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How ‘A Path through the Jungle’ has encouraged people to build skills in resilience, and robustness one year on. 

“I’ve read all the self-help books and still need help!”

A year on from the release of ‘A Path Through The Jungle’ (APTTJ), I’ve been reflecting on the impact and power of Prof Peters’ latest book. There are so many self-help books on the market. So, what’s different about this one? Why do so many readers develop the skill of creating change and choice after reading it?  

How do things change when we find our own PATH THROUGH THE JUNGLE?

Why Does Self-Help Not Always Work?

Self-help ideas are great in principle however they don’t always ‘stick’. Why not? Quite simply, helping yourself needs to be about you… unique, complex, wonderful you! At Chimp management, that’s what we do. Help people get themselves in a good place and then choose how they want to face life’s challenges, pleasures, and relationships. It always starts with you. That’s also been the power of APTTJ for me. I can see how my mind works, I can put strategies in place which are based on my patterns, reactions, and my machine. All of the activities in the book give me insights but they also help me to build the emotional skill of mind management on a daily basis… now that’s what I call resilience: the ability to employ emotional skills throughout life. This starts to strengthen the connections in my brain, making me more robust and more able to work with the reality that presents itself to me daily. This book guides me back to me, back to gaining insights about my Human, my Chimp and the programmes we have put into my personal computer.

A Path through the Jungle book

What Makes Self-Help So Complex?

Again and again, Steve Peters comes back to the individual.

Let’s face it, if we each have around 86 billion neurons, each connected to around 10,000 others in our minds, the results are the most complex organisms in the universe, right there in your head.  

Having worked with a myriad of people from all ages, and backgrounds, all around the world and from all walks of life, I can honestly say that there are no two people who are the same. The problem is that, due to the immense complexity not only of our minds but of the world around us and the sensory input we experience each and every day, most people tend to assume that others are working with the same interpretation of events; from global questions about our planet to individual relationships, it’s so easy to make assumptions about life and others.

When we come across differences or find it hard to understand another’s motivation for their beliefs and actions, keeping our emotions (our Chimp system) under close management can prove tricky.  

Before you know it, our survival reaction kicks in and the programme of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours begins. So helping yourself is a very tangible goal but believing that one size fits all may be a tad unrealistic.  

Moving from reactivity to responsiveness. Acceptance is a skill.

APTTJ emphasises acceptance as a fundamental skill to build and make a habit. Accepting that we will be hijacked by our Chimp system, accepting the reality of what is in front of us and accepting some of the less helpful beliefs and behaviours we demonstrate at times. This acceptance, says Professor Peters, isn’t about rolling over and letting these situations occur again and again. No, acceptance means noticing the reality and then moving on, with a plan. I’d like to say that I’ve got all of my plans in place, and execute them with finesse every day. The truth is that this is a life-long learning as life moves on every day as well.  

Chimp Model Diagram

What about other help?

Of course, at times, it’s brilliant to have someone external to help you wade through the treacle of your complexities, your patterns and underlying beliefs (in Chimp terms: your Gremlins, Goblins and computer programmes) but we can’t always afford or access 1:1 support. APTTJ gives you daily reminders, exercises and activities which you can do alone. Each of these sections in the book helps you to build skills and carve out your path through the jungle.

I am very pleased to have my very well-thumbed copy of APTTJ. Depending on what is coming up for me I revisit the relevant chapters: relationships, fear of failure, habit forming, other people or simply wanting to be as happy as I can be.

With daily development time, I make my self-help personal and unique to my wonderful, complex self and build resilience through practice, practice, practice. 

My path through the jungle is still under construction…..

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