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Lizards, scumbags and ego the lessons begin before we start.

AWARD, lizards, scumbags and ego – the lessons begin before we start.

I got into AWARD School!

With the first rush of excitement I posted an update on Facebook and shared the news with a few contacts via email. Then, I did a nervous wee.

Like a metronome, I’ve been bobbing from elation to nerves and back ever since.

As it turns out, I’m not alone.

According to Seth Godin, it’s our lizard brain, the chunk at the base of the amygdala that’s responsible for primal urges such as anger, fear and reproduction.

Eckhart Tolle would say it’s ego, which is all the stuff we believe about ourselves and which form our personal identity – our defence.

According to the Scumbag Brain memes, it’s simply the brain – our imagination – that makes it physiologically impossible to, either, visualise success or downplay imagined award-winning brilliance.

Call it what you will, it’s all the same thing to me. Essentially, as Scott Belsky of Making Ideas Happen fame reminds us, most ideas are born and lost in isolation and it’s because of these traits.

Naturally, this cannot be so if it’s ideas that drive professional productivity and effectiveness. What I had wasn’t a new idea, but a realisation you’ve just got to get over and on with it – confronting and liberating all at once.

Ideas spring (sometimes) from our fertile minds, nurtured, nourished and applauded by our inner selves: “Hurrah! You are, indeed, quite fabulous,” we tell ourselves. Then, our lizard/ego/scumbag brain slaps us upside the head demanding that we second-guess, play it safe and conform: “Dear God! What was I thinking?! People will scoff at your ineptitude. This idea is crap. You are crap. FOOL!” And no, this is not an exaggeration – monitor your own self-talk for a day. You’ll find that you’re either the world’s next Ogilvy or a pen-wielding weasel.

And so, before I’ve even completed week one of AWARD School, I’ve banished, both, my inner Ogilvy and weasel. Lizard brain is sunning itself. Ego is practicing life in the moment and scumbag brain has been beaten into submission. They will, no doubt, fight for primacy throughout the coming weeks and the rest of my creative life. But, I am aware of their presence and I know they can be used to my advantage as I reflect on ideas and evaluate my personal professional growth. That’s not a bad first lesson.



Tia Psaras was one of 2014's 10 AWARD School students. She works as a freelance copywriter through her business, Little Bird. She also has a young family, is a wannabe children’s picture book author, a knitter of socks and a baker of scones, addicted to Pinterest, and a volunteer member of the Country Women’s Association’s Marketing, Promotions and Publicity Working Party.

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