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Following Your Dreams...Indirectly

I'm a big believer in asking questions. I have a constant thirst for understanding and knowledge which I genuinely hope never fades. Unfortunately, all too often I assume that the people around me have the same vigor for life. This doesn't seem to be the case at all though, and more often than not when I ask what someone wants in life, I'm left with an answer described in terms of paychecks and/or tangible luxury goods.

The Problem

I wouldn't feel right blatantly denying the possibility that some of the people I have surrounded myself with do find genuine fulfillment from a large paycheck. However I personally believe that either this feeling of fulfillment is fleeting or somehow being used in a way that facilitates the behavior for whatever provides the feeling of fulfillment. It seems then that as a society we may need a bit of a paradigm shift. Emphasis in the the media usually focuses on many of the things characterized by the part of the brain believed to be linked to our more primitive ancestors. The Amygdala is the “primitive” brain, and thus, responds with primitive behaviors. I don't find it odd to assume that the media that we are exposed to today is specifically targeting these regions of the brain at times. Take for example the Beer industry, in the advert Ian is up for whatever the audience is subject to mesmerizing music, beautiful women, and many other devices aimed to evoke primitive emotions through Bud Light's clever Super Bowl advertising campaign. What is the message behind these kinds of advertisements? What have we learned to value as a result?

These are the types of questions I often find myself thinking about. Personally I think the message behind these advertisements is a simple one: harness the desires within, whether sexually or adrenally motivated, and buy our product because it results in your true happiness. What I think we fail to realize at times is that we are multifaceted. Our brains are composed of so much more than these two tiny “almond shaped” regions of our brains. Presumably if it's true that the brain has evolved over time to grow and include other regions which govern completely different aspects and theory of thought, then is it not plausible that we as a society need to recognize and utilize these evolutionary adaptations?

The Reversal

The catalyst that really inspired me to delve in to this topic was a talk I watched about the different chemicals that make up the human interaction for satisfaction. The video Why Leaders Eat Last is a talk given by Simon Sinek where he outlines the different chemicals that our brain releases. He couples this knowledge with very specific examples of the types of emotions associated with each chemical's relevant form of satisfaction. What can be taken from this is the idea that our most rewarding work is the work we do for others. Essentially, he claims the chemicals that produce satisfaction can be tricked. Dopamine for example can be manipulated for release through a non organic source such as checking social media notifications. The hardest chemical to come by is the chemical oxytocin. That's because we can't necessarily fake genuine community values or kindness. Through service to others Simon claims that leaders can discover why they do what they do, and to find purpose is to find true happiness.

I agree whole heartedly with that idea and believe that as a society we may have lost our sense of community. The media seems to have us concentrated on arbitrary goals like having a fun night out with the bud light girls, or driving that awesome sports car. Though these do lead to feelings of pleasure, I believe they tend to be fleeting. Through purpose it seems one has the best shot of finding the true meaning behind his/her goals resulting in the best, most fulfilling work we can do.

The Solution

To reiterate I think there needs to be a paradigm shift of sorts. The types of things we value have no deeper meaning most of the time which leads to us chasing happiness in the wrong direction. It's easy to feel like we need to act as though it's every man for himself, competition in school, work and social interaction is more prevalent than ever through the super connectivity the internet provides.

Through deliberate thinking I have personally been able to make a large impact on my life in a variety of positive ways. I have made a point of it to bombard my conscious mind with educational talks, documentaries, and audiobooks so that I can explore as many ideas as possible. In addition to adding persistence in learning to my schedule I have added a significant amount of positive reinforcement. Through affirmations I am constantly encouraging myself to push forward, not necessarily using will-power, but objectively using positive statements to encourage my conscious and subconscious alike to persist towards success.

Along with education thought and affirmation is clarity. I find myself asking “why?” to absolutely everything. Almost as if acting on childish nature I question the ideas and laws that govern everything I do. In this way I find absolute clarity on the fundamentals of my goals. Through clarity conscious effort employs a surge of motivation to make pursuing goals feel almost effortless. Lastly, putting things in to action. To get started it to make the first step towards success, conscious and deliberate thought is nothing without getting started.

The steps then to following your dreams is not to follow them indirectly at all. The steps required emphasis deliberate action and clarity, however I argue that first we need to redefine our goals, then pursue. If your goal is to make a billion dollar business then don't start with profit margins, start with why?

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