings. Let us choose our tribes wisely.

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Hi! I am an entrepreneur, social innovator, sustainability advocate, tech4good practitioner, as well as a speaker and advisor. I have chosen to dedicate my life to making a positive impact by inventing solutions to our biggest challenges and helping others be successful at achieving their mission. I love tech & innovation and work to build a fairer and more sustainable world. You can follow me on twitter at Valeria Duflot (@DuflotValeria), connect on Linkedin and learn more about me and my work at: valeriaduflot.com

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