Take This Drug to Achieve Your Goals

 Picture courtesy of  Nicola Rinaldo

Picture courtesy of Nicola Rinaldo

We all want to achieve our goals.

Well I guess most of us do. There are those trolls that still live in their mother's basement who chastise the world sharing their distain without making any attempts to improve their communities. 

You clearly aren't one of those people.

You have goals and aspirations you are working towards. Good on you. You are someone who wants to make an impact in the world. You want to be a part of the community of doers and influencers looking to make creative, social, and entrepreneurial change in this world. Again, a tip of the ol' cap to you. 

Setting and reaching goals can be challenging at times. We set out to achieve certain heights only to have time pass by and see our goals wither away. This is partly due to your mindset in reaching said goals. 

Simon Sinek, TED speaker and author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, offers insight on the four neurotransmitters of happiness and success. He goes over how endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin combine in a chemical foray to produce happiness in the workplace and our lives.

Dopamine, he notes, is responsible for our goal setting successes and failures. Dopamine is produces an addictive feeling in the brain. Dopamine is released when we accomplish a task and likewise when we take drugs such as cocaine, nicotine and alcohol. It is highly addictive. 

The importance of how dopamine effects the brain and how it influences consciousness in goal setting cannot be understated. 

Dopamine is like a drug. It's highly addictive. The body craves it. If you're not taking cocaine on a regular basis your brain is looking for other ways to get its fix.

Enter social media and to-do lists. 

Are you one of those people that can drive well and also text at the same time? Many claim that is their adept ability to multitask. Sinek says otherwise, 

"We know that engagement with social media and our cellphones releases a chemical called dopamine, that's why, when you get a text, it feels good, right? We've all had it when you're feeling a bit down and a bit lonely and you send out 10 texts to 10 friends... 'cause it feels good when you get a response. It's why we count the likes, it's why we go back 10 times to see."

You're probably just addicted to dopamine and your phone/social media is the crack pipe. 

Now what if we could use dopamine to further our creative output and entrepreneurial energies? It sounds great and it's possible. Here's how.

1. Write down your goals on a to-do list

I know I've had a tough time with this. I think to myself, what's the point of writing them down? I have a decent memory. I know what I want, I can see the goal in my head and complete it when I complete it. 

Putting the goal down on paper (or perhaps in your "notes" app on your smart device) allows you to check it off when you've completed it. This allows for a shot of dopamine to be released in the brain. It feels fucking good to cross small goals off. Get addicted to crushing small projects.

2. Use social media as a tool and not a platform for a smoke screen life.

Okay, so you're creating work. Great. Now is when you use the crack pipe as a tool rather than paraphernalia. Getting "likes" and comments on social media is great. If you're going to be on it, promote your work and get those hypodermic Instagram hits by promoting your work rather than the haircut you got earlier today. Your work has meaning, your mimosa at brunch doesn't. Hell, you're going to use the app anyway, might as well have it benefit you than work against you.

3. Moderation of taking the drug is key

Abusing anything in life never ends well. When one abuses drugs he or she will end up dead, homeless or in jail. Abusing food leads to an unhealthy life. Abusing sex leads to being once the greatest golfer in the world to the laughing stock of the modern day man (sorry I'm not sorry, Tiger). Dopamine will do the same. If you are going to use this drug to help accomplish your goals you need to use it in moderation. Dopamine can consume you and pull you right back into the state of comparison of others and feeling inadequate. Turn your phone on airplane mode when you sleep. Keep your phone in your pocket when out to dinner with friends and family. Let every hit be a productive one. 

4. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem

Ahh yes. Alcoholics Anonymous and their iconic first step: admit you have a problem. If you're reading this and it all doesn't hit you, have you considered you might be completely numb already? Perhaps. I have friends who are always on their phones. They will be at work, when things are really busy and pull out their phone to get a little dose. Waiting in life for the bathroom at a concert to get a fix (really, at a concert? There's already stimuli that will put your friend in Cleveland's double bacon gastropub burger to shame). 

Consider you might have a problem. Once you do so, you'll be able to use the drug to your advantage and actually make progress in your life.