So many of the great thinkers in marketing, from Seth Godin to Simon Sinek to Amy Morin, invoke the “lizard brain” (or reptilian brain) as something to reckon with–in prospects, clients, and yourself. It’s synonymous with the limbic system, which–through instinct and mood–controls drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring) and fundamental emotions (fear, pleasure, anger). As Godin notes,
“The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.”
The aggression of the lizard brain can turn upon itself, which is why it must be tamed. A la Freud, the ego is not master in its own house.
Most lizards, though, like iguanas to geckos, are perfectly harmless, charming in their affection rather than to be feared for their aggression. I’ll say more on this point in a future post, but I think we’re talking about a different animal here. I think we’re talking about a dragon–the komodo dragon, to be precise.