Money and the Three Little Brains

Once upon a time there were three little brains. One day, they decided to each build a home to provide protection from the big bad money wolf who always seemed to be out to get them.

The first little brain built a primitive shelter out of instinctive reactions like fight, flight and freeze. The second little brain built a slightly larger shelter using emotions, where he stored his memories and experiences. The highly motivated third little brain built a strong, sturdy home out of logic, thinking, reflection and reasoning.

By and by, after the three little brains had spent some time enjoying their new homes, the big, bad money wolf came sneaking along, having heard about these little brains hiding from him in their new homes. He knew that they couldn’t keep him away!

First he approached the primitive, reactive home. “This will be a piece of cake,” he declared. With a booming, scary voice, the big, bad money wolf shouted, “Little brain, little brain, let me in!” Shocked, frightened and unable to move, the first little brain timidly replied, “not by the cells of my brainy, brain stem.” Angered by this response, the money wolf replied, “Then I will huff, and I will puff, and I will blow your house down!” The little brain just froze inside his primitive shelter, shaking with sheer fright. The money wolf took a deep breath and blew out a devastating, hurricane-like wind. The primitive house blew apart instantly, and the frozen, fearful little brain suddenly screamed and took off running as fast as he could go.

The money wolf gave chase but the first little brain arrived safely in the second little brains house of emotion, memories and experiences. This house was a little bigger than the primitive shelter and presented a bit more of a challenge to the money wolf. But once again he demanded in a frightening tone, “Little brains, little brains, let me in!” The second little brain was feeling quite upset and was worried about his house. “Did I make it strong enough? What if I made a mistake? What will we do if he gets inside?” The first little brain was once again frozen in panic and was unable to help. Courageously, the second little brain answered, “Not by the veins of my limby, limbic brain!”

The furious money wolf once again shouted back, “Then I will huff, and I will puff, and I will blow your house down!” The two little brains prayed the house of emotion would stand, but soon they heard a thunderous wind bellowing all around them. The house began to shake and shimmy – then suddenly everything came crashing down around the little brains. They both ran away as fast as any brain has ever run, and just in the nick of time shot through the door of the third brain’s house into safety, slamming the door on the money wolf’s nose.

The third little brain, curious as to what had just happened, questioned his two friends and learned of their horrifying experience. “Not to worry.” The third brain said. “I have built this house from the strongest materials, I have thought of every possible disaster and I am certain that we will be safe.” From outside the house, they heard the money wolf once again, this time even more angry than ever before. “Little brains, little brains, you better let me in now!” The third brain, confident of his strong home, replied, “Not by the neurons of my frontal lobe lobe, you silly money wolf!”

The first little brain suddenly shifted to fight mode, screaming with rage at the money wolf through the door to leave them alone. The second little brain was crying hysterically, blaming the entire situation on his poorly constructed house. The third little brain calmly surveyed the scene and waited…

Once again, the money wolf took a deep breath and blew with all of his might. But the house did not move. Again, he took the deepest breath he could muster, blowing with all the strength he had, but nothing happened. He tried one last desperate attempt, but failing to cause even the slightest shutter of this intellectual fortress, he slumped off in defeat.

“The money wolf is gone!” exclaimed the third brain. “I told you we had nothing to fear.” From that day on, the three little brains decided that they would all live in one home where they could work together to create a better life – each with a specific job.

The first brain will keep the basic systems of the house running, and if there is an emergency he will react quickly and help get the others out of trouble. The second brain will keep track of their memories and experiences, and when they need a good laugh or cry, he will be there to lead the way. The third brain will be the mastermind and make sure everything is running smoothly together. As any challenges arise, he will think them through and be the problem solver. They agreed to let third brain be in charge of any future dealings with the money wolf.

How do you deal with the money wolf? Which brain are you operating from?

If you feel like the first or second brain, you are certainly not alone.  Most of us still primarily react from our primitive brains when dealing with stress (which money causes a lot of!). As a money coach, my goal is to help individuals operate from their thinking brain when it comes to issues around money, resulting in a more abundant and joyful life. With a little time and effort, you can build that third brain fortress and keep the money wolf at bay!