A few years ago I was at a tech conference in San Francisco when I overheard two of the keynote speakers talking. One was a venture capitalist (VC) & the other a successful startup founder.
The founder said something to which the VC responded with a huge smile: “I told you. When you learn how to control dopamine, you become unstoppable.”
It took a few years of reading through countless neurobiology books to figure out what he meant.
I am going to dramatically shorten this for you now #youAreWelcome.
This is what dopamine looks like, out in the wild.
Think about the last time you saw something new that you immediately felt an overwhelming desire to possess. It does not matter what it was. It could even have been the feeling of “love at first sight.”
You may recall that you were suddenly hyper-focused on doing whatever was needed to own this item, or date this person. But once you possessed the item, or went on a few dates, the glimmer and drive vanished.
That’s dopamine. Dopamine is not designed to make humans happy, it is designed to make us hyper-focus on mating, achieving & possessing.
Dopamine sits next to you for the journey & promptly disembarks when you reach your final destination. This is why, people who know how to control their dopamine, tell you that you should enjoy the journey.
Humans have achieved insanely complicated things… developing “bigger, better, faster” innovations in nearly every industry because of dopamine.
This is what dopamine looks like when you control it:
- Write down a goal
- Set a 1-3 minute timer
- For 1-3 minutes think about how good you will feel after you have reached that goal. What will it mean for your family? What will it mean for you? What will that future look like?
- After the time is up, write down exactly what needs to be done to reach that goal. Then while the dopamine is surging in your brain, quickly use that “high” to drive you through the difficult tasks ahead of you.
So, the next time you are struggling to complete a complicated or mundane checklist, take a moment to focus on how good it will feel to have the next task done. Then, while dopamine is swimming around in your brain, quickly get to work.
With warmest regards,
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