Developing Discipline.

Just a personal post to keep myself accountable. I learnt this in one of my day’s off, in my attempt at increasing my productivity.

Any activity which anticipates a potential reward, releases dopamine.

The highest dopamine release occurs when one is taken by surprise. In today’s age, we are amidst dopamine overload with constant distraction. Whether that be trivial entertainment, or the like. As a result, homeostasis is utilized by the body as a means of maintaining dopamine receptors. This in-turn results in a dopamine tolerance. Working hard, releases dopamine in lower amounts, in comparison to other pursuits… such as browsing the internet.

Sugar addiction, or addiction toward any kind of substances for instance, will illicit an immediate dopamine response. The instant gratification we seek, is fleeting… and the repercussions, long-lasting.

So, why is dopamine tolerance bad? Because it leads to a lack of motivation, and laziness. One will be led to do unfulfilling things–trivial things such as entertainment, for the dopamine it provides, as opposed to anything constructive, such as practicing the piano or working on developing their business.

Therein, one must lead themselves to a dopamine detox.

To keep myself disciplined. I do these things:
I quit sugar.
I quit coffee.
I fast for 24-hours a day.
My dietary choice is vegan.
I am voluntarily celibate.
I abstain from television and watching media for enjoyment.
I, however read books for my primary source of entertainment.
I choose a voluntarily hermetic lifestyle. Not having many social ties, apart from colleagues.
I abstain from all social-media, outside of this blog.
I have been partaking in ice-cold showers for three months.
And I try my best to humble myself, in any given situation.

To be fair, my dopamine tolerance is quite low.

Just as well. I don’t reward myself with anything instantly gratifying… a reward which would take days to manifest, or to develop, is far more constructive. For instance, ordering a good book is both productive, but also rewarding past wasting one’s money on wining and dining at expensive places. I’m not into that scene at all, and I am most certain that for the remainder of my life… I never will be.

A good example of a dopamine inducing scenario, would be infatuation or lust felt toward another individual. Entertaining fantasies for instance, provide an impermanent high with no staying power. Being ‘love-sick’, is a common instance. Mere infatuation is comparable to those, growing in love (notice that I did not say ‘falling’). The journey and reward of cultivating a relationship, with discernible ‘staying power’, is one which provides a greater reward. Albeit, the dopamine released through that instance isn’t as ‘powerful’ as a one-night-stand would be… the rewards are sporadic, and produced in incremental portions here and there as per the nature of life’s chaos (of course, save for life-changing moments like marriage or birthing children). The difference is that the rewards of a long-term relationship, that is, if it is one that is considerably healthy, is lasting… although the ‘shots’ of dopamine are smaller in comparison to a one-night stand. To me, the triviality of one-night-stands never made any sense to me. You would like to boink someone without even knowing them personally? That’s gross. Ew (you are free to do what you will). As for idealizing individuals, I will however admit that I had fallen, time and time again… victim, to idealizing individuals in a romantic sense. Yes, I have wasted many hours daydreaming about marrying the man of my dreams. And how we’d have children, and how he’d say that he loved me, and how he’d understand me better anyone else. Hehehehe, damn, that’s some fantastic shit.

Note: Idealizing people is a disappointing endeavor. Although, we are led to believe that people are all the more impressive far away… upon further inspection, and getting closer, we realize that they were not. Everyone has ugliness to them, no matter how seemingly impressive they appear to one, at a surface level of inspection. Idealizing individuals is quite selfish, in an implicit way. We place expectations upon the other, that of course, would, by most realistic conventions, be impossible to fulfill.

It is best to lower your expectations toward others. Find someone who is a complement, not someone who is perfect. As my homeboy, Jodorowsky would say: Too much perfection is a mistake.

But that’s just a dream isn’t it? From the land of make-believe, it is. Not at all, is it productive. Eventually, I will be rid of this fantasy so that I may focus on what is truly important.

Now…

If you were to ask me where my main source of excitement comes from… it is primarily created by my discovering new pieces of knowledge, and disseminating that information to others (hence, why I became an Academic and teacher). Whether that be what a constant harmony is, within music theory, or how one can learn music theory by 88 keys of the piano… I will be exclaiming how great this is to others. I don’t rightly do it, to proclaim my superiority over anyone. I would say that, from my aversion to anything which would effect my dopamine response, my tolerance is quite low. I don’t care for distraction outside of that, although admittedly I had fallen into the trap of wandering around the internet here and there. Reading articles, watching pointless videos, leaving nonsensical comments here and there (if you find me, say hello)… and listening to music. Who hasn’t from time to time?

And just as well… practicing the piano, from my experience generates a good dopamine response. Hitting the keys is rewarding. Lest you were forced to practice the piano as a young child, which thankfully I wasn’t. I choose to play the piano.

Also, don’t fall into the trap that I tend to. Over-thinking things. Analysis-paralysis. If you want to do it, just fucking doing it.

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