Home » Guiding Difficult Decisions from “Monkey Brain” to “Wise Mind”: Lance Pendleton (Transcript)

Guiding Difficult Decisions from “Monkey Brain” to “Wise Mind”: Lance Pendleton (Transcript)

Lance Pendleton at TEDxFultonStreet

Full transcript of William Pitt Sotheby’s TEDx Talk: Guiding difficult decisions from “monkey brain” to “wise mind”  at TEDxFultonStreet conference.

Lance Pendleton –  VP of Sales at William Pitt Sotheby

For the past 20 years, I’ve been really working hard to try and help develop sales strategies for Fortune 500 companies and the high-end professionals that actually work for them, to develop a way for me to take two skills sets that I’ve learned from the past and I’ve studied: one of them being humanistic Buddhism, and sales psychology.

And if you take these two and meld them together, I can actually help sales professionals identify the best way to get someone to say yes, or sometimes no, depending upon really developing that key component, which is identifying how do I get to a relationship.

And most all of our relationships are driven off of really understanding where someone comes from. I’ll talk about one example today on how we do that.

I’ll use a visualization for you. I want you to think about you’re going away, you’re taking a trip, it’ll be a nice, long weekend, you’re excited. But you have to leave somebody home in charge of the house while you’re gone.

So you decide you’re going to leave George home.

Now, what do you think your house is going to look like when you come back? If you have teenagers you already know the answer to this. Because it’s not going to be pretty. This is our mind.

And inside of our mind, we have this process that happens all day long. We’re projecting forwards, backwards, analysis, thinking, it’s how we actually defend ourselves.

And at the core of what we do in this process, we actually camp into two separate areas. Buddhists call this constant frenetic energy “monkey mind.” George.

When you have this frenetic energy that happens all the time, we tend to develop two separate mindsets to protect ourselves. And the two separate mindsets are an emotional mind and a reasonable mind.

We’ll talk about what these things look like.

First things first is, let’s talk about a reasonable mind.

Reasonable Mind

What’s a reasonable minded person?

The reasonable mind is somebody that actually has linear thought process. They really prefer linear thought, They like things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, they like thinking about things in a systematic fashion. This systematic fashion helps them seek and find comfort.

Emotional Mind

The next part of this, though, is that emotionally minded person. I’ll put my hand up, I’m that person.

The emotionally minded person seeks their comfort in drawing from happiness, joy, sadness, anger, frustration, moments like today, anxiety.

And in that, it’s very difficult for somebody to make a conscious, healthy, yes or no decision.

Wise Mind, also known as Intuition

Why? Because when you’re based and camped out in those places, you can’t actually feel centered.

In order to actually make the best decision in terms of a yes, or sometimes no, we actually have to find that center. And that’s what Buddhists called wise mind, that center piece, that also is known as intuition.

So what does this look like in a real life practice?

Well, I’ll give you a true story. We’re all familiar with one of my favorites, Muhammad Ali.

Now, Muhammad Ali was known for that, what, emotion. He was always emotional. One of the things that Muhammad Ali was most famous for was that bravado that he always exuded.

He had a fight coming up and he was being followed around by a boxing reporter. He was sitting on a plane and the stewardesses had come and told him four times to please put his seat-belt on so they could take off. And he was paying absolutely no attention to them.

So the fifth time, one of the stewardesses just had enough. She came to him and she said, “Mister Ali, I need you to put your seat-belt on now.”

He looked up at her and said, “Baby, Superman don’t need no seat-belt.”

She looked back at him and said, “With all due respect, Mister Ali, Superman don’t need no plane. Now put the damn seat-belt on so we can leave.”

Emotional mind, reasoning, coming together.

What does it look like when you’re talking to someone that is a reasoning mind in person?

Well, let’s say you’re frustrated because you’re waiting to go somewhere and your partner comes home, and we’re late, right? And you say to them, “We’re late, why are we late?”

And what do you get? “I was on the way here, I was parked behind this blue car, I’m sure it was a Ford Focus. When I was waiting for us to get going, the light changed. I noticed we were on Smith Street and thought maybe I’d make an extra right. But there was a house that was for sale, I didn’t remember if we had that or not. But all of a sudden my mom called, and when my mom called…” some of you are laughing because you know this person.

That can be stopped by asking the person, “That’s great. I totally understand that, but how do you feel when we’re late?” It changes the mindset.

The fact that I actually shared that analogy means I’ll be sleeping on the couch tonight.

But what does the other side look like?

Well, the other side, we’re all really familiar with. The emotion, that set emotion that comes and gears up and what happens? Locked out to the rest of the world.

So how do we change that? Well you’ve seen this because – “Timmy, you can’t – Please put the candy bar down.”

“I just want a candy bar.”

And you’re like, “My God, I can’t deal with this right now.”

Watch what happens if you said, “Timmy, tell me something. What’s two plus two?”

“I don’t what two plus two is, I want a candy bar.”

“Timmy, you know. What’s two plus two?”

“I don’t know. Four? But I want a candy bar.”

“That’s great, four, you know what four – What’s four plus one? You know, I know you know -”

“I don’t know – Five?”

“That’s great! You’re a genius, look at that! What’s five minus one?”


All of a sudden, we’ve moved from that full-on emotional state, bringing it forward.

Now, this is actually doable and possible because what happens in relationships, especially in a sales situation, is as we go to defend ourselves in high-stress moments, we pick one of those.

So in my industry, when you talk to someone that may be selling a home, if you’re talking to someone that’s in full emotional state, because we all love our homes, you have somebody in that process that’s talking directly at all of these emotions: We lived here for X numbers of years, we’ve done all of this stuff, we remodeled the kitchen. Our children were born here, Timmy lost his tooth there, right. Mind you, Timmy’s in the kitchen having a full meltdown also.

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