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

Raveling

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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.

View attachment 26219

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!
Thanks Chris,

All the stuff you say about meditation, sleep, nutrition... Is great and comes under the category of NO SHIT for anyone wanting to stay healthy and who's literate probably already knows.

That's not a dis BTW, it's more like high 5 to you and a dis to everyone NOT doing all of the cost-free behavior and lifestyle stuff most young children know from their moms, yet fail to apply and act on.

Genetic testing, wow, expensive ( I think) and unnecessary at least until you have done all the free stuff. Same for the doctor.

That said, it's a good option for a more complete and thorough solution as you said above. I just hate it when people are left thinking that their destiny in anything is in the control of others'. While that is sometimes true and you should exercise those options if you can't solve them yourself. It's a sign of an evolved person to recognize when they can't help themselves, just as it is to recognize, you usually CAN help yourself. Thank you for qualifying it Chris, respect.

For ADHD there's no question I am. Your advice about the doctor for that, unless he's a specialist is well, terrible IMHO.

ADHD meds are shit and do more harm than good in all but the most severe cases. I can tell you from direct experience as someone with ADHD and 15 years dealing with child hypers in my classes, that MOST need to be managed correctly and learn to manage themselves, but do not need drugs. If they do, you should seek them out, but the drug-free options are FREE, and more importantly, are usually sufficient, plus, it's a matter of education and possibly training or practice and ZERO side effects. If it doesn't work, you can still go to your doctor and get yourself or your kid stoned ( WITH side effects ).

If you honestly think the pharmaceutical industry puts your best interest, health or well being ahead of profit at ANY expense, you haven't been paying attention.

For the following I've answered as though you were referring to me specifically, is that correct?

I'm low agreeableness, not high, just in case my posts don't make that obvious, if anything, I need to manage being intentionally agreeable, which I can do just fine in most cases. UNLESS I decide I just don't care about the fallout, in which case I speak my mind knowing the potential ramifications;-)

Conscientiousness, I'm high, not low. And while OCEAN is the most scientifically validated personality type system around, I still laugh at it for being shockingly wrong often. Several of the predictions say I'm all but impossible, that my personality can't exist because the systems says I can't, but I haven't blinked out of existence...yet;-)

So IF this is the best system for measuring personality, and it is, AND it predicts that an ADHD person SHOULD BE low on conscientiousness, or is at the very least that someone with ADHD yet high conscientiousness is improbable, either I'm a very F*cking exceptional snowflake....OR the test fails to accurately predict something that REALLY EXISTS.

THEREFORE, "All models are wrong, but some are useful" George E.P. Box, or my own version..."All models are incomplete. but some are useful." Tim B. Green ( me;-)

OCEAN is the best we have, but it's FAR from magic and equally far from accurate or right in many situations. I just read a boastful article recently about big data finding four main personality types, weird, I'm none of them:)-

To be fair it did say people " tended to cluster" around four types, so at least, they weren't so irresponsible to say there ARE four personality types, but there are four MAIN types.

I'll address SMART goals and most goal-setting stuff in my own post on that topic another time because my own position and approach is controversial, and entirely my own, like my fitness stuff.

To be clear, SMART goals are better than no goals and far better than most, but after years applying them, GE ( I think it was GE ) realized SMART was insufficient and took a cue from the Japanese by adding stretch goals to their arsenal, why? Because SMART is a model and is therefore incomplete.

SMART is clever, but add-ons like Stretch goals ( which would be excluded from SMART goals by definition ) because they're not measurable, realistic or timebound in the sense that SMART goals require, aka you're forced to use to apple the SMART system and The One Thing and makes for a more complete and therefore more useful, though still incomplete model for setting effective goals.

I'll explain that in my thread on goal setting ( no promises as to when, but I will eventually do it ).

Chris, IFF I was mistaken in my assumption about some of these comments being a direct reference to me, let me know, because it means some of my self-referenced responses don't apply to your post. If however, they do, I'd appreciate your verification of the same.

timbgreen
 

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ChrisV

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Hi Chris what do you find to be the long term problems with Adderall?
My personal experience, or in general?

My personal experience is that we had to continually increase the dose to get the same effects, but that's also a common complaint.
 
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ChrisV

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Chris, IFF I was mistaken in my assumption about some of these comments being a direct reference to me, let me know, because it means some of my self-referenced responses don't apply to your post. If however, they do, I'd appreciate your verification of the same.
Nothing thus far was directed at you.

Also genetic testing is $99 from 23andme

26424
So IF this is the best system for measuring personality, and it is, AND it predicts that an ADHD person SHOULD BE low on conscientiousness, or is at the very least that someone with ADHD yet high conscientiousness is improbable, either I'm a very F*cking exceptional snowflake....OR the test fails to accurately predict something that REALLY EXISTS.
A .5 correlation does not mean every single data point falls on the regression line. That's a 1.0 correlation which i explained in my first post, almost never exist with this type of stuff.

26425

A .5 correlation implies a strong general trend, but by definition there will be outliers, and datapoint that are away from the regression line. It absolutely, doesn't not mean that "everyone with ADHD is low in conscientiousness." Again, that would be a 1.0 correlation. Plus the fact that ADHD is just generally a cluster of symptoms and there's no real objective way of testing for it.

Also also, the .8 correlation is for Inattentive type ADHD (colloquially referred to as ADD,) which is different from ADHD with Hyperactivity.
 

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Oh lord this is so me. I hardly know where to start.

I've long suspected dopamine issues -- in addition to the motivation/etc behaviors you mentioned, I had RLS (restless legs, often associated with low dopa levels) for most of my life until I got my mercury fillings removed 2 years ago. I tend to be phlegmatic, low-energy, low-competitiveness. I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success. I show 7 of the 11 behaviors on your "How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone" list. I'm not formally diagnosed but I'm almost certainly Inattentive ADHD. Same with my son, and most likely my mom and her dad too. I'm +/+ MTHFR (A1298C and 4 other variants) and MAOA, +/- COMT. L-methylfolate didn't help at all.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. This is why I gave up on the idea of any serious entrepreneurial pursuits -- these personality traits are just not compatible with it. I think I did pretty well to be self-employed (mostly computer consulting) for 30 years.

Your "what to do about it" list is helpful, but you realize some of the major ones (e.g. exercise) are damn difficult for someone with these challenges. I'd like to hear any other suggestions.

I have a lot of gifts and strengths. But this one issue has handicapped me for my entire life. And my son has it much worse than I do. I would really REALLY love to get a handle on it.
 
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ChrisV

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@garyfritz

Yep brother, I feel for you. I have the problematic alleles of the (appropriately abbreviated) MTHFR and COMT and until working on this it was brutal.

I do have some solutions to this, which I'll mention in a second, but for now I totally agree about it being difficult to exercise with this problem. In a study they selectively bred mice to have a specific variant of the SLC35D3 (dopamine receptor) gene. Mice with this gene wouldn't (or couldn't?) exercise. When given a drug to reverse the effects of the gene, they began exercising again.

Researchers looked at the genetics and brain chemistry of mice to see how a specific genetic mutation (a variant of the SLC35D3 gene) influenced body weight, food intake, metabolism and physical activity levels.

The mutation seems to disrupt dopamine signalling. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with physical pleasure and reward. The disruption in this gene appears to make affected mice "lazy" – they quickly developed symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome in humans (a series of symptoms linked to obesity and inactivity).

Affected mice given a drug designed to improve dopamine signalling became more active and lost excess weight.

“In mice that had a faulty SLC35D3 gene, the dopamine receptors were trapped inside cells; therefore, these mice became couch potatoes,” says Paul.


I hope to be able to (significantly) expand my solutions list in the coming months as I've been helping a company that specializes in this stuff.

For now here are my thoughts on exercise, etc:

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.
Another solution I've been hesitant to mention, but might be miraculous is EEG Neurofeedback. The reason I'm hesitant to mention it is because the research is still in it's infancy, and the research to date hasn't been done as well as it should have been. That said they just came up with a formalized research protocol so hopefully there should be some quality research in the foreseeable future.

It's hard to do research on it because the way they do the Neurofeedback really matters. Asking "Does Neurofeedback work" is somewhat like asking "Do supplement work"... well, which supplements exactly? The NFT protocol used really matters. I think that's why the results have been so mixed.


Another reason I'm hesitant to mention it is insurance doesn't always cover it. But it definitely may be worth looking into.

Another thing it may also be very beneficial to look into is Wellbutrin, and bring it up to your doctor or (even better) specialist. Wellbutrin is a Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor, so it can leave more dopamine between neurons. It may be even more helpful if you bring a copy of your genetic report, or at least the printout of those genes. I'm hesitant to mention Modafinil because I've heard reports of it ceasing to work, but may definitely be worth looking into.

Again none of this is medical advice, but I think it's good for people to be informed about medication so they can work with their doctor, rather than being in the dark. ie "I've heard ____ is helpful, what do you think?" Also, Dr. Wetsman's channel is great.
 
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I've long suspected dopamine issues -- in addition to the motivation/etc behaviors you mentioned, I had RLS (restless legs, often associated with low dopa levels) for most of my life until I got my mercury fillings removed 2 years ago. I tend to be phlegmatic, low-energy, low-competitiveness. I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success. I show 7 of the 11 behaviors on your "How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone" list. I'm not formally diagnosed but I'm almost certainly Inattentive ADHD. Same with my son, and most likely my mom and her dad too. I'm +/+ MTHFR (A1298C and 4 other variants) and MAOA, +/- COMT. L-methylfolate didn't help at all.
The brand and dosage of l-methylfolate matter. 800 mcg barely did anything for me. The success rate is impressive when I am on between 1.6 to 3.2 mg. Co-factors also make a difference. I supplement with B12, potassium, magnesium, etc.

Your MTHFR could be B2 deficiency, too.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp6u82coOYE
 

Raveling

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Oh lord this is so me. I hardly know where to start.

I've long suspected dopamine issues -- in addition to the motivation/etc behaviors you mentioned, I had RLS (restless legs, often associated with low dopa levels) for most of my life until I got my mercury fillings removed 2 years ago. I tend to be phlegmatic, low-energy, low-competitiveness. I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success. I show 7 of the 11 behaviors on your "How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone" list. I'm not formally diagnosed but I'm almost certainly Inattentive ADHD. Same with my son, and most likely my mom and her dad too. I'm +/+ MTHFR (A1298C and 4 other variants) and MAOA, +/- COMT. L-methylfolate didn't help at all.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. This is why I gave up on the idea of any serious entrepreneurial pursuits -- these personality traits are just not compatible with it. I think I did pretty well to be self-employed (mostly computer consulting) for 30 years.

Your "what to do about it" list is helpful, but you realize some of the major ones (e.g. exercise) are damn difficult for someone with these challenges. I'd like to hear any other suggestions.

I have a lot of gifts and strengths. But this one issue has handicapped me for my entire life. And my son has it much worse than I do. I would really REALLY love to get a handle on it.
Start by doing everything YOU can which is a lot.

Whatever you do eliminate all your own excuses and take it as far as you can before succumbing to surrendering your own responsibility for any "weaknesses" to causes outside your control.

Also be weary of ANY list of symptoms that ( from time to time) apply to EVERYONR.

As humans (at least those who survived to modern day) almost without exception inherited a negativity, a confirmation and for lack of a better word "laziness" bias.

Simply put we focus on the nagative (to ensure survival), avoid expending energy that doesn't contribute to immediate short term survival ( "laziness " ) and also are biased to "confirm" whatever the F*ck we are paying attention to.

Combined most modern humans have a natural propensity to laziness, negatively and confirming the validity of whatever they are thinking about, like making excuses about why we're fat, smoke, don't exercise, and why none of it is our fault.

News flash MOST OF IT IS OUR FAULT!!! And our choice.


IFF after TRULY doing ALL YOU CAN, by all means, look for outside causes.

Remember successfully people aren't much different than anyone

IFF after taking all the steps you can to do iunder your
 

Raveling

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Oh lord this is so me. I hardly know where to start.

I've long suspected dopamine issues -- in addition to the motivation/etc behaviors you mentioned, I had RLS (restless legs, often associated with low dopa levels) for most of my life until I got my mercury fillings removed 2 years ago. I tend to be phlegmatic, low-energy, low-competitiveness. I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success. I show 7 of the 11 behaviors on your "How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone" list. I'm not formally diagnosed but I'm almost certainly Inattentive ADHD. Same with my son, and most likely my mom and her dad too. I'm +/+ MTHFR (A1298C and 4 other variants) and MAOA, +/- COMT. L-methylfolate didn't help at all.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. This is why I gave up on the idea of any serious entrepreneurial pursuits -- these personality traits are just not compatible with it. I think I did pretty well to be self-employed (mostly computer consulting) for 30 years.

Your "what to do about it" list is helpful, but you realize some of the major ones (e.g. exercise) are damn difficult for someone with these challenges. I'd like to hear any other suggestions.

I have a lot of gifts and strengths. But this one issue has handicapped me for my entire life. And my son has it much worse than I do. I would really REALLY love to get a handle on it.
Start by doing everything YOU can which is a lot. To be clear, anything that help you live a better life is worth pursuing, it's just that most of those things take work and come from you and the evidence of that is exhaustive.

Whatever you do eliminate all your own excuses and take it as far as you can before succumbing to surrendering your own responsibility for any "weaknesses" to causes outside your control.

Also be wary of ANY list of symptoms that ( from time to time) apply to EVERYONE.

As humans (at least those who survived to modern-day) almost without exception inherited a negativity, a confirmation and for lack of a better word a "laziness" ( energy conservation ) bias.

Simply put, virtually everyone focuses on the negative (to ensure survival), think is that a lion colored rock, or a lion, better to assume the worst and avoid being eaten , avoid expending energy that doesn't contribute to immediate short term survival ( "laziness " ). Think if I do cardio and lift weights regularly, I'm likely to die of starvation before we kill our next bison, so better not to work out. This was true for most of human history and is the number one reason for skyrocketing obesity in ALL wealthy nations. I live in Japan and have SEEN it manifest before my eyes over the past 14 years in Asia. We're also are biased to "confirm" whatever the F*ck we are paying attention to no matter how irrelevant to our life or wellbeing.

Combined together, most modern humans have a natural propensity to laziness, negatively and confirming the validity of whatever they are thinking about, like making excuses about why we're fat, why we smoke, don't exercise, and why none of it is our fault.

News flash MOST OF IT IS OUR FAULT!!! And our choice.

To that point notice the excessively high correlation between success and internal locus of control Chris referred to. People who are the most successful tend to make EVERYTHING their fault and responsibility whether it's true or not. Check out Jock Willink on Extreme Accountability or just refer to MJ and either of his books. Paraphrased "it's my fault of I hired a contractor who ripped me off"

An excellent book on overcoming inertia, and understanding it's the RULE and NOT THE EXCEPTION read Nudge or Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, better yet read both. Or read Charles Duhiggs The power of Habit or Smarter Faster Better

A super easy hack is to get a physical calendar ( I used a dry erase monthly that cost less than $5 ) and put an X or O on every day you exercise, meditated, eat healthily... and put is in your face, on your ceiling, bedroom door, the door you exit your house EVERY DAY.

Unless you've actually tracked your suspected behavior objectively all you can honestly say is " I SEEM lazy, I SEEM to have a dopamine issue..."

Hold yourself accountable BEFORE selling out you accountability to the medical or BIG PHARMA industries.

IFF after TRULY doing ALL YOU CAN, by all means, look for outside causes.

Remember successfully people aren't much different than anyone else except that they ( like MJ did ) did what he hated, or at least what was necessary IN SPITE OF a lack of motivation.

Anyone telling me I'm just naturally driven, have a gifted dopamine response or anything like that is laughable.

It's taken me well over a decade of HARD WORK to develop what I and most other people would probably rate as average drive and discipline. In fact, that's EXACTLY how I was rated on an extensive personality inventory for a job interview.

If it weren't for my obsession and LOVE of inventing, I would have given up trying to make inventing my career long before the approximately 13 years it's been, with not a dime or license to show for it YET.
My first income for inventions will start coming in the next few months to year.

"I think I did pretty well to be self-employed (mostly computer consulting) for 30 years."

Strongly suggest you have no such issue.


Look I don't know you, we've never met, but MOST people NEVER succeed or even attempt self-employment because they lack the self-discipline.

I'm not NEARLY as disciplined as I know I should be and many days I have to push myself to get started, even when I LOVE what I do.

Imagine this. Aliens appear an abduct you, taking you to their spaceship. They tell you they'd eat you children, dog and wife, AND remove your genitals to make hors d'oeuvres if you didn't:

1) meditate daily
2) exercise at least 3X a week
3) eat healthier
...

I'm betting that all or most of your dopamine issues would disappear overnight, if not, you'd obviously want to head to the doctor and do all the other stuff outside your control lest you lose all that is precious to the alien's digestive tracks:blackalien:
 
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The brand and dosage of l-methylfolate matter. 800 mcg barely did anything for me. The success rate is impressive when I am on between 1.6 to 3.2 mg. Co-factors also make a difference. I supplement with B12, potassium, magnesium, etc.

Your MTHFR could be B2 deficiency, too.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp6u82coOYE
Yea it does matter. The regular 1 mg L-Methylfolate the they sell does nothing for me (and many people.) But the 5mg one with cofactors? Holy shit. Motivation for days.

The problematic MTHFR gene makes it so that people can't metabolize Folic Acid correctly, and therefore can't produce dopamine

26466

The inability to produce dopamine comes together to create a form of metabolic syndrome, that leads to lethargy, reduced activity and even overeating.

Obesity, dopamine and the metabolic syndrome: potential of dopaminergic agents in the control of metabolism

Dopamine is involved in the control of food intake, energy expenditure, glucose and lipid metabolism, blood pressure and insulin release. Dopaminergic (D2 receptor) neurotransmission is diminished in the brains of obese animal models and humans. D2 receptor activation facilitates glucose metabolism, lowers blood pressure and stimulates resting energy expenditure in non-diabetic obese individuals.

Activation of dopamine D2 receptors simultaneously ameliorates various metabolic features of obese women

The metabolic syndrome comprises a cluster of metabolic anomalies including insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Previous studies suggest that impaired dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) signaling is involved in its pathogenesis. We studied the acute effects of bromocriptine (a D2R agonist) on energy metabolism in obese women; body weight and caloric intake remained constant.


Going back to the last study I cited, researchers were able to induce metabolic syndrome and 'laziness' by altering Dopamine transmission, and then reverse it by altering dopamine activity again.

Researchers looked at the genetics and brain chemistry of mice to see how a specific genetic mutation (a variant of the SLC35D3 gene) influenced body weight, food intake, metabolism and physical activity levels.

The mutation seems to disrupt dopamine signalling. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with physical pleasure and reward. The disruption in this gene appears to make affected mice "lazy" – they quickly developed symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome in humans (a series of symptoms linked to obesity and inactivity).

Affected mice given a drug designed to improve dopamine signalling became more active and lost excess weight.

“In mice that had a faulty SLC35D3 gene, the dopamine receptors were trapped inside cells; therefore, these mice became couch potatoes,” says Paul.


I have the MTHFR gene, and when my folate levels are low I don't want to do anything. But when I get them back to normal, BOOM, I kill every aspect of life.
 

garyfritz

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Start by doing everything YOU can which is a lot. To be clear, anything that help you live a better life is worth pursuing, it's just that most of those things take work and come from you and the evidence of that is exhaustive.

Whatever you do eliminate all your own excuses and take it as far as you can before succumbing to surrendering your own responsibility for any "weaknesses" to causes outside your control.
Do you think I haven't been TRYING to do that for over 50 years?? Some people (maybe including you) don't have this problem. That doesn't mean ALL people can "fix" the problem with a simple application of will. People are different. You may be very disciplined/motivated but I've had very little success with "deciding to" be that way myself.

(My brother, a typical type-A hyper-productive type, just doesn't understand this. It's easy for him, so obviously it's just easy, so if you don't do it, obviously you're lazy or not trying. He typically asks me questions like "Well why don't you just ..." One time I shot back "Well why don't you just read a damn book?" (He's fairly badly dyslexic.) That shut him up fast. It started to dawn on him that maybe other people have different challenges than he does.)

Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.

And I have a pretty solid internal locus of control. I don't blame anybody else for stuff unless it's clearly out of my control, like the weather or something like that. I would not have survived 30 years as a self-employed contractor/consultant if I didn't have a fairly good lock on that. My failings are my own. My focus and my productivity suck, but my **discipline** is pretty good. It's very common for me to plant my a$$ in my office chair 16 hours a day to get a job done. During the day I'm rabbit-holing and shiny-objecting (?) all over the place, so my time efficiency sucks rocks -- I might charge for only 4 hours of productive work. But my discipline keeps me in the chair until the job is done. The really maddening thing is that I can WATCH myself doing this, and think "you idiot, there you go again." I might pull myself out of it for the moment, but I seem nearly powerless to prevent it from happening again and again and again. I can't hold my breath forever.

Yea it does matter. The regular 1 mg L-Methylfolate the they sell does nothing for me (and many people.) But the 5mg one with cofactors? Holy shit. Motivation for days.
I titrated up to 20mg/day, if I remember right, using a very high-quality recommended supplement, tons of B12, lots of Mg, etc. Zero effect.

But that's when I was still trying to isolate the source of all/most of the problems I was having. Since then I've removed my mercury fillings and I'm chemically extracting deep body stores of mercury, and most of my problems have vanished. (Except focus/productivity/etc, which are very common mercury behaviors.) Maybe it would be worth giving folate another try.

The inability to produce dopamine comes together to create a form of metabolic syndrome, that leads to lethargy, reduced activity and even overeating.
I've always had a big appetite and I'm fairly lethargic & don't exercise much, but fortunately weight is not a problem. I'm actually UNDERweight in spite of eating whatever the **** I want. And in spite of having almost every symptom of low thyroid EXCEPT weight gain.
 
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Do you think I haven't been TRYING to do that for over 50 years?? Some people (maybe including you) don't have this problem. That doesn't mean ALL people can "fix" the problem with a simple application of will. People are different. You may be very disciplined/motivated but I've had very little success with "deciding to" be that way myself.

(My brother, a typical type-A hyper-productive type, just doesn't understand this. It's easy for him, so obviously it's just easy, so if you don't do it, obviously you're lazy or not trying. He typically asks me questions like "Well why don't you just ..." One time I shot back "Well why don't you just read a damn book?" (He's fairly badly dyslexic.) That shut him up fast. It started to dawn on him that maybe other people have different challenges than he does.)

Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.

And I have a pretty solid internal locus of control. I don't blame anybody else for stuff unless it's clearly out of my control, like the weather or something like that. I would not have survived 30 years as a self-employed contractor/consultant if I didn't have a fairly good lock on that. My failings are my own. My focus and my productivity suck, but my **discipline** is pretty good. It's very common for me to plant my a$$ in my office chair 16 hours a day to get a job done. During the day I'm rabbit-holing and shiny-objecting (?) all over the place, so my time efficiency sucks rocks -- I might charge for only 4 hours of productive work. But my discipline keeps me in the chair until the job is done. The really maddening thing is that I can WATCH myself doing this, and think "you idiot, there you go again." I might pull myself out of it for the moment, but I seem nearly powerless to prevent it from happening again and again and again. I can't hold my breath forever.


I titrated up to 20mg/day, if I remember right, using a very high-quality recommended supplement, tons of B12, lots of Mg, etc. Zero effect.

But that's when I was still trying to isolate the source of all/most of the problems I was having. Since then I've removed my mercury fillings and I'm chemically extracting deep body stores of mercury, and most of my problems have vanished. (Except focus/productivity/etc, which are very common mercury behaviors.) Maybe it would be worth giving folate another try.


I've always had a big appetite and I'm fairly lethargic & don't exercise much, but fortunately weight is not a problem. I'm actually UNDERweight in spite of eating whatever the **** I want. And in spite of having almost every symptom of low thyroid EXCEPT weight gain.
Not that this is necessarily a mental illness, but I think it draws parallels:

26469

That's awesome with the mercury though. It's funny how stuff like that can affect us.


He typically asks me questions like "Well why don't you just ..." One time I shot back "Well why don't you just read a damn book?" (He's fairly badly dyslexic.) That shut him up fast. It started to dawn on him that maybe other people have different challenges than he does.)
Lmfao


Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.
Yea for people without the issue, it is a matter of discipline. I think that's why there's such a disconnect between the two worlds.

Re: your son... it may get slightly better with age. Our Prefrontal Cortex, which is responsible for planning ahead and conscientiousness, aren't fully online until around 25. Actually there's a thread on here "when did you start getting your shit together" and most people answered around 25 lol

But I still recommend looking into the other stuff I just listed because i'm sure it has some genetic component considering you definitely have the gene and you've said much of your family has it.

Also wanted to repost this for anyone curious about the power of meditation, as I think it related to the post:

Are there people on this forum who have experience with meditation?

I've been meditating for 2 years now. I've noticed huge changes in the quality of my life and head-space. The effects of meditation set in gradually, so don't expect too much from it at the start. But this is what I've gotten out of the habit: better ability to focus, increased impulse control, I naturally gravitate towards healthy foods, I've started to dislike alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, gained more empathy, more willpower, increased control over my moods, feeling of purpose etc.

Before I started to meditate my ego kept me chained to negativity and addictions. I had identified with my thoughts and they kept pulling me down. After I found out that I can silence the chatter, I was able to reclaim control over my thoughts, emotions and actions (to a degree, I am not, nor do I intend to be perfect)

And if so, which techniques do you use and how long etc.?

I just focus on my breath 20 minutes a day. When I notice my mind wandering I just return my attention to breath.

And how can you apply this effectively in daily life?

Well, how do You apply going to shower effectively in daily life? Think of this habit as a shower for Your brain. It is not a magic pill. It is just a mental hygiene thing.
 

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Great post Chris =D

It makes no sense that some doctors aren't taught basic Drug Tolerance theory in college.
Simple, solves +95% of problems related to long term medication usage, yet somehow it isn't common knowledge among the people that prescribe the medications.
Maybe them not learning it helps big pharma sell new products.
 

Raveling

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Do you think I haven't been TRYING to do that for over 50 years?? Some people (maybe including you) don't have this problem. That doesn't mean ALL people can "fix" the problem with a simple application of will. People are different. You may be very disciplined/motivated but I've had very little success with "deciding to" be that way myself.

Me to it's taken YEARS of effort. You read my comments selectively. It's work for me to A LOT OF WORK, the main difference is I DO THE WORK.

(My brother, a typical type-A hyper-productive type, just doesn't understand this. It's easy for him, so obviously it's just easy, so if you don't do it, obviously you're lazy or not trying. He typically asks me questions like "Well why don't you just ..." One time I shot back "Well why don't you just read a damn book?" (He's fairly badly dyslexic.) That shut him up fast. It started to dawn on him that maybe other people have different challenges than he does.)

Is it easy for him, or does he just do it regardless of ease. I work out every second day and have been doing so on and off for 37 YEARS. It's really F*cking hard EVERY TIME.

Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.

So get back on the wagon, successful people fail hundreds or thousands of times. Sometimes for a year or more. It's exceptionally presumptuous of you to claim " it's easy for you " and a convenient excuse for you to quit.

And I have a pretty solid internal locus of control. I don't blame anybody else for stuff unless it's clearly out of my control, like the weather or something like that. I would not have survived 30 years as a self-employed contractor/consultant if I didn't have a fairly good lock on that. My failings are my own.

Respect!!

My focus and my productivity suck, but my **discipline** is pretty good. It's very common for me to plant my a$$ in my office chair 16 hours a day to get a job done. During the day I'm rabbit-holing and shiny-objecting (?) all over the place, so my time efficiency sucks rocks -- I might charge for only 4 hours of productive work. But my discipline keeps me in the chair until the job is done. The really maddening thing is that I can WATCH myself doing this, and think "you idiot, there you go again." I might pull myself out of it for the moment, but I seem nearly powerless to prevent it from happening again and again and again. I can't hold my breath forever.

Oh yeah, you mean like my ADHD, it'll never go away, I struggle to fill out a form, hate taxes...anything with a lot of information takes me forever, especially the first time. The first time I did a provisional patent ( a pretty simple task) it took me 7 or 8 hours of struggling. Nowadays it takes 30 minutes.

So far it seems the main difference between us is our willingness to manage our challenges.

That said, if you have read the books I've suggested or similar, ( have you? )APPLIED what they said and it doesn't work, by all means, get outside help.

As an aside, if shiny objects take you, set a timer, and let it take you until it goes off, THEN try to get back on task. Another thing that works for me is switching to another productive task that's completely different than the first, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Have you tried any specific techniques other than "willpower"? If not check out "If, then, when". statements.

ie. When I get distracted by a Fastlane, Facebook...notification THEN I will immediately click it closed.

or

IF when I'm working and my friend starts to chat to me THEN I will set a 10-minute timer and chat guilt-free for ten minutes. and then end said chat.

OR

IF I chat for over 10 minutes, even an hour later, then I will tell my friend I'm trying to be more productive and ask him to help me by ending our chat after 10 minutes if I don't.


I titrated up to 20mg/day, if I remember right, using a very high-quality recommended supplement, tons of B12, lots of Mg, etc. Zero effect.

But that's when I was still trying to isolate the source of all/most of the problems I was having. Since then I've removed my mercury fillings and I'm chemically extracting deep body stores of mercury, and most of my problems have vanished. (Except focus/productivity/etc, which are very common mercury behaviors.) Maybe it would be worth giving folate another try.

Or maybe it's not the cause?

I've always had a big appetite and I'm fairly lethargic & don't exercise much, but fortunately weight is not a problem. I'm actually UNDERweight in spite of eating whatever the **** I want. And in spite of having almost every symptom of low thyroid EXCEPT weight gain.

Since neither of us are doctors, you should have someone who is test you, and get an objective measurment.

Finally, Did you read the part about what to do IFF none of those self interventions don't work? I'm all for getting appropriate outside interventions AFTER DOING all that you can on your own.

Please list all the specific actions you've taken to manage your challenges. It sounds like you want a magic bullet, me too except I know it doesn't exist. Only a lifetime of trying my best to get better and manage my challenges have gotten me what I am, and where I am is far from impressive, but I own all my successes and failures.

If I fail. I fail honestly, after trying everything I can, then I ask for help if I need it.

 
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One of the people who sent me questions, I want to answer here because I think it will be of benefit to other people:

Just read it, really good...

Is there a specific genetic test I should go for?

I can't seem to focus on the day to day, and need extreme circumstances to fire me into action.

I took Modafinil for almost a year straight and it worked amazingly for about a quarter of that, pretty well for another quarter. By the third quarter I just felt normal on it, and by the last it seemed to have almost no effect at all.

I stopped taking it in December, but I do miss it and am thinking of restocking. I mean don't get me wrong, I do shit, but am always feeling like I could be doing more.


Okay before I explain Modafinil, I just have to reiterate with everything in this post, nothing is medical advice. This is all stuff to speak with your doctor or specialist about. Do your homework, check citations, etc. I just want people to be educated consumers so they're not at the whim of Big Pharma. That being said... there are typically a handful of common things that go wrong with DA transmission, which have different corresponding genes.


26479

1 - MTHFR rs1801133 and rs1801131, and to a lesser extent rs4846049 - Problems with the MTHFR gene, cause problems with Dopamine (and Serotonin) production. DA and 5-HT (Sero) need Folic Acid in order to be synthesized. If you don't have enough Folate, you generally don't have enough Dopamine. MTHFR inhibits Folate metabolism. If you don't have enough, it can't be released. Also note that a deficiency in dietary tyrosine can also contribute to this problem. (see this thread for more info)
2 - Various - many of the other genes and environmental circumstances 'conspire' together so there's just a general lack of DA in the vesicles (vesicles are kinda like Amazon Prime boxes delivering packages to the synapse... just sometimes the box is empty or underpacked)
3 - DAT (SLC6A3) - Some people have a genetic variant that makes the DAT pump run faster than normal, which sucks Dopamine back into the presynaptic neuron, leaving less for the next neuron.
4 - MAOB - rs1799836 - this enzyme breaks down Dopamine and Serotonin. Some genetic variants cause it to work overtime and break down Dopamine and Serotonin much faster.
5 - COMT - rs4680 - this enzyme breaks down Dopamine, and is more active in the Prefrontal Cortex (thinking planning part). Some genetic variants cause it to work overtime and break down Dopamine much faster.
6 - DRD2 - rs2283265, rs1076560 - certain variants of these genes cause underexpression of Dopamine Neurons, so whatever Dopamine is there has less receptors to 'bump into'

Misc:
HTR2A - rs6311
HTR2C - rs6318
POMC - rs1042571

Think of it like Netflix DVD Deliveries. Many things can go wrong. Okay let's say there's this DVD on Netflix, that's not available for streaming. There are a number if things that can go wrong causing that customer to have a bad experience.

First, what I'd there aren't enough raw materials to make the discs in the first place (MTHFR, Tyrosine intake). Second what if there's a problem on the website where people can't put their order in (Various genes and environmental circumstances). Third what if Netflix was forcing certain people to send their DVDs back too quickly before they got a chance to watch them as many times as they wanted to (DAT.) Fourth and Fifth, there's a system for checking if discs are damaged, but there's a problem with the system and it throws out too many discs (MAOB / COMT.) Sixth, that if many of the customers aren't home to sign for the delivery (DRD2.) Then there's some other stuff like Opiate receptors I won't get into right now.

We have to solve the specific problem or everything is going to go to shit.

So which genes you have can guide you to which interventions will work best. That said, using an intervention for a different genotype will work. But it will be temporary or with side effects. That's what you saw with Modafinil. Modafinil was overloading the wrong system. Or it was multiple genotypes that Modafinil ignored.

When I took Modafinil years ago I had a similar experience. Worked well for a few months, then the effects slowly died off.

We're not really 100% sure how Modafinil works, but for now it appears to be a mild Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor but also acts on other systems (histamine, orexin.. both having to do with wakefulness.)

So back to the right tool for the job, if (for example) you actually have the MTHFR and MAOB genotype, then you plug up the DAT with Modafinil you're overloading one system to compensate for another. It will work temporarily, but something bad is likely going to happen. Your body is always trying to maintain homeostasis (balance) and when it sees one system overloaded it will take action to ramp up other systems to compensate for that. It's how drug tolerance works. So you probably saw a gradual decline in the effectiveness of Modafinil because it was the wrong solution for your genotype.

Re: which genetic test? I like 23andme and it's only 99 bucks.
 

Bertram

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Oh lord this is so me. I hardly know where to start.

I've long suspected dopamine issues -- in addition to the motivation/etc behaviors you mentioned, I had RLS (restless legs, often associated with low dopa levels) for most of my life until I got my mercury fillings removed 2 years ago. I tend to be phlegmatic, low-energy, low-competitiveness. I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success. I show 7 of the 11 behaviors on your "How to tell if you have a poor overall dopaminergic tone" list. I'm not formally diagnosed but I'm almost certainly Inattentive ADHD. Same with my son, and most likely my mom and her dad too. I'm +/+ MTHFR (A1298C and 4 other variants) and MAOA, +/- COMT. L-methylfolate didn't help at all.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. This is why I gave up on the idea of any serious entrepreneurial pursuits -- these personality traits are just not compatible with it. I think I did pretty well to be self-employed (mostly computer consulting) for 30 years.

Your "what to do about it" list is helpful, but you realize some of the major ones (e.g. exercise) are damn difficult for someone with these challenges. I'd like to hear any other suggestions.

I have a lot of gifts and strengths. But this one issue has handicapped me for my entire life. And my son has it much worse than I do. I would really REALLY love to get a handle on it.
You sound so self-aware and full of promise. And doubt.
I think the book, "Indistractible," and its aids and workbook could completely change your life.
Currently you can pre-order it and have immediate access to the free PDF version.
Just give it a try.
 

Bertram

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You're right. This outlined approach only addresses one of four aspects of distractibility.
Personality traits and habit formation are completely different problems.
With or without ADD/ADHD, nutrient deficiency, poor health and tbe like, the absence of good habits will cause you to fail to carry out your intentions and wholly fail at being yourself.
@garyfritz your genuine complaint is heard.

Look for my new thread on attention and distraction today.
The book that will change your life is "Indistractibility." If you pre-order it on Amazon you can immediately download tbe free PDF.
This problem of shiny objects and rabbit holes is not a matter of will. A person can have great quantities of will without having a clue about how to use it.

Take care. Read "Indistractible." You'll do great. And it's going to be easy for you to change what you're doing once you can learn to recognize what the heck is really going on throught the day. None of that insight has been presented anywhere in this forum so far.


Do you think I haven't been TRYING to do that for over 50 years?? Some people (maybe including you) don't have this problem. That doesn't mean ALL people can "fix" the about lf.problem with a simple application of will. People are different. You may be very disciplined/motivated but I've had very little success with "deciding to" be that way myself.

(My brother, a typical type-A hyper-productive type, just doesn't understand this. It's easy for him, so obviously it's just easy, so if you don't do it, obviously you're lazy or not trying. He typically asks me questions like "Well why don't you just ..." One time I shot back "Well why don't you just read a damn book?" (He's fairly badly dyslexic.) That shut him up fast. It started to dawn on him that maybe other people have different challenges than he does.)

Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.

And I have a pretty solid internal locus of control. I don't blame anybody else for stuff unless it's clearly out of my control, like the weather or something like that. I would not have survived 30 years as a self-employed contractor/consultant if I didn't have a fairly good lock on that. My failings are my own. My focus and my productivity suck, but my **discipline** is pretty good. It's very common for me to plant my a$$ in my office chair 16 hours a day to get a job done. During the day I'm rabbit-holing and shiny-objecting (?) all over the place, so my time efficiency sucks rocks -- I might charge for only 4 hours of productive work. But my discipline keeps me in the chair until the job is done. The really maddening thing is that I can WATCH myself doing this, and think "you idiot, there you go again." I might pull myself out of it for the moment, but I seem nearly powerless to prevent it from happening again and again and again. I can't hold my breath forever.


I titrated up to 20mg/day, if I remember right, using a very high-quality recommended supplement, tons of B12, lots of Mg, etc. Zero effect.

But that's when I was still trying to isolate the source of all/most of the problems I was having. Since then I've removed my mercury fillings and I'm chemically extracting deep body stores of mercury, and most of my problems have vanished. (Except focus/productivity/etc, which are very common mercury behaviors.) Maybe it would be worth giving folate another try.


I've always had a big appetite and I'm fairly lethargic & don't exercise much, but fortunately weight is not a problem. I'm actually UNDERweight in spite of eating whatever the **** I want. And in spite of having almost every symptom of low thyroid EXCEPT weight gain.
 
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Raveling

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You're right. This outlined approach only addresses one of four aspects of distractibility.
Personality traits and habit formation are completely different problems.
With or without ADD/ADHD, nutrient deficiency, poor health and tbe like, the absence of good habits will cause you to fail to carry out your intentions and wholly fail at being yourself.
@garyfritz your genuine complaint is heard.

Look for my new thread on attention and distraction today.
The book that will change your life is "Indistractibility." If you pre-order it on Amazon you can immediately download tbe free PDF.
This problem of shiny objects and rabbit holes is not a matter of will. A person can have great quantities of will without having a clue about how to use it.

Take care. Read "Indistractible." You'll do great. And it's going to be easy for you to change what you're doing once you can learn to recognize what the heck is really going on throught the day. None of that insight has been presented anywhere in this forum so far.
We'll said Bertram!

It's too bad more people don't look at the larger picture, take responsibility and put in the necessary effort rather than pursue shiny easy answers like silver bullet supplements and easy answers that avoid putting in self work. If only people spent as much time working on themselves as they do on their excuses success of all types would be far more common.

Please post a link to the free pdf.

timbgreen
 
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Bertram

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We'll said Bertram!

It's too bad more people don't look at the larger picture, take responsibility and put in the necessary effort rather than pursue shiny easy answers like silver bullet supplements and easy answers that avoid putting in self work. If only people spent as much time working on themselves as they do on their excuses success of all types would be far more common.

Please post a link to the free pdf.

timbgreen
The entire free PDF is available if you pre-order the book.
Otherwise Nir Eyall wants buyers to share only portions of the free download only, understandably.
I'll be posting downloadable sections here over time.
Why not buy this book?
 

Leo Hendrix

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Thanks @ChrisV

So basically to maintain optimal dopamine levels we should:

Sleep 8 Hours
Exercise Regularly
Eat Healthy/Optimize Nutrition
Get Sunlight
SMART goals
Breaking down big projects, tasks and goals into smaller approachable tasks.

I apologize if I missed something.

So applying this to a personal context besides doing all of the above daily, how can we integrate our daily work regimen into a system that rewards us for Big 5 positive traits? Obviously it would all depend on personal context(s) and commitments. But I am just throwing this out there as a discussion point so we might add value and expound on what you have presented.

As an example - Gamification of work tasks/scheduled tasks in Apps and Software seem to employ dopamine rewarding behaviour for completed tasks
 
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Thanks @ChrisV

So basically to maintain optimal dopamine levels we should:

Sleep 8 Hours
Exercise Regularly
Eat Healthy/Optimize Nutrition
Get Sunlight
SMART goals
Breaking down big projects, tasks and goals into smaller approachable tasks.

I apologize if I missed something.

So applying this to a personal context besides doing all of the above daily, how can we integrate our daily work regimen into a system that rewards us for Big 5 positive traits? Obviously it would all depend on personal context(s) and commitments. But I am just throwing this out there as a discussion point so we might add value and expound on what you have presented.

As an example - Gamification of work tasks/scheduled tasks in Apps and Software seem to employ dopamine rewarding behaviour for completed tasks
Yes, those are the first things you should do.

But if problems still persist despite that, you should get a genetic test and talk to an ADHD doctor.

See this post.

There are a lot of specific genes that can contribute to this problem, and they cause big issues.

I'm hesitant to comment on solutions in detail because it's epically dumb to tinker with the DA system without a doctors care, but on the flip side, most doctors aren't trained in precision medication yet.

PLOS One Blog: Precision Medicine: Much More Than Just Genetics

Nature Review Genetics: Towards precision medicine

What is Precision Medicine?

Genes encode proteins. The best way to get to the root on an issue is to target the specific protein that's wrecking havoc. For example if someone has the overactive MAOB gene (which breaks down neurotransmitters too fast) it could indicate that a MAOB inhibitor would be the best course of action. It could be a combination of many genes.

But this is not DIY territory. It's really sophisticated, and most doctors use the old style.

This is going to be solved in the future, but for now people can PM me for referrals of doctors that use this method.
 

Leo Hendrix

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Yes, those are the first things you should do.

But if problems still persist despite that, you should get a genetic test and talk to an ADHD doctor.

See this post.

There are a lot of specific genes that can contribute to this problem, and they cause big issues.

I'm hesitant to comment on solutions in detail because it's epically dumb to tinker with the DA system without a doctors care, but on the flip side, most doctors aren't trained in precision medication yet.

PLOS One Blog: Precision Medicine: Much More Than Just Genetics

Nature Review Genetics: Towards precision medicine

What is Precision Medicine?

Genes encode proteins. The best way to get to the root on an issue is to target the specific protein that's wrecking havoc. For example if someone has the overactive MAOB gene (which breaks down neurotransmitters too fast) it could indicate that a MAOB inhibitor would be the best course of action. It could be a combination of many genes.

But this is not DIY territory. It's really sophisticated, and most doctors use the old style.

This is going to be solved in the future, but for now people can PM me for referrals of doctors that use this method.
Thanks I think I skimmed over that post. And forgot the most important part ( getting a genetic test done and speaking to pros and specialists.)

What I was getting at was more a product that can assist with maintaining healthy dopamine levels which would be non-medicinal, nor anything to do with human biological systems.

Basically - a tech product that sort of keeps your dopamine levels at a healthy level and rewards structured habits and tasks which lead to certain results, sort of a process gamification reward system. But anyway that's nothing new really, but in combination with specific knowledge, research and testing ( as demonstrated in the post) you could come up with a new system.
 

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Thanks I think I skimmed over that post. And forgot the most important part ( getting a genetic test done and speaking to pros and specialists.)

What I was getting at was more a product that can assist with maintaining healthy dopamine levels which would be non-medicinal, nor anything to do with human biological systems.

Basically - a tech product that sort of keeps your dopamine levels at a healthy level and rewards structured habits and tasks which lead to certain results, sort of a process gamification reward system. But anyway that's nothing new really, but in combination with specific knowledge, research and testing ( as demonstrated in the post) you could come up with a new system.
Yea that's cool, people with minor problems, that's great. Gamification is big now.

There are tons of books on this as well.

For goal setting, I recommend the work of Edwin Locke.

Edwin A. Locke (born January 5, 1938) is an American psychologist and a pioneer in goal-setting theory. As stated by the Association for Psychological Science, "Locke is the most published organizational psychologist in the history of the field. His pioneering research has advanced and enriched our understanding of work motivation and job satisfaction. The theory that is synonymous with his name—goal-setting theory—is perhaps the most widely-respected theory in industrial-organizational psychology. His 1976 chapter on job satisfaction continues to be one of the most highly-cited pieces of work in the field."
I highly recommend Jordan Peterson's Self-Authoring program as well


For task management I like the app Omnifocus.

But gamification... yea there are a ton of apps that use this.

I'll elaborate when I have time later in the day
 
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Okay there’s a lot of talk about habits on the forum lately, and I wanted to talk about this, then illustrate how this all ties into my original post. Conscientious people and Impulsive people encode rewards differently, and it's important to note these differences. Dopamine and endogenous opioids play a significant part in habit formation. The brain uses them to record what's salient (rewarding) and what isn't.


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Dopamine release works in different ways depending on if they’re a new (unlearned) reward, or a previously learned reward.


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Image credit: Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time - Harvard Blog

So how does this relate to my initial argument? Neurons with DA receptors communicate in two ways. Tonic and Phasic. As always, just ignore the complex words, everything will be explained.

The tonic/phasic model of dopamine system regulation and its implications for understanding alcohol and psychostimulant craving

Ionic mechanisms underlying tonic and phasic firing behaviors in retinal ganglion cells

Tonic release is basically an underlying background noise. Phasic release is a ‘spurt.’

Dopamine release in the basal ganglia - JNeurosci, 2011

The spurts and spikes are what we’re talking about when we talk about habit formation. Neurons communicate via action potentials, which is somewhat like a domino effect. The previous one activates the next. Tonic release is unique in that it only requires mini action potentials. It’s basically dopaminergic background activity.

In the brain the level of extracellular dopamine is modulated by two mechanisms: phasic and tonic transmission. Phasic dopamine release, like most neurotransmitter release in the nervous system, is driven directly by action potentials in the dopamine-containing cells. Tonic dopamine transmission occurs when small amounts of dopamine are released without being preceded by presynaptic action potentials. Tonic transmission is regulated by a variety of factors, including the activity of other neurons and neurotransmitter reuptake.

Research has shown that dopamine release can be more complex than just phasic release; thus, there is also a tonic, background dopamine release, with alterations in tonic dopamine release likely having unique and important functional roles. Unfortunately, however, tonic dopamine release has received relatively little attention.


The Yin and Yang of Dopamine Release - Neuropharmacology, 2007

Both axonal and somatodendritic DA signaling depend on DA neuron firing rate and pattern (Patel et al., 1992; Kawagoe et al., 1992; Rice et al., 1997; Cragg, 2003; Beckstead et al., 2007) that vary between low-frequency ‘tonic’ firing and brief (~200 msec) higher frequency ‘phasic’ bursts of action potentials (Grace and Bunney, 1984). Phasic activity encodes prediction-related information about rewards or other salient stimuli (Schultz 1998; Matsumoto and Hikosaka 2009), and is thus important for the acquisition of reinforcement seeking behaviors and selection of habitual motor programs independent of reward (Jin and Costa, 2010). Discrete phasic DA-release signals in rat NAc can be detected using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FCV) in vivo during reward expectation or unexpected presentation, and may be important for reward seeking movement (Phillips et al., 2003; Roitman et al., 2004; Stuber et al., 2005; Gan et al., 2010).

Dopamine release in the basal ganglia - JNeurosci, 2011

Dopamine release in the basal ganglia

Dopamine is released in discrete quanta from distinct sites. Thus, dopamine is heterogeneously distributed shortly after release, and regions near release sites experience temporal saturation of receptors and uptake.

Influence of Phasic and Tonic Dopamine Release on Receptor Activation - JNeurosci, 2010

Habits are encoded by phasic (not tonic) releases. Basically spikes. If a spike reaches a certain level, opioids are released from the NAc ('pleasure center') and it’s encoded as a ‘reward.’ You’re more likely to do any behavior encoded as rewarding in the future.

The tonic release has to do with motivation not involving a guaranteed extrinsic reward:

Compared to wild-type mice, hyperdopaminergic mice allocate more lever presses on high-cost levers, thus working harder to earn a given amount of food and maintain their body weight.

Experimental work suggests that
phasic dopamine is central to reinforcement learning whereas tonic dopamine may modulate performance without altering learning per se

Tonic dopamine modulates exploitation of reward learning - Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

It’s the same reason that people on Extended Release Adderal or Ritalin XR work harder, even though (in low doses and when used non-abusively) those don’t cause spikes. Just a steady release, bringing ADHD individuals to the level of excitation of non-ADHD individuals. It’s also why the people cited in the original post were willing to work harder, even when there was no reward guarantee.

A person’s willingness to work may be determined by the levels of dopamine in three different parts of their brain, new research suggests.

Researchers from the new study, published Wednesday in The Journal of Neuroscience, used an imaging from the new study, published Wednesday in The Journal of Neuroscience, used an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET scan) and found that “go-getters,” or people who were willing to work hard to earn rewards, had higher levels release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain that play an important role in reward and motivation.
Dopamine impacts your willingness to work - Science Daily

And this all comes full circle with the original post. Here’s why... Conscientious people have higher tonic (baseline) levels, and this is why they develop positive habits. Note the difference in baseline (tonic) starting levels.

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Boom. Codes as reward. Remembered for the future. But the same spike for someone with lower tonic levels will be different:

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But give them a donut, and it’s a different story:

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But for the Conscientious individual? In general too much DA can be aversive (unpleasant.)

There's a ton of evidence for this. Too much dopamine would be like being schizophrenic or having OCD. In one Yale Medicine study, macaque monkeys with high dopamine excitation refused to self administer cocaine

Disruption of the dopaminergic system has been implicated in the etiology of many pathological conditions, including drug addiction. Here we used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to study brain dopaminergic function in individually housed and in socially housed cynomolgus macaques (n = 20). Whereas the monkeys did not differ during individual housing, social housing increased the amount or availability of dopamine D2 receptors in dominant monkeys and produced no change in subordinate monkeys. These neurobiological changes had an important behavioral influence as demonstrated by the finding that cocaine functioned as a reinforcer in subordinate but not dominant monkeys. These data demonstrate that alterations in an organism's environment can produce profound biological changes that have important behavioral associations, including vulnerability to cocaine addiction.

Social dominance in monkeys: dopamine D2 receptors and cocaine self-administration - Nature, 2002

There are several studies along these lines. Too much DA is overstimulating.

Also, I think the Rat Park experiments provide some circumstantial evidence for this

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The Unconscientious individual needs bigger spurts of dopamine. Therefore the types of things that are encoded as rewarding are: Video Games, Social Media, Cocaine, Risky Promiscuous Sex, and other Shiny Objects.

This is in direct opposition to the Conscientious individual who’s brain doesn’t need as big of a dopamine hit. The types of things their brains find rewarding are: Healthy Foods, Reading, Consensual Sex In The Missionary Position For The Sole Purpose Of Procreating and Exercise.

When people raise their Dopamine levels via Ritalin/Adderal (again not recommending) they become more Conscientious students.

Conscientiousness also has a close correlation to political affiliation. Conservatives tend to be more Conscientious, Liberals tend to be less Conscientious. Thing Hippies vs Yuppies.

To a Conservative a Liberal lifestyle seems excessive and indulgent. To a Liberal, the Conservative lifestyle seems boring and ‘square.’

So why do these low DA excitation genes even exist? If they're so detrimental wouldn't they have been weeded out by Natural Selection? Well it turns out that the traits that were helpful in todays world are not the same genes that helped our ancestors thrive on the Savana. We now live in such a stable environment that genes for impulsivity are actually a disadvantage. But before agriculture they very well could actually have been a major advantage.

People with Low Dopamine seek big rewards. In 2019 that may mean cocaine and alcohol and checking their Smart Phone 400x/day, but in 600 BC that may have meant having lots of sex, and accruing tons of power and status.

Actually, when researchers went and found a modern Hunter-Gatherer tribe in Kenya, that's exactly what they found.

One of the first polymorphisms to be studied concerning dopamine and addiction is the famous Taq1A (rs1800497) polymorphism of the dopamine receptor (DRD2).

The studied effect in American populations that have the polymorphism shows lowered number of dopamine receptors, more addiction, and more ADD. The researchers figured that it would be a good biomarker for finding low dopamine in populations all over the world. It would be a breakthrough. So, they gathered their grants, bought equipment and went off to Africa to study rs1800497 in the Masai tribe. They speculated that they’d find that people of the Masai that had this polymorphism would have lower social status, lower educational achievement, more addiction, and more ADD — just what they found in America. Boy, were they wrong.

The individuals that had the polymorphism in the Masai weren’t shunned. They weren’t of lower class. They weren’t even considered normal. They were actually elevated above others. The polymorphism was found in the most trusted hunters, the most trusted leaders, the most trusted guardians of the cattle herds. It was a marker for success, not failure. What a turn around.

It turns out that polymorphisms that allow you to sit in a large box with 25 other kids and memorize stuff are not the polymorphisms that led to our ancestor’s success surviving on the plains of Africa. They aren’t the same as those that allowed them to survive 100 years ago in America either. Our lives are so different than even 50 years ago, that we are hard pressed to understand the effect of our genetics on our lives. The important thing is this: genetics have context.
 
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But that's when I was still trying to isolate the source of all/most of the problems I was having. Since then I've removed my mercury fillings and I'm chemically extracting deep body stores of mercury, and most of my problems have vanished. (Except focus/productivity/etc, which are very common mercury behaviors.) Maybe it would be worth giving folate another try.
After mercury amalgams removal, within a few months, there's gonna be mercury dump phase. What I notice is that in this phase, I had brain fog and zero motivation. You will need to run a good detox program to get all of them out. I follow Quicksilver Scientific removal method instead of Andrew Cutler's.

If you have root canals, extract them out safely by going to a good holistic dentist. By doing this alone, I had major improvements in my productivity. Don't use metal implants to replace the missing teeth. I tend to prefer partial dentures that are made of safe materials instead of ceramic implants.

Source: speaking from experience.
 

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After mercury amalgams removal, within a few months, there's gonna be mercury dump phase.
Yeah, "the Dump" is supposed to start 3-6 months after removal. For me, I chelated up to the maximum recommended ALA dosage (3 mg per kg of body weight, every 3 hours) in a year without seeing any changes. After consulting with some of the experts on Cutler's forum I decided it was safe to boost the dosage, so I went up to 2x the normal recommended max. After 3 months at that level I finally got some of the old symptoms back, so I'm pretty certain I'm in the Dump now. That's been going for 4-5 months now. The symptoms are veeerrryy slowly diminishing. Hopefully once everything clears out (soon!!) I'll feel lots better. That's the way the Dump is "supposed" to work. But so far my process has not followed the standard schedule very well, so we'll see.

I removed one root-canal, but I replaced it with a ceramic implant. Obviously it's not as good as a good live tooth, but I think it's better than metal implants. Even metals like titanium can sensitize you and cause allergic issues, but ceramics seem pretty safe. I saw big improvements when I got the amalgams out, but I didn't notice any change after the root-canal came out.

I follow Cutler's protocol. I'm glad Quicksilver worked for you, but in Cutler's forum we saw a lot of people who followed QS and had very bad experiences. (Though I haven't followed the forum for 2 years so I don't know what they've seen recently.) Cutler's method seems very gentle, if you don't try to be "macho" and push too hard, and with an extremely high success rate.
 
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I have trouble staying focused on tasks, even tasks that are critical for my success.
Do you think I haven't been TRYING to do that for over 50 years??
I've had very little success with "deciding to" be that way myself.
Yes, I *CAN* work hard at it and change my behaviors, and I do it frequently. I can hold my breath, too. But it's unsustainable and I can't keep it up. Sooner or later I have to breathe. Sooner or later I fall off the wagon and revert back to my "normal" behaviors, and I have never found a way to prevent that.
It's very common for me to plant my a$$ in my office chair 16 hours a day to get a job done. During the day I'm rabbit-holing and shiny-objecting (?) all over the place, so my time efficiency sucks rocks -- I might charge for only 4 hours of productive work. But my discipline keeps me in the chair until the job is done. The really maddening thing is that I can WATCH myself doing this, and think "you idiot, there you go again." I might pull myself out of it for the moment, but I seem nearly powerless to prevent it from happening again and again and again. I can't hold my breath forever.
This should help clear things up:

The shiny object syndrome comes from the brain's desire to maintain homeostasis, so it's constantly looking for things to stimulate dopamine. It's why someone with ADHD can actually seem to calm down even though they're given a powerful stimulant.

You see someone constantly goofing around in class, and not paying attention to the blackboard. Shooting spitballs, and poking his neighbor. They're trying to create excitement. He's trying to create behaviors that stimulate dopamine and other chemicals within himself.

On the same note, it's why someone might constantly check their phone. Every time you see a little red Facebook notification you get a little phasic Dopamine spurt.


Or crave sugar. Or crave porn. Or any of these immediate thrills.

So here's what happens... you sit at your desk, but your midbrain is always trying to create dopaminergic homeostasis. So the unexciting project in front of you seems so boring... but that YouTube video with the ninja cat? That should provide 2 minutes of dopaminergic homeostasis. But shit, I have to get back to work. You focus in on the project, which doesn't stimulate much DA, and the 'boredom' is driving you nuts. You can force yourself to do it with willpower, but your hungry midbrain is fighting you. It wants food! It wants homeostasis! Omg a Twitter notification? Let me check this out real quick. Just for a second. 4 minutes later. OMG, I need to get back to this work! Your body wants DA to be at a certain level, but that project in front of you just doesn't provide it. You go back to your work and the boredom drives you nuts. Sound familiar? I bet your jaw is on the ground right now. So there's this back and forth battle between what you know you have to do, and what your midbrain craves. This is why "just try" doesn't work.

Similar situation for the ADHD child. He tried to focus his attention in on the handout about the American Revolution but he's just so bored by it. You know what would create a little excitement? Spitballs. So he pegs Sally with a big wet spitball and gets in trouble. He teaches say he just can't focus on his work.

You can remove the distractions, but the core problem is still there. But what if there were a way to keep DA transmission high naturally? Then you would be intrinsically excited and the previously boring work in front of you would no longer boring. On top of that, you'd have more energy and be able to deal with previously 'boring' things. And they would excite you!


Adequate dopamine levels are needed to allow us to focus our attention in the moment and attend to matters at hand (remember that attention deficit is at least in part due to low dopamine). Dopamine is the main player in regulating our reward circuitry and pleasure centers (hence dopamine's role in addictions).

Problems can ensue if dopamine is too high or too low. For example, dramatically elevated levels, the so-called "dopamine storm," can be associated with hallucinations, delusions, agitation, mania, and frank psychosis. Such a state, fortunately rare, is clinically obvious and constitutes a medical emergency. Low dopamine states, on the other hand are quite common and sometimes go years without being identified let alone treated.

Dopamine is responsible for motivation, interest, and drive. It is associated with positive stress states such as being in love, exercising, listening to music, and sex . When we don't have enough of it we don't feel alive, we have difficulty initiating or completing tasks, poor concentration, no energy, and lack of motivation. Dopamine also is involved in muscle control and function. Low Dopamine levels can drive us to use drugs (self medicate), alcohol, smoke cigarettes, gamble, and/or overeat. Low dopamine states, on the other hand are quite common and sometimes go years without being identified let alone treated. Such states can cause memory, concentration, and attention problems. Stimulants such as prescription medications for ADD/ADHD, caffeine, and some street drugs temporarily address symptoms of low dopamine by pushing your existing (but dwindling) supply into the space between two neurons (synpase). This kind of approach can in the short run improve symptoms but if continued for any length of time inhibit natural transmission and actually cause/hasten dopamine depletion.
 

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So here's what happens... you sit at your desk, but your midbrain is always trying to create dopaminergic homeostasis. So the unexciting project in front of you seems so boring... but that YouTube video with the ninja cat? That should provide 2 minutes of dopaminergic homeostasis. But shit, I have to get back to work. You focus in on the project, which doesn't stimulate much DA, and the 'boredom' is driving you nuts.
Yup. That is me in a nutshell. And this is not a conscious decision to be a slacker or a failure, any more than it's a conscious decision to be hungry when I haven't eaten. It's just a mechanical/biochemical response. I have equally little control over both processes.

But what if there were a way to keep DA transmission high naturally? Then you would be intrinsically excited and the previously boring work in front of you would no longer boring. On top of that, you'd have more energy and be able to deal with previously 'boring' things. And they would excite you!
And THAT is why I gave up trying to launch any kind of business venture. People who are successful at that are excited by it, which keeps them motivated and productive. I don't have that level of excitement in the work, which means it is nearly impossible for me to stay focused and productive. It's been my biggest handicap since elementary school.

I've had a few projects that absolutely captivated me -- like when I launched a commodity fund about 20 yrs ago -- and then work was fun! I couldn't bear to put it down! I had no trouble focusing on the job at hand and grinding away until 2am. But for me, that kind of work fascination is ultra-rare, and more so as I age.
 
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Yup. That is me in a nutshell. And this is not a conscious decision to be a slacker or a failure, any more than it's a conscious decision to be hungry when I haven't eaten. It's just a mechanical/biochemical response. I have equally little control over both processes.
Yea it's becasue humans have almost no conscious control over anything going on in the reptilian brain or limbic system. No doctor would ever tell you to just to control it either. It would be like telling a diabetic that he needs to consciously control his insulin.

I've had a few projects that absolutely captivated me -- like when I launched a commodity fund about 20 yrs ago -- and then work was fun! I couldn't bear to put it down! I had no trouble focusing on the job at hand and grinding away until 2am. But for me, that kind of work fascination is ultra-rare, and more so as I age.
I'm naturally the same way, until I did the right things to handle my DA system. Certain projects excite the f--- out of me. Data Science is one. Love it. But when it came to boring stuff that I knew I needed to do, couldn't do it. Again, until I handled this. I would literally do Data Science projects then forget to bill my clients. Why? Crunching the Data was fun. Administrative stuff like billing? Horrible.

That's the problem though. Then you're limited by the types of projects that are exciting... and life involves boring things. It's not a sustainable model.
 

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I would literally do Data Science projects then forget to bill my clients. Why? Crunching the Data was fun. Administrative stuff like billing? Horrible.
This is why every adventurous person needs to find someone who loves routine, repetitive work, and have them do all the drudgery. They'll love it and feel like they're accomplishing something (and they are, of course), and you'll love it because you're not pressing the same button over and over again until you die of boredom.
 
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This is why every adventurous person needs to find someone who loves routine, repetitive work, and have them do all the drudgery. They'll love it and feel like they're accomplishing something (and they are, of course), and you'll love it because you're not pressing the same button over and over again until you die of boredom.
oooo I'm adventurous.. looking for a business partner? :p
 

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