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Dopamine. The missing piece of the success puzzle. (Improve Locus of Control, Motivation, Self-control)

ChrisV

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Okay, we’re going to get into some deep and really cool stuff here. I bounced back and forth for almost a year on this forum as to whether I even wanted to post about this, since I’m planning on saving the materials for a book. But the more I think about it I think it's such an essential thread that I'd feel like a dick for not posting. Plus putting things out there helps you refine your ideas.

I know there's a lot of info here but this post is going to go over ways to actual, scientifically validated ways to improve Locus of Control, increase Motivation, boost Self-Control and build all the traits that are core to building wealth. Again, this is all scientifically validated, evidence-based approaches. Not the stuff you hear that have you feeling motivated for a week, then once the effect wanes you’re back in the same boat.

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Understanding this stuff can have a whopping effect on your bottom line, health and happiness. This is often the 'missing link' to success. If you’re already wealthy, this can help make you wealthier. If you havent yet achieved success, this may be the magic ticket. It may also improve your happiness, your relationships and other major areas. This stuff took me a good 10+ years to piece together out and it’s the info I wish I had when I was 21.

A lot of this comes from my personal battles as well as other things. Up until the age of around 25 I was a chronic underachiever. My IQ was in the top 5%, but what was I doing? Working at a Water Damage Removal company. People would tell me ‘dude you can do so much more… why are you cleaning water out of people’s basements?’ I honestly didn't know the answer to that.

It made me not only want to figure out my own life, but figure out why some people were successful in life and why some weren’t in order to reverse engineer it for anyone. So I did what I always do… pour over the data and connect the dots.

This post will be broken into two sections: what causes people to be successful according to data, and how you can potentially use that info to become even more successful.

So before we even go into anything, we have to very briefly define the personality traits a little bit, since personality traits play an enormous role in any type of life success. Big 5 personality is somewhat similar to the MBTI, it just has a lot more scientific validity. So bear with me if there are any complicated technical terms as everything will be explained. There’s no need to memorize any of these terms, just get an idea of the different traits.



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So okay, what makes somebody successful? Well, of course, to find out we’ll look at the data. This is a chart I made from data taken from a study on how personality traits and intelligence predict career success:

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Data from: THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS, GENERAL MENTAL ABILITY, AND CAREER SUCCESS ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN, (T Judge et al)

How to read the chart: basically the higher the number and the darker the box, the bigger the correlation. A 1.0 correlation is a perfect correlation but those are virtually nonexistent in Social Science research. .3 considered is big, .4 is really big, .5 is enormous. Even .2 is a pretty decent finding. So don’t look for any perfect 1.0 correlations. They’re unicorns. They don’t exist except when measuring the same exact thing.

So what does this tell us? Again, the darker the color, the higher the correlation. So for Extrinsic Career Success, the most notable correlations are with g-Mental Ability (general intelligence) and a trait called Conscientiousness, both coming at whopping .5 correlations. From Wikipedia:

Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being careful, or diligent. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally dependable. It is manifested in characteristic behaviors such as being neat, and systematic; also including such elements as carefulness, thoroughness, and deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting.)

Going back to the chart, Conscientiousness predicted Extrinsic career success even better than intelligence. I’m not going to focus on Intelligence here, since there aren’t many reliable methods of improving it as of now. Maybe we’ll go into it in another post, but for now, Conscientiousness is the biggest thing we can improve and this trait has a whopping effect on success. Learning to harness it will give people pretty much whatever level of success they want.

Conscientiousness also predicts success in a number of other areas:

Our findings suggest that conscientiousness is the trait most broadly associated with marital satisfaction in this sample of long-wed couples.

Personality traits and marital satisfaction within enduring relationships - Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

People with high Conscientiousness were also found to earn better SAT scores, have higher educational attainment, have a lower BMI, have better health, are less likely to divorce or become single mothers/fathers and a number of other important measures.

This article investigates how personality and cognitive ability relate to measures of objective success (income and wealth) and subjective success (life satisfaction, positive [emotion], and lack of negative [emotion].) Thus, the benefits of conscientiousness may be remarkable more for their ubiquity than for their magnitude.

Who Does Well in Life? Conscientious Adults Excel in Both Objective and Subjective Success - Frontiers in Psychology

According to Dr. DeYoung’s model Conscientiousness has two facets (subcategories) - Orderliness and Industriousness. Orderliness is organizational skills and Industriousness is essentially being a hard worker. Industriousness is a much better predictor. In other words, Being hard working is an enormous predictor of success. May sound obvious, but we need ways to boost that trait.


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Conscientiousness also a very good predictor of overall happiness:

In general, conscientiousness has a positive relationship with subjective well-being, particularly satisfaction with life, so highly conscientious people tend to be happier with their lives than those who score low on this trait. Although conscientiousness is generally seen as a positive trait to possess, recent research has suggested that in some situations it may be harmful for well-being. In a prospective study of 9570 individuals over four years, highly conscientious people suffered more than twice as much if they became unemployed.

So let’s go back to the chart because there are a number of other interesting insights here.

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One interesting thing here is the string of negative correlations between success and the trait Agreeableness. But also note that with the exception of Job Satisfaction, the correlation is very small only explaining ~1% of the variation. But for Job Satisfaction, we get a somewhat large .26 negative correlation. This means that being too agreeable is harmful to Job Satisfaction.

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Agreeableness is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm, and considerate. People who score high on this dimension are empathetic and altruistic, while a low agreeableness score relates to selfish behavior and a lack of empathy.

This is likely because being a pushover is bad for success. Especially when it comes to Job Satisfaction. It seems that the data backs up the old “nice guys finish last” adage. But, I think there’s a balance you have to attain, and you want yourself to be somewhere in the middle. If you’re too Agreeable, you’re a pushover who gets stepped on. If you’re too Disagreeable, you’re basically a sociopath, willing to step on anyone or anything to get what you want, who will likely go to jail with Bernie Madoff pretty soon.

Those who score very low on agreeableness show signs of dark triad behavior such as manipulation and competing with others rather than cooperating.

So finding that balance is important. Other research cited in Barking up the Wrong Tree showed that the ideal strategy is to be nice to people in general, but if they mess with you, don't hesitate to put them in their place. Be nice, but have boundaries.

How Openness relates to career success. Openness very strongly relates to creativity. Open people are significantly more creative.

The Number One Predictor of Creativity? Openness to Experience | InformED

Openness indicates how open-minded a person is. A person with a high level of openness to experience in a personality test enjoys trying new things.

So in the data, this tells us that Creativity does not contribute to Income or Job Satisfaction at all. But Openness does contribute to Occupational Status and Extrinsic Career Success. It also contributes to subjective well-being. So it may not make you rich, but it will make you happy and potentially give you a higher status position. This is true of Entrepreneurs as well.

We also see that professional success has a relatively strong link with Neuroticism (opposite of Emotional Stability in the chart.) Neurotic people perform poorer. The correlation with Emotional Stability are as follows - Job Satisfaction: .26, Income: .32, Occupational Status: .27, Extrinsic Career Success: .34

Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than average to be moody and to experience such feelings as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness. People who are neurotic respond worse to stressors and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. They are often self-conscious and shy, and they may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification.

The last trait is Extraversion. We see some pretty decent sized (.24 and .19) correlations with Income and Extrinsic Career Success, respectively. The reason for this is likely because Extraverts are expert networkers. They make friends everywhere they go, they make people like them, and they usually have a pretty good sales ability. They meet people and sell themselves well. I posted my personal techniques on Networking here a while back:

Fastlane Forums - How To Build An Ungodly, Mind-Blowingly Amazing Network.

[...to be continued]
 

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Tapp001

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This is great stuff, please keep going! And if your magic brain chemicals could effect my Conscientiousness I would indeed consider giving you money dollars.
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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Thanks guys.

So let’s look a little deeper at Conscientiousness. Since Conscientiousness is the trait of being careful, diligent and thoughtful, the polar opposite of Conscientiousness is impulsivity.

In psychology, impulsivity is a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences. Impulsive actions are typically "poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation that often result in undesirable consequences," which imperil long-term goals and strategies for success.

From MSN.com:

"If you want your kid to grow up to be financially successful, a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry says you should pay close attention to how they behave early on in life, particularly if they have trouble focusing.

Researchers at the University of Montreal examined the link between the behavior of 2,850 Canadian kindergarteners in the 1980s and the salaries they made once they were in their 30s. The researchers looked at personality traits such as attention span, hyperactivity, physical aggression, obedience, anxiety, and sympathy levels—and they found that several factors influenced their annual earnings later on in life.

Among both boys and girls, the personality trait that was linked with making less money as adults was inattention, i.e. the inability to focus on tasks and the tendency to get easily distracted."


[Impulsivity and Inattention of course go hand in hand]

MSN: This childhood personality trait influences how much money you'll make as an adult

Original study:

In this large population-based sample of kindergarten children, behavioral ratings at 5-6 years were associated with employment earnings 3 decades later, independent of a person’s IQ and family background.

Association Between Childhood Behaviors and Adult Employment Earnings in Canada - JAMA Psychiatry


Impulsivity is important. Catholicism warned almost 2000 years ago about the seven deadly sins of greed, lust, envy, pride, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. What do all these have in common? Immediate pleasures with detrimental long-term consequences. Impulsivity. This is in contrast to the seven heavenly virtues of prudence (holding back,) justice (fairness,) temperance (self restraint,) faith, hope, charity, and courage (fortitude.) What do they mostly have in common? The holding back of immediate pleasures (or facing tough circumstances) for long term gain.

But of course Catholicism in the 400th century didn’t have the technology we have now. While there is some free will involved, we now know that this trait of impulsivity is largely determined not by choice, but mostly by a chemical called dopamine:

Scientific American: Dopamine Determines Impulsive Behavior

Note: I have to warn you. Most people are used to thinking of success as "do X, get Y." For people who are used to that way of thinking, this is going to be a paradigm shift. If you've been human for more than a few years, you've probably noticed that a lot of behavior is not under our direct control. That sometimes our attempts at self-development seem to get thwarted by a less controllable part of ourselves. This will explain why this happens in certain areas.

More specifically the Industriousness (predisposition to work hard) aspect has a lot to do with dopamine (r) in three key areas:

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Now when I talk about brain chemicals. I'm not suggesting that there’s nothing you can do about it. I say that because when people hear anything about brain chemistry, genetics, etc. they get all defensive. They think that you're saying that it's just destiny and there's nothing you can do. That's not true. There are plenty of things you can do to alter your brain chemistry and while you’re stuck with your genes, there’s plenty you can do to change the expression of those genes. So this isn’t to take the wind out of anybody’s sail it’s to look at the reality of this all and then come up with a realistic plan for fixing it.

Despite popular opinion, since motivation originates in a part of the brain that we have no conscious control over, you can’t boost your motivation for more than a very short amount of time, and then it’s depleted. This is why most Self-Help fails. For long terms gains more than a few days, you have to do it indirectly. It’s not a matter of moral superiority. It’s not a matter of willpower. It’s not a decision. It’s not in the thinking part of our brain, it’s in the reptilian part of our brain, where we have almost no control.

We’ve already established that hard work is instrumental for almost any type of success. Common sense tells you that, and more importantly, the research also tells you that. What it doesn’t tell is why some people are hard workers, and some aren’t.
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"If you’ve ever felt lackadaisical to start a new project […] say University of Michigan researchers. Both are a function of dopamine, which explains the motivation to start and the satisfaction of finishing work, they say."

Neuroscience News - The Role of Dopamine in Motivation and Learning

"Yet dopamine is also a key modulator of motivation, invigorating current behavior. Existing theories propose that fast (phasic) dopamine fluctuations support learning, whereas much slower (tonic) dopamine changes are involved in motivation."

Mesolimbic dopamine signals the value of work - Nature Neuroscience

In one of my favorite studies (sorry for the cruelty,) researchers artificially induced dopamine signaling deficiency in mice by injecting a selective neurotoxin in the midbrain. What happened? The mice with dopamine signaling deficiency were so unmotivated that they starve to death even when food is literally right in front of them (r).

“After extensive destruction of ascending dopamine neurons, animals become oblivious to food and many other rewards.”

"Rats typically are aphagic and adipsic after 6-OHDA lesions,
and will starve to death unless nourished artificially, even though food may be readily available

What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience? - Journal of Brain Research Reviews


A known side effect of antipsychotic medications that block dopamine is a lack of motivation.

Ideal dopamine levels are associated with motivation, determination, grit. It’s one of the most important things you can have for success.

Grit in psychology is a positive trait based on an individual's perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective). This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie on the path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Distinct but commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include "perseverance", "hardiness", "resilience", "ambition", "need for achievement" and "conscientiousness". These constructs can be conceptualized as individual differences related to the accomplishment of work rather than talent or ability.

The overall takeaway here is that dopamine tone is absolutely critical for success.

(Dopamine tone refers to the general average baseline amount of dopamine signaling going through certain pathways. ie is your dopamine tone 'high' or is it 'low')

Role of Dopamine Tone in the Pursuit of Brain Stimulation Reward

New York Times: A Molecule of Motivation, Dopamine Excels at Its Task

How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone:

• Is your motivation, drive, or enthusiasm, on the low side?
• Are you low on physical or mental energy?
• Do you have to push yourself to exercise or do things you know are good for you?
• Do you eat (or drink) a lot of sugary substances?
• Do you have poor self control?
• Have you struggled with addictions of any kind (alcohol, drug, gambling, sex, porn)?
• Do you have problems taking action to do things that you know would benefit your future?
• Do you sometimes feel apathetic and lifeless?
• Do you have issues with focusing or concentration?
• Do you increase your motivated by consuming stimulants? (ie Adderall, Energy Drinks, large amounts of caffeine, or even sugar)
• Do you tend to prefer immediate rewards to larger future rewards (ie $100 now vs $200 in two weeks)


Any of these things can indicate a less than optimal dopamine tone. And these issues exist on a spectrum. You may have slight issues, you might have severe issues, or you might not have any issues at all.

Now, the necessity of motivation to success is obvious, but there’s more subtle ways that Dopamine Tone affects success. In one of my other threads, an Author took a survey of 177 self-made millionaires and compared them to people who were not multimillionaires. The differences are clear.

"Corley conducted a survey by interviewing 233 wealthy people who make $160,000 or more in annual income and hold at least $3.2 million in net liquid assets (177 of whom were self-made, coming from poverty or the middle class) and 128 poor people who make less than $35,000 per year and have less than $5,000 in assets. Over five years, Corley posed 144 questions in 20 categories to each person and saw distinct patterns emerge.”

Fastlane Forum - FEATURED! Author Spent 5 Years Interviewing 177 Selfmade Millionaires To Find Their Secrets. Findings Inside.

I picked out a select few in order to illustrate my point, but feel free to check out the whole list. When reading these keep a few key aspects in mine: Conscientiousness, Self Control (sacrificing now for a better tomorrow,) Impulsivity (sacrificing tomorrow for a better now,) planning for the future, ‘hardworkingness’:

RichPoorSelf-Made
DELAYED GRATIFICATION - BETTER TO SACRIFICE NOW FOR A BETTER TOMORROW82%48%100%
DISCIPLINE - CONSIDER MYSELF DISCIPLINED86%11%96%
DREAM: THOSE WHO PURSUED A DREAM61%3%82%
GAMBLING - PLAY THE LOTTERY REGULARLY6%77%
GOALS - FOCUS ON GOALS EVERY DAY62%6%79%
GOALS - FOCUSED ON ACHIEVING SOME GOAL80%12%95%
GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO MORE TO HELP PEOPLE FINANCIALLY9%79%
HABITS - BAD HABITS CREATE DETRIMENTAL LUCK76%9%90%
HEALTH - COUNT CALORIES EVERY DAY57%5%72%
HEALTH - DRINK MORE THAN 2 GLASSES OF BEER, WINE OR ALCOHOL A DAY16%54%18%
HEALTH - DRUGS ONCE OR MORE A WEEK8%32%1%
HEALTH - EAT CANDY MORE THAN TWICE A WEEK28%69%16%
HEALTH - EAT LESS THAN 300 JUNK FOOD CALORIES PER DAY70%3%78%
HEALTH - EXERCISE AEROBICALLY 30 MINUTES PER DAY, 4 DAYS PER WEEK76%23%95%
HEALTH - FAST FOOD RESTAURANT THREE OR MORE TIMES A WEEK25%69%7%
HEALTH - FLOSS EVERY DAY62%16%50%
HEALTH - GOOD HEALTH IS CRITICAL TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS85%13%95%
LUCK - GOOD HABITS CREATE OPPORTUNITY LUCK84%4%97%
LUCK - GOOD LUCK NEVER HAPPENS TO ME13%54%12%
LUCK - WEALTH COMES FROM RANDOM GOOD LUCK8%79%5%
MARRIAGE: DIVORCED DUE TO INFIDELITY4%24%
READ - LOVE READING86%26%
READ 2 OR MORE EDUCATION, CAREER-RELATED OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOKS PER MONTH85%15%
READ 30 MINUTES EACH DAY EDUCATION, CAREER OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT88%2%96%
READ FOR ENTERTAINMENT11%79%3%
T.V. - WATCH EDUCATIONAL TV9%1%
T.V. - WATCH REALITY SHOWS ON TV6%78%
WORK - DO MORE THAN MY JOB REQUIRES81%17%

The multimillionaires were motivated, limited alcohol and drugs, ate well, exercised. In other words, they had none of the symptoms of low dopamergic tone.

Also As @Kak also pointed out in the thread:

I see a lot of examples of locus of control there.

RichPoorSelf Made
THINKING - BELIEVE FATE DICTATED THEIR FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN LIFE10%90%
THINKING - I AM THE CAUSE OF MY FINANCIAL STATUS IN LIFE79%18%
THINKING - MOST RICH PEOPLE INHERIT THEIR MONEY5%90%
THINKING - OPTIMISM IS IMPORTANT TO SUCCESS54%22%
THINKING - RICH PEOPLE ARE GOOD, HONEST HARDWORKING PEOPLE78%5%
THINKING - WEALTH IS USUALLY ACCIDENTAL4%52%


Interestingly enough, we again find that an internal Locus of Control is a major predictor of success

Fast Company - How Your Locus Of Control Impacts Business Success


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Source: Nurturing parenting capability: the early years [Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report No. 30]

Even from @MJ DeMarco ’s book:

THE LAW OF VICTIMS
People who don’t take responsibility are victims. Some of them are born victims and, instead of trying to improve their hand, they fold and give up. For them, everyone has the solution to their problems but them. And their problems? Not their fault. Nope, someone else is to blame. Instead of looking within, they look outward and project responsibility to some other entity. Victims are Sidewalkers who refuse to take the driver’s seat of their own lives and live under a dark cloud of “theys” reflective of a “me against them” attitude.

“They laid me off.”
“They changed the terms.” “They cheated me.”
“They didn’t tell me.”
“They raised my rent.”
“They raised my interest rate.”

Invariably, all these “theys” are self-imposed."
People with a poor dopaminergic tone have a more external locus of control.

It has been suggested that tonic dopamine relates to trait-perceived internal locus of control. Pharmacologically augmenting tonic dopamine restores exploratory behavior in individuals with an external locus of control characterized by reduced tonic dopamine (Kayser et al., 2014).

In other words, giving people medications that raise their tonic dopamine gave them a more internal LOC.

Perceived control can be broadly defined as the belief in one’s ability to exert control over situations or events. We highlight the role of dopamine within corticostriatal pathways shared by reward-related processes and perceived control.

A Reward-Based Framework of Perceived Control - Frontiers in Neuroscience

Sense of agency refers to the feeling of control over one’s own actions. The strength of this sense varies inter-individually. This means that people differ in their perception concerning the intensity of their intentions and actions. The present results confirm prior hypotheses that dopamine seems to play a crucial role in perception of agency.

Dopamine and sense of agency: Determinants in personality and substance use - PLOS ONE

A possible role of central dopamine metabolism associated with individual differences in locus of control | Request PDF

People with a better dopaminergic tone feel more in control of their lives. People with a poor dopaminergic tone feel that they’re victims.

[...to be continued]
 
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drpeppehr

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Nice work man. Did you happen to take any adderall for writing this all out? Jokes aside, tons of good information.
 

Tapp001

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This is some great stuff, and I'm just about ready to start extracting dopamine from the brains of passers-by!

I have more questions but I will hold until the end of the "to be continueds".
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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Nice work man. Did you happen to take any adderall for writing this all out? Jokes aside, tons of good information.
Lol, that's actually a great comment because Adderall works by releasing, of course, dopamine.

(Start at 1:27)

View: https://youtu.be/MeJRBsghMt8?t=88


But I'm not going to really recommend Adderall use (except as a last resort) because the long term effects aren't really sustainable. There are usually better things you can do that don't involve prescription medication.

I also don't want to get too hung up on ADD or ADHD, because I think it goes deeper than that. ADD/ADHD can definitely correlate with all this, but not all low dopamine issues manifest themselves as ADD. The rest of the post about Conscientiousness, etc still applies.

The problem is much deeper than one single diagnosable condition.

So back to the post...why are some people so short-sighted, while others seem to have a better life by planning for the future? Why wouldn't everyone want a better future? Well it goes back to dopaminergic tone. Low dopamine tone tricks your brain into thinking you're in danger, and all your resources are devoted to right now. Planning for the future is ridiculous, because to your brain, you're in danger. Dr. Wetsman has a great explanation is here (starting at 2:12, although the full video is great):

View: https://youtu.be/KWabTRPr91s?t=132


Let’s compare what Dr. Wetsman just said to what the Rich Habits survey said:


RichPoorSelf-made
READ - LOVE READING86%26%
READ 2 OR MORE EDUCATION, CAREER-RELATED OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOKS PER MONTH85%15%
READ 30 MINUTES EACH DAY EDUCATION, CAREER OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT88%2%96%
READ FOR ENTERTAINMENT11%79%3%
CHARITY/NONPROFIT - ON BOARD OF DIRECTORS/COMMITTEE52%4%61%
CHARITY/NONPROFIT - INVOLVED IN A CHARITABLE/NONPROFIT GROUP67%6%72%
DELAYED GRATIFICAITON - BETTER TO SACRIFICE NOW FOR A BETTER TOMORROW82%48%100%

It’s very clear that they’re talking about the same thing.

When your brain thinks it's in danger, it's not going to devote resources to reading, or self development or helping.

(btw, thanks to @mdivljina for posting that series)

The series was originally about addiction, but I find it to be a great explainer for this thread since the causes of addiction and poverty are closely related. People think that addiction causes poverty (and to a slight extent it exacerbates it,) but it does NOT cause it. Addicts and people in poverty have a root personality trait in common that causes both issues: Both drug addicts and people in poverty seek immediate fulfillment at the expense of a better tomorrow. The low dopamine tone causes them to seek out dopamine-releasing activities in order to maintain homeostasis. This goes back to Conscientiousness and (it’s polar opposite) impulsivity (instant gratification.) So addiction, impulsivity and ADHD research can tell us boatloads about success.

I HIGHLY suggest checking out that entire video Ending Addiction series because at the level of the brain, addiction and poverty are closely related. The reason is, when people have a low dopaminergic tone, 2 things happen:

1) The lack of dopamine (motivation chemical) makes them lazy:

http://blog.idonethis.com/the-science-of-motivation-your-brain-on-dopamine/

and

2) the uncomfortable feelings associated with low dopamine tone causes them to self medicate with things that stimulate dopamine (drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food, sex, gambling, and other immediate pleasures) which goes into impulsivity.

This video is optional but Dr. Wetsman makes an amazing point here.

This is why people in poverty are more likely to be short-sighted and focus on immediate pleasures. Having a low DA tone causes you to do all sorts of things to release dopamine in order to feel better (again drugs, food, gambling, driving fast etc.) The brain’s bias toward immediate pleasures makes it so they don’t do things to make you plan for the long term. The rich person would rather read self-improvement materials, while the poor person would rather read 50 Shades of Grey. It’s a battle between long term gain, and immediate pleasure. Who wins that battle is determined not by moral superiority, or a decision to do so, but how much dopamine is floating around between synapses.

Again, I highly suggest checking out Dr. Wetsman’s entire series on this, even if you don’t struggle with addiction, because the same solutions for addiction will apply for curbing the impulsivity to help people to be wealthier. They simply don’t have enough of the chemical that’s responsible for motivation.

[...to be continued again lol]
 
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ChrisV

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So most importantly, what can you do about all this? That's the biggest thing of course.

Well this is not medical advice and you should talk to your doctor before making any changes… but of you’re really serious about fixing this, I highly suggest getting a genetic test and seeing where the problems are. Your dopamine tone is critical and largely genetically determined. There are a lot of things that can go wrong genetically with dopamine neurotransmission. I'll list them just in case anyone wants to do further research, but certain genes make it hard for the body to synthesize dopamine (MTHFR, Tyrosine Hydroxylase,) dopamine may break it down too fast (SLC6A3, MAOA, MAOB, COMT, DBH,) your brain might not produce enough dopamine receptors for it to attach to (DRD1-DRD5, opioid receptors,) among other issues.

There’s a different solution to each of these genes.

If you have the MTHFR gene, I’ve heard L-Methylfolate is a miracle (in some cases can completely fix dopamine issues)

View: https://youtu.be/efFtviwOTaI?t=15


Genetics is a complex topic. You’re going to have to research it yourself or post questions here.

Diet can be a factor too. Dopamine is synthesized from a protein called Tyrosine. So if you don't get adequate intake of Tyrosine, it can make it hard for your body to produce it.

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After watching the Ending Addiction video series, I’ve since made friends over email with Dr. Howard Wetsman, and he has a genetic analysis company that does just this (figures out problems with Dopamine neurotransmission.) The link is: Products – GenEd Systems While his products focus on addiction, and is only in it's early stages, the same solutions apply to the issues we’ve spoken about here.

Otherwise, here are some other tactics than may help regardless of genetics. I'll treat it into "probably will help" and "might help."

Probably will help:

Exercise
- Not only does it boost DA, but in addition exercise increases the number of receptors in the brain which actually has very very pronounced effects.. it essentially raises DA neurotransmission in two separate ways [1] [2] [3]
Meditation [1] (This study found a SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT increase in dopamine release after meditation, although that high of a number may not be typical) [2][3]
Getting 8 hours sleep is just good for everything
Reduce sugar (sugar causes a dopamine spike, but down regulates receptors.. causing really bad long-term effects, switch to fruits which don't cause spikes) [1]
Plenty of sunlight! [1] [2] Sunlight
Setting Small Goals (breaking your big goals into chunks) [1]
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals - Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Eating Protein (foods high in phenylalanine/tyrosine) [1]

Might help:

Listen to music
[1] [2] [3]
Reducing Saturated Fat [1] (saturated fat is NOT as evil as the media made it out to be so wouldn’t go crazy,) but one study found that rats that consumed 50% of their calories from saturated fat had reduced dopamine signaling in the reward areas of their brain, compared to animals receiving the same amount of calories from unsaturated fat
Probiotics [1] [2] [3]
Supplements: L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalinine, L-theanine, Phosphatidylserine, Curcumin, Ginkgo Biloba, Mucuna Pruriens,

More: 54 Supplements & Drugs/Agonists to Increase Dopamine - Selfhacked (Selfhacked is, in my opinion, a great resource for stuff like this)

But still, I think getting genetic testing is the single biggest thing if there are any serious issues. Genetic testing and analysis is a full blown solution to this. The other biggies are Exercise, Meditation, Diet, Hydration, and proper goal setting (S.M.A.R.T. goals.)

You can also do your own searches on this stuff, just make sure the information is from a reliable, mainstream or scientific source. If the website uses a bunch of emotional, bombastic or excited language, be very careful. Real scientists are boring lol. They use really boring big words and rarely make grand statements. I find this custom search engine to be helpful, and has a Pro-science option in the drop down.


If you feel like you have serious attention issues, get tested for ADHD because Inattentive Type ADD and Low-Conscientiousness correlate at the .8 level and if you remember, a .8 correlation is astronomical. They’re essentially synonyms. Your doctor can help you with this. And get tested of all the subtypes of ADHD (ADHD-Combined, ADHD-Primarily Inattentive and a related new disorder called SCT)

You’re going to have to do some research on your own or post your questions here. If you want me to cover any of the other personality traits, I’d be more than happy to.

For now here are a few basic tips regarding the other traits:

If you’re too high in Agreeableness (you’re a pushover) Assertiveness Training is a great solution.

If you’re too low in Openness to experience, I’m not going to condone drug use, but I’ve heard (*cough cough*) a single LSD has been shown to improve that trait - Live Science - A Single Psychedelic Drug Trip Can Change Your Personality for Years. Google “LSD and Openness” for more info

For Neuroticism, therapy may be helpful.

For general personality change, check out this article: Psychology Today - Can an Introvert Ever Change?

Any questions, feel free to post here.

Hope this is helpful!
 
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Nice work man. Did you happen to take any adderall for writing this all out? Jokes aside, tons of good information.
Lol no. I've been working on it for a while in OneNote. Then I just moved it here.

I know it's long, but it's so core to everything success related that I had to cover all aspects.

This is some great stuff, and I'm just about ready to start extracting dopamine from the brains of passers-by!

I have more questions but I will hold until the end of the "to be continueds".
Ask away
 

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Thanks guys.

So let’s look a little deeper at Conscientiousness. Since Conscientiousness is the trait of being careful, diligent and thoughtful, the polar opposite of Conscientiousness is impulsivity.

In psychology, impulsivity is a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences. Impulsive actions are typically "poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation that often result in undesirable consequences," which imperil long-term goals and strategies for success.

From MSN.com:

"If you want your kid to grow up to be financially successful, a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry says you should pay close attention to how they behave early on in life, particularly if they have trouble focusing.

Researchers at the University of Montreal examined the link between the behavior of 2,850 Canadian kindergarteners in the 1980s and the salaries they made once they were in their 30s. The researchers looked at personality traits such as attention span, hyperactivity, physical aggression, obedience, anxiety, and sympathy levels—and they found that several factors influenced their annual earnings later on in life.

Among both boys and girls, the personality trait that was linked with making less money as adults was inattention, i.e. the inability to focus on tasks and the tendency to get easily distracted."


[Impulsivity and Innatention of course go hand in hand]

MSN: This childhood personality trait influences how much money you'll make as an adult

Catholicism noted almost 2000 years ago the seven deadly sins of greed, lust, envy, pride, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. What do all these have in common? Immediate pleasures with detrimental long-term consequences. This is in contrast to the seven heavenly virtues of prudence (holding back,) justice (fairness,) temperance (self restraint,) faith, hope, charity, and courage (fortitude.) What do they mostly have in common? The holding back of immediate pleasures (or facing tough circumstances) for long term gain.

But of course Catholicism in the 400th century didn’t have the technology we have now. While there is some free will involved, we now know that this trait of impulsivity is largely determined not by choice, but mostly by a chemical called dopamine:

Scientific American: Dopamine Determines Impulsive Behavior

More specifically the Industriousness (predisposition to work hard) aspect has a lot to do with dopamine (r) in three key areas:

View attachment 26214

Now when I talk about brain chemicals. I'm not suggesting that there’s nothing you can do about it. I say that because when people hear anything about brain chemistry, genetics, etc. they get all defensive. They think that you're saying that it's just destiny and there's nothing you can do. That's not true. There are plenty of things you can do to alter your brain chemistry and while you’re stuck with your genes, there’s plenty you can do to change the expression of those genes. So this isn’t to take the wind out of anybody’s sail it’s to look at the reality of this all and then come up with a realistic plan for fixing it.

Despite popular opinion, since motivation originates in a part of the brain that we have no conscious control over, you can’t boost your motivation for more than a very short amount of time, and then it’s depleted. This is why most Self-Help fails. For long terms gains more than a few days, you have to do it indirectly. It’s not a matter of moral superiority. It’s not a matter of willpower. It’s not a decision. It’s not in the thinking part of our brain, it’s in the reptilian part of our brain, where we have almost no control.

We’ve already established that hard work is instrumental for almost any type of success. Common sense tells you that, and more importantly, the research also tells you that. What it doesn’t tell is why some people are hard workers, and some aren’t.
View attachment 26216


"If you’ve ever felt lackadaisical to start a new project […] say University of Michigan researchers. Both are a function of dopamine, which explains the motivation to start and the satisfaction of finishing work, they say."

Neuroscience News - The Role of Dopamine in Motivation and Learning

"Yet dopamine is also a key modulator of motivation, invigorating current behavior. Existing theories propose that fast (phasic) dopamine fluctuations support learning, whereas much slower (tonic) dopamine changes are involved in motivation."

Mesolimbic dopamine signals the value of work - Nature Neuroscience

In one of my favorite studies (sorry for the cruelty,) researchers artificially induced dopamine signaling deficiency in mice by injecting a selective neurotoxin in the midbrain. What happened? The mice with dopamine signaling deficiency were so unmotivated that they starve to death even when food is literally right in front of them (r).

“After extensive destruction of ascending dopamine neurons, animals become oblivious to food and many other rewards.”

"Rats typically are aphagic and adipsic after 6-OHDA lesions,
and will starve to death unless nourished artificially, even though food may be readily available

What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience? - Journal of Brain Research Reviews


A known side effect of antipsychotic medications that block dopamine is a lack of motivation.

Ideal dopamine levels are associated with motivation, determination, grit. It’s one of the most important things you can have for success.

Grit in psychology is a positive trait based on an individual's perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective). This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie on the path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Distinct but commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include "perseverance", "hardiness", "resilience", "ambition", "need for achievement" and "conscientiousness". These constructs can be conceptualized as individual differences related to the accomplishment of work rather than talent or ability.

The overall takeaway here is that dopamine tone is absolutely critical for success.

(Dopamine tone refers to the baseline amount of dopamine between neurons at all times.)

New York Times: A Molecule of Motivation, Dopamine Excels at Its Task

How to tell if you have a poor dopaminergic tone:

• Is your motivation, drive, or enthusiasm, on the low side?
• Are you low on physical or mental energy?
• Do you have to push yourself to exercise or do things you know are good for you?
• Do you eat (or drink) a lot of sugary substances?
• Do you have poor self control?
• Have you struggled with addictions of any kind (alcohol, drug, gambling, sex, porn)?
• Do you have problems taking action to do things that you know would benefit your future?
• Do you sometimes feel apathetic and lifeless?
• Do you have issues with focusing or concentration?
• Do you increase your motivated by consuming stimulants? (ie Adderall, Energy Drinks, large amounts of caffeine, or even sugar)
• Do you tend to prefer immediate rewards to larger future rewards (ie $100 now vs $200 in two weeks)


Any of these things can indicate a less than optimal dopamine tone. And these issues exist on a spectrum. You may have slight issues, you might have severe issues, or you might not have any issues at all.

Now, the necessity of motivation to success is obvious, but there’s more subtle ways that Dopamine Tone affects success. In one of my other threads, an Author took a survey of 177 self-made millionaires and compared them to people who were not multimillionaires. The differences are clear.

"Corley conducted a survey by interviewing 233 wealthy people who make $160,000 or more in annual income and hold at least $3.2 million in net liquid assets (177 of whom were self-made, coming from poverty or the middle class) and 128 poor people who make less than $35,000 per year and have less than $5,000 in assets. Over five years, Corley posed 144 questions in 20 categories to each person and saw distinct patterns emerge.”

Fastlane Forum - FEATURED! Author Spent 5 Years Interviewing 177 Selfmade Millionaires To Find Their Secrets. Findings Inside.

I picked out a select few in order to illustrate my point, but feel free to check out the whole list. When reading these keep a few key aspects in mine: Conscientiousness, Self Control (sacrificing now for a better tomorrow,) Impulsivity (sacrificing tomorrow for a better now,) planning for the future, ‘hardworkingness’:

RichPoorSelf-Made
DELAYED GRATIFICATION - BETTER TO SACRIFICE NOW FOR A BETTER TOMORROW82%48%100%
DISCIPLINE - CONSIDER MYSELF DISCIPLINED86%11%96%
DREAM: THOSE WHO PURSUED A DREAM61%3%82%
GAMBLING - PLAY THE LOTTERY REGULARLY6%77%
GOALS - FOCUS ON GOALS EVERY DAY62%6%79%
GOALS - FOCUSED ON ACHIEVING SOME GOAL80%12%95%
GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO MORE TO HELP PEOPLE FINANCIALLY9%79%
HABITS - BAD HABITS CREATE DETRIMENTAL LUCK76%9%90%
HEALTH - COUNT CALORIES EVERY DAY57%5%72%
HEALTH - DRINK MORE THAN 2 GLASSES OF BEER, WINE OR ALCOHOL A DAY16%54%18%
HEALTH - DRUGS ONCE OR MORE A WEEK8%32%1%
HEALTH - EAT CANDY MORE THAN TWICE A WEEK28%69%16%
HEALTH - EAT LESS THAN 300 JUNK FOOD CALORIES PER DAY70%3%78%
HEALTH - EXERCISE AEROBICALLY 30 MINUTES PER DAY, 4 DAYS PER WEEK76%23%95%
HEALTH - FAST FOOD RESTAURANT THREE OR MORE TIMES A WEEK25%69%7%
HEALTH - FLOSS EVERY DAY62%16%50%
HEALTH - GOOD HEALTH IS CRITICAL TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS85%13%95%
LUCK - GOOD HABITS CREATE OPPORTUNITY LUCK84%4%97%
LUCK - GOOD LUCK NEVER HAPPENS TO ME13%54%12%
LUCK - WEALTH COMES FROM RANDOM GOOD LUCK8%79%5%
MARRIAGE: DIVORCED DUE TO INFIDELITY4%24%
READ - LOVE READING86%26%
READ 2 OR MORE EDUCATION, CAREER-RELATED OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOKS PER MONTH85%15%
READ 30 MINUTES EACH DAY EDUCATION, CAREER OR SELF-IMPROVEMENT88%2%96%
READ FOR ENTERTAINMENT11%79%3%
T.V. - WATCH EDUCATIONAL TV9%1%
T.V. - WATCH REALITY SHOWS ON TV6%78%
WORK - DO MORE THAN MY JOB REQUIRES81%17%

The multimillionaires were motivated, limited alcohol and drugs, ate well, exercised. In other words, they had none of the symptoms of low dopamergic tone.

Also As @Kak also pointed out in the thread:




RichPoorSelf Made
THINKING - BELIEVE FATE DICTATED THEIR FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN LIFE10%90%
THINKING - I AM THE CAUSE OF MY FINANCIAL STATUS IN LIFE79%18%
THINKING - MOST RICH PEOPLE INHERIT THEIR MONEY5%90%
THINKING - OPTIMISM IS IMPORTANT TO SUCCESS54%22%
THINKING - RICH PEOPLE ARE GOOD, HONEST HARDWORKING PEOPLE78%5%
THINKING - WEALTH IS USUALLY ACCIDENTAL4%52%


Interestingly enough, we again find that an internal Locus of Control is a major predictor of success

Fast Company - How Your Locus Of Control Impacts Business Success


View attachment 26215

Source: Nurturing parenting capability: the early years [Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report No. 30]

Even from @MJ DeMarco ’s book:



People with a poor dopaminergic tone have a more external locus of control.

It has been suggested that tonic dopamine relates to trait-perceived internal locus of control. Pharmacologically augmenting tonic dopamine restores exploratory behavior in individuals with an external locus of control characterized by reduced tonic dopamine (Kayser et al., 2014).

In other words, giving people medications that raise their tonic dopamine gave them a more internal LOC.

Perceived control can be broadly defined as the belief in one’s ability to exert control over situations or events. We highlight the role of dopamine within corticostriatal pathways shared by reward-related processes and perceived control.

A Reward-Based Framework of Perceived Control - Frontiers in Neuroscience

Sense of agency refers to the feeling of control over one’s own actions. The strength of this sense varies inter-individually. This means that people differ in their perception concerning the intensity of their intentions and actions. The present results confirm prior hypotheses that dopamine seems to play a crucial role in perception of agency.

Dopamine and sense of agency: Determinants in personality and substance use - PLOS ONE

A possible role of central dopamine metabolism associated with individual differences in locus of control | Request PDF

People with a better dopaminergic tone feel more in control of their lives. People with a poor dopaminergic tone feel that they’re victims.

[...to be continued]
OK so you are doing great here when you examine the science yourself, primary sources, with your incredible eye for data, and then map out behaviors that are conducive to success. You do this mapping by creating a legend of the values recognized as good business practices or more generally good social values. Man I want to read how you connect personality theories like the Big 5 to business through neurobiology. And I wanna read about motivation and reward systems in this configuration. THAT'S NEW. You're cooking.
You surf neurosci on personality structure. THAT'S NEW AND BALLSY. Stay there and dig deep. Stay with the primary research. If not, you will face plant.
This is where it happens:
First, how to turn neuroscience into reasons for behavior and choices:
1. There is no 'should' in human science. There is behavior, that's all. You translate primary research into helpful insights by imposing intelligent values on it. Like extraversion is conducive to business success because .... Or dopamine insufficiency is a predictor of struggle and failure because... Read and take leaps of faith because chance favors the prepared mind (Louis Pasteur). Stay with the primary research because you have the capacity for it and it awaits your synthesis.
2. Once you have the neuroscience research, use your values to create a good framework for optimal behavior that is based on your own evaluation.
3. Propose behaviors and choices.
4. Have nothing to do with US World Report and WaPo and fluffy light science journalism. Keep away from it.
Why:
You will faceplant right into neurotrash. The popular fluff can't add anything to your research or add anything to primary research either. It's pure junk food, unicorn poop.
Example:
Dopamine and 'tone.'
No. No. No.
There are six distinct dopa pathways. You're dealing with two.
There is no steady state for neurotransmitters.
There is no steady state for neurotransmitters and no distinct optimal state that has a 1:1 relationship with behavior.
So there is no such thing as neurochemical 'tone.'
The metaphor, or analogy, is scientifically illiterate. This is what comes of reading neurotrash.
Smart drugs operate mostly in the dark. Pharma does not need to reveal mechanisms, but only chase down drug effects.
The myth of balanced chemistry is invented by Pharma and its folk science as a marketing tool.

I hope this critique is encouraging.
I hope you can stay focused on the NEW neurobiology narrative you have glimpsed. That"s cool.
Don't use neurotrash to work out the science. This can't be over-stated. If you read something interesting in Men's Health it is very likely misusing the primary or actual research. So look at the biblio, find the actual study that was cited, and read it for yourself, for your book. Never trust secondary sources. You know this most likely, but it should be common information.
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@Bertram

Thanks for that man.. Definitely appreciate that...

I totally 1000% agree with you regarding pop science. If I post the popular articles (Scientific American, New York Times, etc) it's because I feel like they're more digestible for people who want to look into it here. The complexity of this topic is already above what's usually on business forums and I usually try to stay away from that, but for this I think the topic is so essential that I have to.

But I agree. Half the time people should barely trust the primary research (flaws, biases, errors) but to have that filtered through another set of biases from popular media reporting, yea just no. They get so much shit wrong. Although certain outlets are pretty good (SciAm, NYT.) You know? I don't know that anyone on this forum is going to care to read papers in Nature Human Behavior. If anybody does let me know. But I think there's a sweet spot in knowing your audience, and not having people get bogged down with too much technicality.

So like Dopamine 'tone.' Yea it doesn't make sense fully. Dopamine where exactly? DA in the PFC has a totally different effect than DA to the NAc. But I think that's too much detail to go into here and it's not essential for a business forum. I already threw enough crap around to start going into Mesolimbic pathway, or MAOA, or COMT, etc. So yes, it's an oversimplification. But I think a useful one. This is already 4 posts long. And I think tone is a useful metaphor.

And Dopamine Tone is a term that's used in the literature as well:


Dopamine Tone

Tonic Dopamine

It just refers to the baseline transmission. Of course there's no steady state, but you can make generalizations like "this persons transmission, on average, is lower than normal." It's like you were looking at a map of traffic in a specific city. It's so complicated and certain streets are full, some are empty. But sometimes you have to generalize like "traffic is heavy tonight" or "the traffic is usually bad in LA" where you have to sacrifice specificity for usefully communicating a message. That's where broader abstractions are useful.

No-one except you and a few people are even going to understand this reply lol, so that's why I try to shy away.

Thanks for your thoughts
 

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Bertram

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I don't know that anyone on this forum is going to care to read papers in Nature Human Behavior. If anybody does let me know. But I think there's a sweet spot in knowing your audience, and not having people get bogged down with too much technicality.
@Bertram

Thanks for that man..Definitely appreciate that... i just had to figure a lot of this out for my own good. Like I said, a lot of this is from my own personal 'trying to figure this out' stuff.

I totally 1000% agree with you regarding pop science. If I post the popular articles (Scientific American, New York Times, etc) it's because I feel like they're more digestible for people who want to look into it here. The complexity of this topic is already above what's usually on business forums and I usually try to stay away from that, but for this I think the topic is so essential that I have to.

But I agree. Half the time people should barely trust the primary research (flaws, biases, errors) but to have that filtered through another set of biases from popular media reporting, yea just no. They get so much shit wrong. Although certain outlets are pretty good (SciAm, NYT.) You know? I don't know that anyone on this forum is going to care to read papers in Nature Human Behavior. If anybody does let me know. But I think there's a sweet spot in knowing your audience, and not having people get bogged down with too much technicality.

So like Dopamine 'tone.' Yea it doesn't make sense fully. Dopamine where exactly? DA in the PFC has a totally different effect than DA to the NAc. But I think that's too much detail to go into here and it's not essential for a business forum. I already threw enough crap around to start going into Mesolimbic pathway, or MAOA, or COMT, etc. So yes, it's an oversimplification. But I think a useful one. This is already 4 posts long. And I think tone is a useful metaphor.

And Dopamine Tone is a term that's used in the literature as well:


It just refers to the baseline transmission. There is no steady state, but you can make generalizations like "this persons transmission, on average, is lower than normal." It's like you were looking at a map of traffic in a specific city. It's so complicated and certain streets are full, some are empty. But sometimes you have to generalize like "traffic is heavy tonight" or "the traffic is usually bad in LA" where you have to sacrifice specificity for usefully communicating a message. That's where broader abstractions are useful.

Thanks for your thoughts
You're right, people generally want a synthesis of the primary research, not the technical discussion.
Sorry, but "dopamine tone" as used on the Internet is 1000% neurotrash.
Pubmed promotes neurotrash.
That's because it is more of a search engine now than a credentialing scientific organization.
That article is from J Neuroscience. Boy is it misunderstood. Dopa tone does not refer to any levels of dopamine at all, or the presence of dopamine, or even the actual effects of dopa. It used in an abstract model of neural excitation of neurons hungry for dopamine ... which are actually inhibitory mechanisms by and large. Dopa neurons mostly make things not happen. Their excitation is inconsistent or rather really, really complex.
In this lab rodent *drug study,*drugs produced a level of tonicity, or tone if you want to use a prettier and newer word, so that the reward mechanism could be explored.
So dopa tone in this research only meant a level of excitabity under controlled drug conditions for the sake of measurement.
Another situation using the same cutesy term also has no comparison to normal or abnormal levels of dopa. In this case dopaminergic tone, or rather a neurotransmitter excitation level, was created by the condition of the mice being genetically altered to have a massive presence of dopamine excitation sites. And the animals were raised to have no existence beyond pushinv two levers. Again, it was not a study about having more or less dopamine in the brain, limbs, or anywhere, in that situation compared to others. Induced by heavy drugs or by knocking out DNA threads to produce an extreme mental state.
There is no dopamine tonic state observed in either study.
So just imagine how someone reading about dopa tone in a book of yours might pause and think of say, muscle tone, and then imagine that there is a neural pathway which can produce behavior all depending on being dopamine strong: toned up or out of tone, like muscle. Nothing is more mistaken. Almost nothing.
It is so unnatural to resist the idea and not go along, because of the seductive nonsense of neurotrash.
That's why I hope you don't read any more of it and work on creating your own value by trusting yourself with primary research and your ability to think with data.
I'd like to read the book that I think you might have in mind.
 
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@Bertram

Thanks for that man..Definitely appreciate that... i just had to figure a lot of this out for my own good. Like I said, a lot of this is from my own personal 'trying to figure this out' stuff.

I totally 1000% agree with you regarding pop science. If I post the popular articles (Scientific American, New York Times, etc) it's because I feel like they're more digestible for people who want to look into it here. The complexity of this topic is already above what's usually on business forums and I usually try to stay away from that, but for this I think the topic is so essential that I have to.

But I agree. Half the time people should barely trust the primary research (flaws, biases, errors) but to have that filtered through another set of biases from popular media reporting, yea just no. They get so much shit wrong. Although certain outlets are pretty good (SciAm, NYT.) You know? I don't know that anyone on this forum is going to care to read papers in Nature Human Behavior. If anybody does let me know. But I think there's a sweet spot in knowing your audience, and not having people get bogged down with too much technicality.

So like Dopamine 'tone.' Yea it doesn't make sense fully. Dopamine where exactly? DA in the PFC has a totally different effect than DA to the NAc. But I think that's too much detail to go into here and it's not essential for a business forum. I already threw enough crap around to start going into Mesolimbic pathway, or MAOA, or COMT, etc. So yes, it's an oversimplification. But I think a useful one. This is already 4 posts long. And I think tone is a useful metaphor.

And Dopamine Tone is a term that's used in the literature as well:


Dopamine Tone

Tonic Dopamine

It just refers to the baseline transmission. There is no steady state, but you can make generalizations like "this persons transmission, on average, is lower than normal." It's like you were looking at a map of traffic in a specific city. It's so complicated and certain streets are full, some are empty. But sometimes you have to generalize like "traffic is heavy tonight" or "the traffic is usually bad in LA" where you have to sacrifice specificity for usefully communicating a message. That's where broader abstractions are useful.

No-one except you and a few people are even going to understand this reply lol, so that's why I try to shy away.

Thanks for your thoughts
Crap I just wrote such a good reply and dropped it. Crap.
Pubmed used to be a credentialing publication, but now it is a search engine for god knows what.
The article is from J Neuroscience.
Dopamine tone on the Internet is 1000% neurotrash.
These researchers usex it in an abstract model to conduct neurobiology research. The term does not refer to dopa levels at all. Dopamine usually switches things off. This research used drugs to induce a preplanned, specific mental state in mice so their dopa neurons were in a specific zone. Neither a good one or a bad one. The purpose was to follow two out if many conditions for neurotransmission related to learning. It was not an optimized mental state.
Another study using the term tone because tonicity, the correct word, is not cool sounding, also created a specific level of neuronal excitation - different one - to explore neural pathways. The point was not the level of excitation. By the way excitation refers to both quantity and level of excitation. K. So in this case the excitory state was due to the fact that the mice were genetically altered to be hyperdopminergic and were raised to have no existence behaviorwise beyond pressing two levers.
So do pamine tone is not a positive.
It is so compelling to associate tone with fitness. A toned muscle, a toned neural pathway.
Nothing could be more wrong. Dopamine tone is not about dopamine levels. You were seduced by the sirens of neurotrash. Just go for it and read primary research. This thread has so much high value already. I hope you can just trust your mind. You'll be a free bird along the ocean synthesizing endless sparkling data.
Just imagine all the bogus ideas about dopamine tone that would be floating around if you used neurotrash in your book. Good luck.
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Just saw your PM... that's awesome.. I'd be interested in checking out whatever published work you have and I appreciate the compliments. The thing with PubMed is that basically any journal can publish to it.

But damn, you really don't like that 'tone' term huh lol. But when I hear tone I don’t think muscle tone, I think like a... music tone. Like an overall background noise. Or how it's used in linguistics. Now that I see you're thinking of it as like muscle tone I can see why you'd hate it, because that implies there's some ideal level for 'strength' and that you should go work it out. lmfao… yea, no. I think tone in the sense of music is okay, but tone in the sense of muscles is cringeworthy. So yea, knowing that makes your critique makes sense.

A lot of psychiatrists I know use the term so I don’t know if it’s fully fair to damn it to the eternal flames of neuromania poop land. But I'd be interested if you have alternative ways of conveying what I'm trying to convey, but we'll talk about this via message since I don't want to get too in depth here. This on the other hand:

Man I want to read how you connect personality theories like the Big 5 to business.
So they found a really good predictor of Entrepreneurial success (as opposed to general success) is Openness. Why? Creativity is huge for business. You have to go out on a limb and try something that noone has ever tried and create something new. People who like Vanilla Ice Cream and want to live in a house with a white picket fence with 2.3 kids don't make great innovators. You have to be open to new experiences and experience different things so you can later connect the dots and combine them in new ways.

Steve Jobs on creativity: "If you're gonna make connections which are innovative ... you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you're going to make the same connections as everybody else, and then you won't be innovative, and then nobody will give you an award." (Full talk is great too)

And recent research corroborates what Jobs said in 1982:


If you'd rather read the primary source, here:


Openness is important because open people always seeking out new experiences so they can create things in new ways. They take a cool idea from here, and a cool idea from there and combine it in a way the world has never seen.

Entrepreneurs actually have a similar personality profile to Artists and Musicians. Because they are artists. Except their canvases are more like Technology and Products rather than paper and sheet music. They're essentially Product Artists. And artists combine things in new ways.

You'll be a free bird along the ocean synthesizing endless sparkling data.
This literally just made me spit out my drink. Literally.
 

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Just saw your PM... that's awesome.. I'd be interested in checking out whatever published work you have and I appreciate the compliments. The thing with PubMed is that basically any journal can publish to it.

But damn, you really don't like that 'tone' term huh lol. But when I hear tone I don’t think muscle tone, I think like a... music tone. Like an overall background noise. Or how it's used in linguistics. Now that I see you're thinking of it as like muscle tone I can see why you'd hate it, because that implies there's some ideal level for 'strength' and that you should go work it out. lmfao… yea, no. I think tone in the sense of music is okay, but tone in the sense of muscles is cringeworthy. So yea, knowing that makes your critique makes sense.

A lot of psychiatrists I know use the term so I don’t know if it’s fully fair to damn it to the eternal flames of neuromania poop land. But I'd be interested if you have alternative ways of conveying what I'm trying to convey, but we'll talk about this via message since I don't want to get too in depth here. This on the other hand:



So they found a really good predictor of Entrepreneurial success (as opposed to general success) is Openness. Why? Creativity is huge for business. You have to go out on a limb and try something that noone has ever tried and create something new. People who like Vanilla Ice Cream and want to live in a house with a white picket fence with 2.3 kids don't make great innovators. You have to be open to new experiences and experience different things so you can later connect the dots and combine them in new ways.

Steve Jobs on creativity: "If you're gonna make connections which are innovative ... you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you're going to make the same connections as everybody else, and then you won't be innovative, and then nobody will give you an award." (Full talk is great too)

And recent research corroborates what Jobs said in 1982:


If you'd rather read the primary source, here:


Openness is important because open people always seeking out new experiences so they can create things in new ways. They take a cool idea from here, and a cool idea from there and combine it in a way the world has never seen.

Entrepreneurs actually have a similar personality profile to Artists and Musicians. Because they are artists. Except their canvases are more like Technology and Products rather than paper and sheet music. They're essentially Product Artists. And artists combine things in new ways.


This literally just made me spit out my drink. Literally.
Musical tone is a really nice metaphor for a state of mind.
But dopamine tone is a thing already. A different, discrete construct for a lab-created condition for neurotransmitter experimentation.
A lot of psychiatrists use misinformation creatively. Goody for them.
Poor psychiatry doesn't even have a descriptive category for self-actualization.
Does anyone else see a problem with this?
The peak of mental health in medical psychiatry is a slowlane striver (@MJ DeMarco).
 
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Yea, I still need some kind of term that encompasses everything, even if it's not that.

Some people just say 'low dopamine' but that's misleading. You can have high dopamine, but downregulated receptors, so you'd have the same symptoms of low DA, without low DA. Or a COMT or MAOA gene working overtime, so your dopamine would be high, but the signaling would be low. So it needs some metaphor that encompasses all of that.
 
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Great post @ChrisV!

I really need to stick to my lifestyle changes, including meditating, exercising, and sleeping better.

What do you think is the mechanism behind the effect of sunlight?

Is it Vitamin D related?
 

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Yea, I still need some kind of term that encompasses everything, even if it's not that.
The term is for a mental framework or mindset or a behavioral pattern, right?
What about 'mode' or 'set' or 'loop'?
A new term can be tied directly to the book.
Reward set or 'R-set'
Habit loop or 'H-Loop'
Novelty feed or 'F-Nova'
Just riffing on some kind of value system or a descriptive framework.
It's what MJ calls the logic flow that is the framework for the book.
 
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Great post @ChrisV!

I really need to stick to my lifestyle changes, including meditating, exercising, and sleeping better.

What do you think is the mechanism behind the effect of sunlight?

Is it Vitamin D related?
Yep. Vitamin D is related. It mat help with Dopamine release.

It also may protect Dopamine Neurons.



In addition to vitamin D metabolites, vitamin D receptor (VDR) proteins are also found in the brain. The highest density of VDR is in substantia nigra, one of the primary areas of dopamine production.

Aside from the Vitamin D, bright light also improves our mood. Some people get a seasonal (winter) depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Bright Light Therapy is very helpful for that.



I really need to stick to my lifestyle changes, including meditating, exercising, and sleeping better.
Here's what I've noticed. You need a certain baseline amount of dopamine transmission just to have the self-control and motivation to stick with your plans. So I recommend trying the easiest DA fixes that require almost no self-control first, which is why I recommend the genetic testing (you can get everything done for under 200 bucks.)

Again, I've since found better solutions than Adderall to combat this so I'm not really recommending adderall except as an absolute last resort, but I want to tell the story to make a point. When I was on Adderall (had higher DA transmission) it was so easy to hit the gym. It was basically natural. It actually felt uncomfortable when I didn't go. But when I was off the adderall I would literally have to push myself, and often missed days. Again, that's not to suggest Adderall as a solution but I say that to show: when your DA transmission is high, it's way easier to stick with your goals like exercise, which then further improves your DA transmission. Then use your "self-control profits" to invest in the other activities that further boost DA transmission.

If you do it right it creates an Upward Spiral.
 
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Great post @ChrisV!

I really need to stick to my lifestyle changes, including meditating, exercising, and sleeping better.

What do you think is the mechanism behind the effect of sunlight?

Is it Vitamin D related?
Also part of the reason I posted this was that MJ asked me to a while back, and I just hadn't gotten to it:

Yikes, this thread started 3 years ago.

Anyhow, upgrading to NOTABLE due to all the effort, charts, links, and references posted. It's a tangled web of information, if anyone wants to sort it out, it could be helpful. For instance, the Locus of Control concept is significant to understand for success.
 

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Thank you for this thought provoking thread Chris.
Feels like you are onto something really big.
 

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@ChrisV Thanks for the knowledge.

Would you recommend reading The Craving Cure instead of The Mood Cure because it’s newer?
 

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I’m actually just realizing that you mentioned the book in the diet thread, not the dopamine thread. My bad.
 

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Interesting stuff Chris it is mostly common sense and personal responsibility that these are the traits successful people have, but both of them are too much like work for most people to want to stick to. They crave the easy and miraculous silver bullet, which doesn't exist, and so stay on the SlowLane.

Now that you've told us the good and bad news, please share the gene expression and behavioral and cognitive things we can do to improve what so far, seems like a hopeless affliction if we're not on the lucky side of this equation.

"I will climb this mountain or die upon it." ( Paraphrased fro Jim Rohn or Brian Tracy, I forget which ;-)

I gotta' comment on the Adderall thing. I admit I haven't read this section or watched the video...because:

a) I know WTF I'm talking about, yet aware I have everything left to learn.
b) I have finite time and choose to manage and put said time toward my FastLane.

In short Adderall DOESN'T work if you're talking about helping normal people focus, be more motivated and get things done. Take Yours Pills

What it DOES DO is increase peoples PERCEPTION and CONFIDENCE that they are more motivated, sharper and more brilliant, kinda like how hypnosis causes people to BELIEVE recall efficacy is increased by hypnosis, but it's not. It increases your belief in the accuracy and efficacy of your REAL AND IMAGINED memories.

If you mean for ADHD, it MAY work, but the cure is for most people worse than the "disease" or "disorder" of ADHD.

I say this as someone with ADHD who's NEVER USED MEDS FOR IT.

If it helps you, use it, but when the most stoned person I met at Burning Man 2005 told me the only drugs he'd taken was his ADHD meds ( he'd just arrived shortly before I met him ), I saw with my own eyes just how F*cked-up and destructive ADHD meds are for people's mental functioning. Sure, he was calm... and wasted out of his mind, yet unable to sleep most nights.

I BEG ANYONE who's been told they or their child should take ADHD meds to do excessive research and deep soul searching before messing up a perfectly good brain that probably just needs to learn self-management strategies.

Everyone should be aware that THERE IS NO objective physiological diagnostic test for ADHD so any "diagnosis" is really you doctor saying "My best guess based on a list of symptoms for ADHD which I as a doctor I know VERY little about ( unless they're an ADHD specialist ) is that it SEEMS the patient MAY HAVE ADHD and we have drugs that'll make them so blitzed as to seem to be paying attention and they will stay calm".

Sorry to get off topic Chris ( I'm ADHD;-), but it's also relevant and important.

Back on topic, ok Chris give us the good news if you found any because most appearances in this post so far make motivation seem largely outside our control:-?

timbgreen
 
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Now that you've told us the good and bad news, please share the gene expression and behavioral and cognitive things we can do to improve what so far, seems like a hopeless affliction if we're not on the lucky side of this equation.
See my fourth post. The entire post is devoted to interventions.

So most importantly, what can you do about all this? That's the biggest thing of course.
 
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I'm such a dumbass. I forgot to link to a Personality test.

You can take this personality test for free


Here's how they break down:

36719766_10156479464562264_3407202074222395392_o_10156479464552264-2.jpg

Also something instersting I found. Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) on Impulsivity and Delaying Gratification and how it relates to success (and failure - 8:58 in video)

View: https://youtu.be/iKMpLFCbLz4?t=538


@ChrisV Thanks for the knowledge.

Would you recommend reading The Craving Cure instead of The Mood Cure because it’s newer?
I’m actually just realizing that you mentioned the book in the diet thread, not the dopamine thread. My bad.
Ha.. it's cool. I started reading The Craving Cure and I wasn't that impressed, but it's gotten good reviews on Amazon. But Mood Cure is a bonafide classic, and even I have some issues with that book, it's still great for the most part.

Re: Adderall - I said a few times in this thread i do not recommend Adderall, whether or not you have ADHD. It's a Dopamine releasing agent, which means it can (and will) deplete the tank. Usually what happens with Adderall is people have to keep upping the dose for it to keep working until they're at like 90 mgs and run into toxicity issues. Adderall is Amphetamine. It's not a good long term solution, or even a good short term one. The only reason I even mentioned it was to illustrate the effects of dopamine on motivation, focus and performance. By getting your DA levels in check in healthier ways, you can have the effects of Adderall without the major side effects of Adderall.
 

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I think I should get a Tattoo about these 2 words "Delayed Gratification" and put it on my body!

Chris - Thanks man for your research & work!
 

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I'm such a dumbass. I forgot to link to a Personality test.

You can take this personality test for free


Here's how they break down:

View attachment 26364

Also something instersting I found. Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) on Impulsivity and Delaying Gratification and how it relates to success (and failure - 8:58 in video)

View: https://youtu.be/iKMpLFCbLz4?t=538




Ha.. it's cool. I started reading The Craving Cure and I wasn't that impressed, but it's gotten good reviews on Amazon. But Mood Cure is a bonafide classic, and even I have some issues with that book, it's still great for the most part.

Re: Adderall - I said a few times in this thread i do not recommend Adderall, whether or not you have ADHD. It's a Dopamine releasing agent, which means it can (and will) deplete the tank. Usually what happens with Adderall is people have to keep upping the dose for it to keep working until they're at like 90 mgs and run into toxicity issues. Adderall is Amphetamine. It's not a good long term solution, or even a good short term one. The only reason I even mentioned it was to illustrate the effects of dopamine on motivation, focus and performance. By getting your DA levels in check in healthier ways, you can have the effects of Adderall without the major side effects of Adderall.
Hi Chris what do you find to be the long term problems with Adderall?
 

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