Picture of Michael Lee
:wave: Hey hey, I'm @michaelsoolee! I'm a full-stack developer, maker of one too many side projects and dad.

Silencing the lizard brain

Written on March 5, 2019

Seth Godin describes a phenomenon of what happens when someone gets close to shipping something. He calls it the lizard brain or plainly, the resistance. The lizard brain is what often sabotages a project. It tells you to slow down, be careful or back off.

And it’s something I’ve been dealing with lately. There’s a project that I’ve been thinking about for about two years. Two years ago when I came up with the idea, I got really amped about it. I told my wife about it, I told my friends about it, I even worked on it for a few days and then the lizard brain came in and it fizzled. I don’t even remember why I stopped but I stopped.

Recently the idea popped into my head again and for some reason I’ve felt compelled to pursue it again. Again I told my wife and I told a different set of friends about it. My wife rolled her eyes, my friends think it’s a great idea and I’m off to building it.

But as the days go by, and as I chip away at the idea, I noticed the lizard brain is starting to kick in again. I have been dealing with the fear of what if it actually works? I’ve been focusing on the hypothetical and trying to think through so many future scenarios that my brain can’t possibly understand. This sort of thinking actually almost left me paralyzed in fear to keep working on it again.

I spent 15 minutes working on it tonight and that silenced the lizard brain. I think being in the state of concentration of working on the project was good for silencing the lizard brain temporarily. I’m now at a place where I’d like to get to shipped faster in order to subdue the lizard brain. The more I let the project drag out the easier it is for the lizard brain to get louder.

Stay in touch

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to stay in touch and share more tips on programming, design and side projects with you. Sign up and I'll send you my articles straight to your email.