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What Monkeys Do

Author: Morten Kamp Andersen

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Change is hard. You know that. For some reason, you don't always do what you set out to do. In 'What Monkeys Do', we talk with experts to find out what it takes to make a change - and make it stick. Why? Because success leaves clues, and we have more knowledge and experience than ever about what is required to change well. Let's find out what that is. So, if you are looking for insights, tools, and ideas to help you change yourself or the person standing next to you, you have come to the right place. In each episode, we will bring in a new guest and give you something you can use in your everyday - both at home and in the office.  The show is hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen (@mortenkamp), part psychologist, part finance guy and part just someone who struggles to change himself.
17 Episodes
If you want to make a change in you life, you will inevitably affect your identity. And if  you want to make a change it must be congruent with your identity. If it is not, it will not happen. But what is our identity? An essential part of our identity is our stories. Our stories come from memories of our life, about goals we set and the paths we took. It is constructed in a way, so we better understand ourselves. Your story about your life will not only tell who you are but also how you came to be as you are and what is important to you. In this focus episode, I will give you a little bit of background to life stories, tell you what makes a good life story (and a poor one) and if you stay with to the end of the episode, I will give you three ways you can use your life story to make a change in our life.
Life is hectic. Everywhere you look, there is a battle for your attention; from your partner, kids, work, smartphone and so on. We tend not to think much about our it - we just go along. Nevertheless, mindfulness is about stopping to notice where your attention wanders off to and choosing where you actually want it to go. Over and over again. Michael Chaskalson has a master's degree in the clinical applications of mindfulness. He has more than 40 years of experience with the discipline and has authored several books on the subject. Listen along, as we dive into mindfulness, and how you can use mindfulness to calm your life and focus on the present.MICHAEL TALKS ABOUTWhy you should treat yourself with greater kindness and forgiveness. The evidence of mindfulness. By example, it has proven to be a powerful tool to reduce depression – actually as effective as antidepressants, only cheaper, and with much fewer side effects. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism and Stoicism. Let’s find out, what we can learn from the two. How to get started on mindfulness
Changing behaviour is difficult. It can provoke both anxiety, anger and stress. But why? What exactly happens in your brain when you try to make a change? I have asked neuroscientist, Gabija Toleikyte, to help us understand change from a neurological perspective – how your brain works, and what you can do to help it change. GABIJA TALKS ABOUTSome of the biggest breakthroughs in recent time in neuroscience. How to ‘trick’ your Mammal brain into liking a change.Why we need the Prefrontal Cortex to change and how to activate it. How leadership style can affect the brain’s willingness to change. The Amygdala: A small part of the Mammal brain that can hijack your rational behaviour and cause anxiety, anger etc.
Cultural differences can stand in the way of doing business or having good relationships. Fons Trompenaars is one of the world’s most prominent experts when it comes to exploring and defining culture. He has spent the last 30 years helping Fortune 500 companies manage and resolve cultural dilemmas and business issues.In this episode, we talk about how you can understand your culture, how you can use cultural understanding to deal with your intercultural business issues and not least how you can resolve intercultural differences. FONS TALKS ABOUTThe 3 layers of culture. Conscious or not, they can be measured and are all relevant for the way we interact with other cultures. How you can use dilemmas to understand and reconcile cultural differences.The 7 dimensions of culture. Remember, awareness is not enough. You need to understand your own culture and its differences to other cultures in order to successfully reconcile your cultural dilemmas. 
Diets don’t work. If you go on a diet, you will most likely regain what you have lost once you go off your diet. In fact, chances are that you will regain more than you lost. And it doesn’t matter which diet you pick – low fat or low carb diet – they all have the same outcome. This is well documented. But why? Why do diets not work? In this episode, I will look at why diets don’t work and what you can do to make them get you the results you hope for. Hint: I am not making it easier to be on a diet – there are unfortunately no shortcuts. But I will give you five evidence-based recommendations. 
A good night's sleep is the foundation of a healthy mind and body. You compromise your sleep at your peril. But although we all know this, we live as if we have forgotten it. We have invited Vyga Kaufmann to this week's episode of What Monkeys Do, to remind us just how vital sleep is to our mental and physical health and to tell us how to get the best possible sleep. Vyga Kaufmann is a clinical psychologist. She specialises in cognitive behavioural approaches to the treatment of sleep issues as well as anxiety, depression, and work stress. She believes sleep is the most critical measure in the treatment of those disorders. Nevertheless, all changes you want to make in life depends on mental health and flexibility. And good night's sleep is the foundation for both.VYGA TALKS ABOUT3 tips for you to sleep better tonightThe 4 stages of sleep. They increase your health and productivity, and most importantly, boost your moodDisorders and sleep issues. If you suffer from a disorder, chances are that you have sleep issues too. Instead of only trying to treat the disorder, Vyga suggests fixing the sleep instead. Why the bed should only be a place for sleep and sex
Our memory is a construction and is relatively easy to influence. For example, you probably think that you know exactly where you where and what you were doing on 9/11. But chances are, that parts of the memory are not entirely true. The good news is, that you can improve the quality and accuracy of your memory. Elizabeth Loftus is the world's leading expert on memory and is known for her work on the nature of false memories. She found that it is possible to plant entire false events into the minds of ordinary people and have them remember it like any other memory. Her studies on false memory made her the most influential female psychological researcher of the 20thcentury. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, we talk about memory and how it is possible to improve the accuracy of your memory. ELIZABETH TALKS ABOUTWhy we can't trust our memory. It consists of bits and pieces of different times and places that we reconstruct into something that feels like a memory.  Why some people have a better memory than others – and how you can enhance yours Why we probably don't remember what we were doing on 9/11And of course – how to better remember names
You can spend hours doing something with no return. Maybe you were with your family for three hours, but all you could think about was tomorrow’s presentation at work. Or at yesterday’s meeting, where you were too tired to listen. You weren’t fully engaged. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, Jim Loehr talks about investing your energy – not time – in a meaningful way.  And how do you do that? If you ask Jim, purpose is the ultimate driver. If you find the right purpose, you are well off. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist and has worked with hundreds of World Class performers. He will help us become fully engaged. JIM TALKS ABOUTHow to find the right purpose for your energyHow to build character by investing your energy meaningfullyThe balance of moral and performance – how you achieve is more important than what you achieveAnd finally, why you should find your old journal again and start writing
Conflicts are good. They are opportunities for change. And they can be resolved. Whether you have a fight with your neighbor, a disagreement with your partner or just a frustrating colleague, you can learn a lot from your conflicts. Especially, if you are willing to look inwards. I speak with Louisa Weinstein, an expert in conflict resolution and the author of The Seven Principles of Conflict Resolution. She will provide us with a framework for conversations as well as tools and techniques that help us resolve conflicts more effectively. LOUISA TALKS ABOUT-       Why conflicts are a good thing-       The process of conflict management and how you can approach each phase-       How you can identify your conflict patterns and what you can use them for-       How to create a conflict friendly cultureARE YOU TOO BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY TAKEAWAYSI have collected the three most important takeaways from my conversation with Louisa. It was a really interesting talk; I learned a lot. I hope it inspires you to listen to the full episode. #1 Identify your patterns of conflictWe all have patterns in our conflicts. Some conflicts come from the same underlying reason, or some towards the same type of person. If you identify those patterns, you can communicate more clearly about your needs or fears. That will help you resolve your conflicts more effectively. #2 Our most intense conflicts happen when there is a violation of a fundamental need. We often discuss symptoms; you don't clean up after yourself, I want you to spend more time at home, I want to make the presentation - not you. But all that is just symptoms. Behind that is a violation of a fundamental need. Typically, these are what initiate your patterns of conflict. #3 Structured conversations in small units such as teams and families can prevent conflicts from escalating. It is hard to change the culture around conflicts. Especially if you are in a large organisation. Smaller units are better. A family of five or a team of six. That's where it is possible to change the culture of the conversations we have. In the episode, Louisa guides us through those conversations. 
Resistance to change is natural. We resist because we are humans. And there is always a good reason when people resist. You don't have to agree with those reasons, but you need to understand them to manage resistance successfully. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited change management expert and best-selling author, Rick Maurer. He will explain why you shouldn't necessarily try to overcome resistance. But understand it. Resistance to change can occur for three reasons; People don't understand the change, they don't like the change, or they don't like you. It matters which reason it is because each requires a different approach. In the episode, Rick Maurer will tell you how to approach each reason with plenty of concrete examples. RICK WILL TALK ABOUT-       The three main reasons for resistance and how to approach each of them-       The importance of active listening and how to get better at it-       How to feel the energy of a change - replace fear with enthusiasm in times of changeARE YOU TOO BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY TAKEAWAYSIn case you don't have the time now, here are a few key takeaways from the episode. I hope it inspires you to go listen to the full episode. People resist for a good reasonResistance is a natural reaction to change. As a leader, you should always seek to understand that reaction and the reasons behind it. Rick Maurer has identified three reasons for resistance:1.     They don't get it. Lack of information.2.     They don't like it. An emotional reaction.3.     They don't like you. A relational reaction.Listen to the full episode to hear how you should approach each level. Rick provides us with a lot of concrete examples. Always start by listeningIt is as obvious as it is forgotten. So, let's remind ourselves; you should always listen to the people you are trying to change. You may think you know what they are thinking. And understand what they are saying. But the truth is that we often misunderstand. First, seek to understand then to be understood as Stephen R. Covey wrote. Feel the energyWe often think of projects in terms of timelines, Gantt-charts and sprints or gates. That's all well and good, but maybe we should also think about energy. What is the energy towards a change? At what level are people energized towards a change? Is the energy positive or negative? Those questions are as relevant as "where are we on the Gantt-chart".
“It’s not really hard. You just have to change your whole life”. We can all imagine how hard that must be. Nevertheless, that was the reality Judy Grisel faced, when she took the incredible journey from substance abuse to rehab to becoming an internationally recognized behavioural neuroscientist and a professor in psychology. She has authored the book, ‘Never Enough’ and given one of the best Tedx Talks, I have seen. In this episode we look at addiction. What it is. How it affects our brain. And how we break free from it. Why? Because breaking an addition is a major change. One we can learn a lot from. Addiction can be many things. It can be an addiction to your phone. Your coffee. Or your daily glass of wine. I have invited Judy to tell us about her personal story and to find out, how we can break addiction and make a change. JUDY WILL TALK ABOUTWhat is addiction and what does it do to our brainHow she broke her addiction and her criteria of success Why it is critical not to start taking abusive measures before the age of 18How finding new (healthy) ways to release dopamine can help you change ARE YOU TOO BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY TAKEAWAYSAre you too busy? Don’t worry, I have collected three key takeaways from the podcast. I hope it inspires you to go listen. #1 Find new ways to release dopamineFinding new rewards is critical to breaking addiction. You need healthier ways to get your dopamine. Find new passions; it could be sport, entrepreneurship or an exciting project.  #2 Denial is the first major barrierAs Judy says: “I thought my drug was the solution to my problems. Not the cause”.  Denial is the biggest barrier to breaking addiction. Until you become aware of the need for change, chances are, you will never change.  #3 Early is bad Our brains are plastic and amazing. But if we start drinking - or taking any other abusive measure – too early, it will impact our brains forever. By example, if you start drinking by the age of 14, you have 7x the chance of developing an alcohol problem than if you had waited until you were 21 or longer. 
Psychological flexibility is key to change. And a crucial part of psychological flexibility is how you deal with your emotions. Know that you are not responsible for your emotions. But you are responsible for the way you choose to react to them. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited Trish and Aisling Leonard-Curtin to teach us how to let go of control and accept our unwanted emotions. Essentially, how to become more psychologically flexible.  Being present, making meaningful towards-moves and accepting our emotions is essentially yoga for the mind; they help us become more flexible. Psychologically flexible. Aisling and Trish are experienced therapists and have written the excellent book "The Power of Small". They will explain how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help us move forward.AISLING AND TRISH WILL TALK ABOUTWhy you should stop trying to control what is in fact out of your control The power of small. Leave your comfort zone once a day. Just don't go too far. Instead, move into your Self-care zoneHow to accept your unwanted thoughts and emotions – don't blame yourself for having themHow to commit to the present and the Life Worth Fighting ForARE YOU TOO BUSY? In case you don't have the time now, here are a few key takeaways from the episode. I hope it inspires you to go listen to the episode. #1 Flexibility is keyChange becomes easier when we are psychologically flexible. That means to stop worrying about the past and the future and to stay present in the moment. We must find a way to accept unwanted experiences and emotions. That's what Trish and Aisling are here to help us with.#2 Take small stepsWe believe in the power of small. Don't go all-in when trying to make a change. You should take small steps outside your comfort zone every day and let the experience guide you. And let the small step be withing your self-care Zone.#3 Accept your emotionsWe are often put in unwanted situations or experience unwanted emotions. But that's just how it is. Accept your emotions; you can't control them. What you can control is your reaction to them. Don't let them hold you back. 
Every change is an individual journey. How fast you move and where you are stuck is individual. Maybe you know what to do, but not why? Or you want to do something, but you don’t know how to? In this episode, you will learn how to break your change journey into bites to manage your change journey. The ADKAR Model is an excellent change model. Simple and powerful. It helps you break down your change journey into five simple elements; Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. I have invited the Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci, Tim Creasey, to tell us all about the five elements and how we can use each of them when going through a change. And yes, Tim will give you plenty of tips and tricks.
People make most of their decisions automatically. We make them fast and without being aware of them. About 80% of them actually. In this episode, you will learn how to use nudging to help you make those decisions better. As humans, we don’t always make the best automatic decisions. In fact, we often make a decision that our better self doesn’t like. We don't get up early in the morning to exercise; we eat the cookies instead of the apples; we use email instead of Teams. You get the picture. Cristina Gravert is a professor and expert in nudging. In this episode, she will give us tools, tricks and insights on how to use nudging in our personal and professional life. And of course, she will provide us with lots of concrete examples.CHRISTINA WILL TALK ABOUT:What nudging is and why it is cool to be a behavioural economistHow you can design situations to make sure the easy decision also is the right oneWhy some nudges don’t have a lasting effect, and how you can make them doHow nudging can help us get up earlier to do our morning routineARE YOU BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY POINTSWe have collected three key takeaways from the podcast. But that’s not all. There are more goodies in the episode itself, so hopefully, you will go listen to it. #1: Make it easier to make the right decisions Designing our environment - or plainly just making it easier to make the right decisions or harder to continue to do what we want to change - is such an obvious help. And it works. The many examples Christina provides in the episode highlight that. If you want to eat healthier, make unhealthy food less accessible. You can remove it from your sight or place it on the top shelf, so it is more difficult for you to reach. And yes, it has been researched - it really does work.#2: Timing is everythingAnother essential factor is timing. You need to be very clear about when it is that you make those wrong decisions and target that with a nudge. If your need for sugar primarily appears in the afternoon at the office, then it is no use hiding the cookies in your kitchen at home. Reminders and nudges need to come at the right time for it to have any effect.#3: Reduce choice – less is more when making the right decisionsReducing the amount of choice can make us do the right thing. We spend mental energy every time we make a decision. If we are not careful, we will let our automatic selves make the wrong decision. That is why fewer choices are good for us. If I get up early in the morning, and I decided the day before what my exercises should be, that will increase the likelihood that it will happen. I don’t need to think about it in the morning when I am more inclined to go back to bed or make the exercises faster. 
We have all experienced a poor and a great leader. Maybe even at first hand. We have, therefore witnessed the difference. The difference it makes on the individual employee, the team, the customer experience, and the business outcomes. It never ceases to amaze me how big the difference is between poor leaders and great leaders. But if you are a leader, what does it take to change to become a great leader?In this episode, my guest, Jack Zenger, and I will discuss how you can develop as a leader. Because we can all develop to become better leaders. The good news is that there are clear and specific things you can do. The bad news is that it is not easy. As with all changes. Jack Zenger has more than 60 years of experience with leadership development. He is a frequent writer for Harvard Business Review and has written several bestselling books on leadership. He is here to tell us what a good leader is. How to become one. And how to stay one.  JACK WILL TALK ABOUT:That leadership development is just like any other change – same rules apply The importance of immediate application of your new behaviourHow important feedback is for a leader and to give and get good feedbackHow you can hold yourself accountable for your new leadership behaviour ARE YOU BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY POINTSHere are my key takeaways from the podcast. But there are more goodies in the episode itself, so hopefully, you will listen to it. #1: Developing leadership skills is just like any other changeLeadership development is about changing behaviour and, in that sense, developing leadership skills is just like any other change. What works, the pitfalls and good first steps are very similar.#2: Make it stick by being held accountableOne thing is to get awareness of yourself as a leader. Another is knowing what to change and plan to do it. But what is important is to go out and do it. Do what you set out to do. And that is hard. The answer is accountability. You should find ways to hold yourself accountable for your change. Have someone ask if you executed on your new behaviour as you promised. Having to admit out loud that you have not done it will make you more inclined to do it the next day. You are being held accountable.#3: Get some results quickly. Focus on getting results straight away. You shouldn't talk about change happening years from now, not even months from now. You should talk about change happening today. I cannot emphasize the importance of immediate application enough. As Zenger puts it: "If you haven't seen any change in the next six weeks, you will never see any". So, if you want to make a change, you need to do something different tomorrow, and you did not do yesterday.
Habits are crucial if you want to make a change and make it stick. A large part of our daily lives is habitual. But habits scare us because they remind us that parts of our lives are outside of our control. The good news is that habits can help us. Having a string of good habits can help us study well, live healthily, have good relations and be effective at work. Habits are based on three components: context, repetition, and rewards. But what does that exactly mean? I have invited Wendy Wood to discuss how you can form new habits, break old ones, and meet your goals. Wendy is a professor of psychology and business at the University of Southern California and an expert in habits. She will tell us all about how to change bad habits into good habits – which incidentally is (almost) the name of her latest book. WENDY WILL TALK ABOUT:Fully 43% of our actions are habitual - performed without conscious thought. Habits are a big part of our lives and are therefore importantThat we are obsessed with willpower and self-control when we make a change, but this is the wrong strategy. Because it does not workWhy a night at the movies won’t cut it as a reward to yourselfWhy it is often more difficult to change your habits the older you become ARE YOU BUSY? HERE ARE THE KEY POINTSHere are my key takeaways from the podcast. But there are more goodies in the episode itself, so hopefully, you will listen to it. #1: Willpower and self-control is not enoughWillpower will help you in one-off situations and when you want to start a new habit. But you cannot suppress desire - not even with the strongest will. It is not willpower that will keep you from the candy jar. Habits will. People with great willpower just have great habits.#2: Habits are born from the same three elements; context, repetition, and rewards Context is our environment. If the candy jar is placed a little further away, that will cause friction and help you to break that habit. If you sign up to the gym closest to where you live, you are more likely to go. You get the picture.Repetition is the mother of skill. You need to continue to do things over and over to make it habitual. And no, 21 times is not enough. That is a myth. Rewards create a dopamine connection to the behaviour and make it a bit more likely that you will do it again. Intrinsic rewards work the best, and yes, they must come straight after the right behaviour. #3: Your habits are your friends Whether you like it or not, much of your daily behaviour is automatic or habitual. Wendy estimates this to be 43%. So, instead of seeing the hidden part of ourselves as something to fight against, see it as a friend who relieves mental energy for you, so you can pay more attention to the things which really matters.
Welcome to my podcast: What Monkeys Do. This is a podcast about what it takes to make a change and make it stick.Why have I started this podcast? Because change is hard. And you know that. For some reason, you don't always do what you set out to do. I will talk with experts to find out what it takes to make a change. Because success leaves clues, and we have more knowledge and experience than ever about what is required to change well. Let's find out what that is. So, if you are looking for insights, tools, and ideas to help you change yourself or the person standing next to you, you have come to the right place. My name is Morten Kamp Andersen (@mortenkamp) and I'll be your host. I am a part psychologist, part finance guy and part just someone who struggles to change himself.
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