Amygdala, Survival Tendency

Survival is about fear, aggression, instinct, and reaction. These survival tendencies work for the short lifespans of animals in savannahs, forests, and jungles. They don’t work in the sophisticated networks and lifespans of organizational cultures.

The survival tendencies are in all of us. They come from the part of our brain called the Amygdala. gives this explanation:

“Definition and Function of the Amygdala. The amygdala is an almond-shaped section of nervous tissue located in the temporal (side) lobe of the brain … They are thought to be a part of the limbic system within the brain, which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory.”

When the amygdala is activated:

  • Rational thought goes out the window.
  • Short-sighted thinking prevails.
  • And relationships suffer.

Ultimately, the amygdala is responsible for the majority of problems that arise in school culture. The struggle is not against people. It’s not against a strategy. It’s not against a mandate.

It’s against our very nature that hides deep in the core of our brains – the amygdala.


Here are a few previous posts that focus on creating the conditions where survival tendencies are not needed:



PS – Today’s Mafost Mashup will feature an incredible interview with the author of the Better Leaders Better Schools Roadmap. This easy-to-read book is an essential guide to taking control of your Amygdala and executing strategic leadership and school improvement.





One response to “Amygdala, Survival Tendency”

  1. […] is not a conscious fault. It’s your brain on delay. It’s your amygdala doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. It’s seeking to protect […]