Category Archives: brain science

Got the News Blues?

Is keeping up with the daily news giving you the blues?

Well then, stop it already!

One of the key ways to feel happier is to stop focusing attention on things that make you feel miserable, fearful, overwhelmed… like the news!

Naturally, we humans seek what is new and tend to ignore what is old and familiar. The news uses sensationalism to provoke excitement and interest in people (which increases their ratings) at the expense of providing accurate information.

We know that the news is most often skewed one way or the other. Keeping up with inaccurate information that is fed to make people feel afraid and vulnerable is ludicrous.

Why do you want to watch the news even though it makes you feel awful? Well, because you, like all of us are probably addicted to dopamine!

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes us feel good, really good. And wanting to continue to feel that way makes us crave this brain chemical.

Dopamine is the source of all of our addictions. Cocaine, coffee, sex, news… they all give us a hit of it. Even checking our text messages and social media sites give us a hit.

So what? If we like it, lets just keep doing it. I’m always advocating that people do what makes them feel good so what’s my problem with dopamine?

Well my problem is, is that long term, continuing to chase our next hit of dopamine will fuck us up! Big time!

The more we chase the next dopamine hit, the less control we have over ourselves. The more we walk down that shortcut to the dopamine feel good centre, the more our other, more scenic and leisurely paths overgrow.

beautiful path
beautiful path

It’s those scenic and leisurely paths that lead us to creativity and will connect us to our spirit. The more we wander on these more wholesome paths, the happier we will be. The more time we take on these paths,the more able we will be to respond to the situations in our lives that are effecting us directly with compassion and care.

Leave the news off. Focus on yourself, your immediate surroundings and making the small changes you can make on a daily basis to make these surroundings more harmonious, beautiful and fulfilling.

That’s the news for today.

 

Always Get What You Want and Achieve your Goals

How to never let a goal go unaccomplished again –> Don’t set any  goals.

How to get what you want –> Want what you get.

Every one knows the classic way to set a goal right? The classic “SMART” goal formula?

Specific
Measurable
Action orientated
Realistic
Time based

Well… I don’t know about you, but I’ve set a fair amount of these kind of goals… I rarely accomplish them, and often I “change my mind” before I cross the finish line and smack the hand of accomplishment as I wiz by singing my own celebratory tune.

bAdAss quick tip: If a tool doesn’t work, don’t use it. 

We all  have brains. Our brains are malleable, and yes, they have more plasticity than we initially imagined. That being said, our human nature is still to stay the same. Our human nature is to go towards comfort and away from pain and discomfort.

And guess what? Typically making positive changes in the direction of living a badass fulfilling and awesome life is frickin’ scary!

Ahhhhhh! Scream loud if you’re scared. Ahhhhhhh!

Studies are finding now that goal setting can actually be detrimental not only for individuals, but also on the corporate level. Large companies that set high goals for producing products can tend to skip necessary steps and use unethical ways to accomplish these goals.

Example: Ford made a goal to build a car that was less than 2000 pounds and less than $2000. They did it! But at what price? They skipped safety testing and later discovered that the gas tank was quick to explode if rear-ended. Fifty-three people died. Oops!

Read Ford Pinto’s defence in the Chicago Tribune Feb.19, 1980

Setting specific goals can affect you negatively! They can

  • Leave you slacking and losing balance in other areas of your life
  • Lead to narrow minded thinking
  • Promote white lies to yourself and others to achieve it
  • Increase sense of ego
  • Decrease intrinsic motivation

Wow! See?! Goals are nothing but bad news!

Okay so now you are left asking “well what the heck? If I want to release my inner bAdAss I gotta do something, and now you’re telling me not to set goals so what the hell?!”

What the hell is right! So what I say always is find out what works for you and DO THAT! If you set goals and accomplish them, by all means keep doing it. And teach me how please! But if you want an alternative, I have some ideas.

If you must make goals, figure out the goal formula that works for you. Do you work best with big goals or small ones? Large concepts or specifics?

bAdAss quick tip: Don’t let anyone else tell you what works for you. 

Personally I like using large concepts and I give them a year to come into my life. I write the concepts down on a piece of paper that is taped to my wall where I look in the mirror in the morning when I wake up. I read the words and watch them slowly fade on the paper as they develop into my life. If I were to recommend anything about setting goals, this would be my advice.

  • Make them awesome, fun and exciting! If you wanna get stronger, then join a class that is fun, like kickboxing, breakdancing or gymnastics.
  • Know in your heart why achieving that goal is important to you. Whatever it is, you must have a reason.
  • Do not make your fears goal orientated. i.e.”Stop eating burned toast so I don’t get cancer”. Never make goals based on fear.
  • Life is for enjoying and having fun. If working on the things you want more of in life isn’t fun then why would you want more of them in the first place?

How about this for a goal: Enjoy today as much as possible.

:)

QUOTE

“You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are” — Les Brown

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/goals-gone-wild-the-systematic-side-effects-of-over-prescribing-goal-setting