Understanding dopamine

Photo by Nick Fewings / Unsplash

#1 Dopamine

Book I'm currently reading on Dopamine:  The Molecule of More

Do you like watching NETFLIX shows before bedtime? Like the feeling of getting to know someone new? The expectation molecule dopamine surges in our brain whenever there is an error in our forecast or when we interact with stimuli our brain didn't see coming or considers to be new. Alternatively, serotonin — a Here & Now molecule — allows people to experience the present moment and is something that promotes long-lasting happiness, love, and peace.

Ways of increasing Here & Now molecules

Mindfulness

Walking

Drawing

Sports

Hiking

Nature

Writing

Or anything that pulls you to experience the present moment.

Cheap Dopamine to avoid

NETFLIX binge-watching

Getting into infinity loops with online recommendation systems on youtube

Social Media

That urge to pick up your phone for no reason — limiting screen time

#2 Podcast I listened to this week: Featuring Naval Ravikant on Human Desire

Important Takeaway:

Desire = Contract with yourself to be unhappy till you achieve something.

As human beings, our goal should be to really search for what really makes us happy and minimize our desires (on that basis).

If someone has a singular desire and spends their life working towards it — they will achieve it.

The problem comes when people have multiple desires.

#3 Taking inspiration from things you have a problem with

Writer Austin Kleon articulates how you can create value by taking a negative but curious approach to things you don't like. He says:

"My secret is: the books are positive because I take a negative approach: First, I see something I feel negatively about, something that aggravates me, something that pisses me off, something that infuriates me, and then I spend some time trying to articulate an alternative vision. (I’m angry, but I’m curious.)"

The most successful entrepreneurs also usually find something that "pisses them off" — something they feel is a problem in the status quo of societal design. And then they try to spend time trying to make others believe in an alternative solution.

#4 Independence makes you focus on what's important

I recently shifted back to college after doing study from home for a year. All my time is taken up by finding things for my apartment and setting up everything for the semester. Just something I realized during the chaos: Being independent eats up your time in the most beautiful way. You feel like you're doing a lot — going out getting your food, multi-tasking to take care of every little aspect of your life, and work and play at the same time — but you actually have less time to be productive. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. It forces you to make difficult trade-offs and make hard choices to focus on the things that really matter to you.

#5 Immigration

Nobel prize winners Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee share something interesting that empirical studies have shown about the impact of immigration of unskilled workers on the wages of the local population.

Immigration actually seemed to have a positive impact on the wages of the local population according to most empirical studies done in the area. Banerjee and Duflo explain the above in their book by citing two main reasons:

  1. Immigrants are also consumers. We normally think of immigrants as people who compete with us and snatch away our jobs. However, we don't much talk about how they increase the demand for goods and services as well. Just like the local population of an area, they need food, appliances, electronics, and a haircut!
  2. Having more low-skilled/ unskilled immigrants makes it less likely for firms to adopt new technologies, preventing massive unemployment.

Aryan Khanna

Aryan Khanna