D is for Dopamine

D is for Dopamine

couch cat

Ugh.

I couldn’t get it together today. I think it’s the lack of dopamine. According to the science, sugar gives me a nice dopamine hit, and then I want another one, and another one, and the more sugar I eat, the more it takes to get the same quality high.

Maybe that’s why I felt so listless today: I’m jonesin’ for my dopamine.

I ate some scrambled eggs and after that? I don’t remember. The day just drifted away.

My shower was a big activity. Then, around 4 PM I remembered the old adage:  “energy creates energy” and drove to the gym.

Hooked myself into the treadmill, stuck the latest James Altucher podcast in my earbuds and clocked a respectable 8K steps on my Garmin.

But it didn’t make me feel any better. I went home and took a nap.

G is doing better than I am. At least today.

Bully for her.

I think part of my drekky mood is that I need more than a body hack project. I need a something intellectually juicy and exciting and I can’t figure out what.

Frustrating.

How To Own The World

The Healthy and the Focused are going run the world. They will be the only ones who will be able to. Who else will be able to run companies and businesses, create art, make breakthroughs in science and technology? Who else will innovate?

In addition, the Healthy and the Focused will  be the only ones able to parent healthy and focused kids, who will then become the next generation of world leaders and dominators.

Think about it: If you are always sick (and the population in general is getting sicker and sicker—hello Type 2 diabetes!) you won’t be able to work consistently, reliably, or well.

If you are unhealthy you won’t even BE at work half the time because you’ll be in bed, or running to doctor appointments all the time. And whenever you DO manage to drag your sorry butt to work, you will probably suck at it because you’ll be so depleted from being sick. You will have no energy and you won’t be able to think clearly. You will be nothing but a barnacle, a parasite, a worthless burden to your employer.

If by some miracle you are able to hold on to that job, good for you. But terrible for any enterprise that depends on your work, because your work will be miserable. Like you.

But say you are relatively healthy, but your problem is that you can’t stay focused long enough to get your work done. You have the attention span of a gnat. You spend all day putting out little brush fires, or dealing with office politics, or doing other tangential minutia–work that doesn’t ask that you sit down, focus, and try to solve a problem.

Lots of people think that focus isn’t a skill that needs to be learned and cultivated. Lots of people think that they can just make up their minds and do it: 1, 2, 3—Focus!

But this is a fairy tale. Focus is something that has to be cultivated. Like big muscles. You can’t have killer biceps if you don’t lift heavy things. You can’t focus on a job and stick to it unless you’ve trained your brain through meditation, or yoga, or even reading.

I read a great piece this morning called, “Why can’t we read anymore.” The answer?  Because we are addicted to the dopamine hit we get from social media and email. We are addicted to distraction.

The writer of this piece was bemoaning the fact that he himself only read 4 books last year, which is ironic because he curates 2 websites about public domain books, and making print and ebooks, and he even wrote a book about the future of books.

But even he has fallen under the spell of Facebook and Twitter and email because those sites give him a big dopamine hit of The new! The shiny! The exciting!  But he is also smart enough to know that this is the path to slavery and despair and he is now setting some boundaries around his media consumption to free up more time to read.

He quotes Werner Herzog as saying: “Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.”

I live in a place where the diabesity epidemic is everywhere I look, and I am worried. Cops, fire-fighters, clerks in stores, cooks in restaurants, people who make the goods and services I consume and depend on, may all be sick and distracted most of the time.

Yikes. I hope I don’t have a heart attack or a fire. I cross my fingers that the chef in my favorite restaurant isn’t germing up my food. I hope the mechanic who fixes my brakes doesn’t overlook something.

If we are going to own the world, we have to stay healthy and focused.

Let’s work on that, okay?