How Dopamine Affects Your Success

dopamine [ doh-puh-meen ]

noun

A catecholamine neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, retina, and sympathetic ganglia, acting within the brain to help regulate movement and emotion.


Unless you're on some Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz / Rich Sanchez type of drugs, you didn't understand what the fuck that actually meant.


Nonetheless, this topic is important and it may - if not properly understood and taken care of - hinder your potential success and delay whatever goals you have, for quite some time.




Within the next few minutes you will become aware of the concept:

  • Dopamine

  • Examples, and how those can lead to addiction without you even knowing.

  • You'll also understand how to escape the continuous loop of "Instant gratification" and implement alternatives, which will lead you to a more fulfilling lifestyle.

 

What is "Dopamine"?

To put it shortly, dopamine is a hormone your body releases when you do something that triggers an act of short term pleasure, whether that is eating a certain food or celebrating a little win.


It is a reward chemical that makes the brain say "This feels good, I want more" and potentially affects our motivation to do certain things.


An Instagram notification is a simple example of your brain releasing dopamine. You know what I'm talking about, right?

You get curious and your ego gets fed when that happens. You want more and you want to experience that over and over again.


The same goes for consuming fast food, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, playing video games, watching adult sites, gambling, etc. I call those supernormal stimuli and you'll see why.

  • On the left, we can see what happens when we naturally raise our dopamine level, when eating an apple, swimming in a calm sea or even something as simple as listening to your favourite music - you name it.

  • On the right, we can see what happens when we consume/do something that is not natural to our brain, such as watching porn or eating a piece of chocolate. It's an abnormal jump compared to what we gain from normal activities which raise dopamine the natural way.


And then we ask ourselves why do we procrastinate? Why do we rather watch Netflix than listen to a podcast or read a book? Why can't we focus? Because our brain got used to a higher dopamine release. And eating a salad or going on a walk just doesn't give us enough satisfaction and pleasure any more.


But the question "Why do we want to do it over and over again?" remains open.


Lemme get into some biological shit (it'll be quick, I swear, I just want you to understand this):


Those red lil' balls are dopamine hormones, which need to get transmitted somehow throughout our body. They do that through dopamine receptors (on the picture, the green pac-man wannabes)


IMPORTANT: Because in our world we are constantly exposed to supernormal stimuli, our dopamine receptors (thingies that transmit dopamine) get damaged, leaving us in a need for more and more stimuli so we can satisfy ourselves again and "feel happy". And this is that endless loop that we cannot escape - we crave more fast food, sugar, notifications, messages, porn, nicotine, drugs, etc. The next step is addiction.


Yeah, we're pretty much fucked, especially with all these new stuff coming in, such as VR technology, different types of fast food and marketing strategies which basically know about us more than we know about ourselves. If you've watched The Social Dilemma you probably know that FB, Google and others already got us bent over.


But are we really that much fucked? Can we actually fully rewire our brains?


 

Can we Escape the Eternal Loop of Instant Gratification?

Well, no, we can't.

Sorry :)

It's because we're exposed to stuff like that 24/7, and we can't just go to a random fucking forest in Norway and live there for the rest of our lives with a random grizzly bear which we named Ted.


We have to understand that even though almost everyone preaches dopamine is bad, that's not actually true.

What we can do is rewire our brains as much as possible with beneficial alternatives. Because if we dive deep into every supernormal stimulus, we'll see that there's a healthier alternative every single time.


The problem with rewiring our brains is that due to dopamine deficiency we will have mood swings, low energy, lack of motivation and even low self-esteem, but with enough willpower and dedication, everyone can overcome those short-term side-effects and live as every human should live - naturally, peacefully and happily.

 

Alternatives


The four main alternatives one can implement in their life ASAP are:

  • Quality sleep

It all starts with a quality sleep schedule. Pick a time when you'll go to sleep and when you'll wake up with 7-8 hours of sleep and stick to it. And I'm not talking about those 3 AM - 11 AM sleeping routines. Have a normal 11 PM - 7 AM night routine and stick to it no matter what - even if that means going home early from your friends' house (don't worry, you'd lose that FIFA match anyway).


Also, don't look at your phone 1 hour before sleep. Setting a quality night routine will elevate your dopamine levels naturally as you will feel more relaxed and energized the next day.

  • A healthy diet (to which you can stick to)

Having McNuggets every once in a while is okay. But eating fast/sugary foods on a daily basis is a no-no. Except if you're on period. Or if you're doing a dirty bulk (not advised).

A healthy diet doesn't mean a tasteless diet. There are many recipes that are way better than any fast food (not really, but they do come close).


Also, eating foods that are rich in tyrosine, such as chicken, eggs and nuts, are a natural way of raising your dopamine levels, due to enzymes within your body, which are capable of turning tyrosine into dopamine, so having adequate tyrosine levels is important for dopamine production.


  • Physical activity

Physical activity not only raises your dopamine level but also releases endorphins - another weird-ass hormone, a natural painkiller that reduces stress and sets you up for the day, feeling confident.


The main thing to point out here is that you need to choose your activity, whether that is going on a run, boxing, going to the gym, etc. Do what makes you happy and do it on a daily basis. Those 10min / day workouts don't count, that's just being lazy. Pick an activity you like and dive into it.

  • Mental clarity

Like it or not, you have too much shit on your mind and meditation is a great way to calm your inner self. It's also a great way to understand how you feel and why you feel like that, which provides the same feeling of satisfaction and happiness dopamine can provide.

Besides that, you'll see how much clearer your mind will become, allowing you to think about relevant stuff.

  • Achieving small goals

Last, but not least - split up your vision into smaller targets. Whether your goal is short, mid or long-term, set up a system of how you're going to achieve it.


Every time you achieve a goal, whether it be career, personal or finance-oriented, you feel happy because you just did something good for yourself. Your brain releases a loooot of dopamine when that happens. So instead of watching Netflix, be proactive and get after your goals.

 

Extra tip: setting small goals

Since I'm already talking about setting goals, I might as well give you an insight into how I actually organize my future plans. This is a real-life example of one of my goals (and also one of the most important ones) till the end of the year.


For example One of my goals till the end of the year is to dive into an unknown field I know nothing about, learn about it, become an intermediate and decide if I have a passion for it to continue. So, I implemented my 4-Step System and decided to dive into blockchain technology.


6 months (JULY - DEC) :

  • Invest > 100 hours into learning about blockchain and have a full(-ish) understanding of the topic

  • Complete > 4 courses

3 months (JULY-SEP):

  • Complete > 2 courses (which will take me approx. 40 hours)

  • Read > 15 articles

1 month (AUG):

  • Complete 2nd course (intermediate level)

  • Read >5 articles

1 week (16.8.2021 - 22.8.2021):

  • Complete >70% of the 2nd course and revise notes from the 1st course

  • Read 2 articles


Every time I achieve one goal, no matter how small, I am happy knowing that I'm one step closer to my vision.

 

Hopefully, you learned something from this blog and found the tips useful. I will be posting 1 blog every 2 weeks, on Sunday - if you have any requests about what I should write next, don't hesitate to contact me on my socials:


IG: @edisbabahmetovic

LinkedIn: Edis Babahmetovic

Facebook: Edis Babahmetovic






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