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Why your Brain is Selfish!

The theory of the selfish brain is based on the following idea. Your brain is absolutely selfish - it wants to do what's best for your brain. So when you're experiencing a new event, your amygdala jumps into action, sending impulses to different parts of your brain, causing some good and some bad feelings that reach back to the body. The only signal that isn't processed this way is pain; other than that, everything goes through your amygdala. This means that past experiences have shaped you for any new situation, like doing a hard workout, which will trigger an emotional response inside of you faster than anything in the present moment - no matter how minuscule.

How to use selfish brain theory to change behavior

The selfish brain theory is a way of thinking about how your brain works that can be used to change your behavior. It posits that your brain is constantly trying to maximize its survival and reproduction, even if that means sacrificing other parts of your body or environment. This theory can explain why you might do harmful things to yourself or others and how you can change your behavior by understanding how your brain works.

You can think of following the five steps to learn new mental and behavioral lessons. Always remember the higher the stress, the bigger the lesson learned.


You start in a lazy, boring state and have an idea to start something new - it could be in training or a new skill. If the task isn't challenging or stressful, you will stay bored.


Anxiety starts to build as you try to figure out the best way to learn the skill. You'll strategize, plan and game your way.


Frustration builds when the skill you are trying to learn isn't as easy as you thought it would be or as others make it look.

Anger Towards Others