Society & Culture:Philosophy
#429: Taking Control of the Brain Chemical That Drives Excitement, Motivation, and More
Why do you feel so motivated and excited about tackling a new project at first, but then get bored and abandon it?
Why does passionate love quickly turn into ambivalence?
Why does it feel like you had more zest for life and work in your twenties than in your thirties and forties?
Much of the answer can be found in a single chemical in your brain: dopamine.
That’s the case today’s guests make. Their names are Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long, and they’re the co-authors of a new book entitled The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity. Daniel is a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University and Michael is a trained physicist turned writer. In The Molecule of More, they team up to explore a chemical that compels us towards achieving our goals, but also towards addiction.
We begin our conversation discussing the situations in which dopamine plays a role in our lives, how it’s made, and how dopamine levels change throughout our lifetimes. We then discuss how dopamine drives our endless search for novelty, and the problems this can cause if we don't learn to how to switch from the excitement of anticipating something, to enjoying it in the here and now. Daniel and Michael then walk us through dopamine’s role in addiction to things like porn and drugs and the differences between “desire dopamine” and “control dopamine.” Along the way, they share insights on how to harness your dopamine so it works towards your greater goals, rather than against them.
If you love the thrill of the chase, but have a hard time transitioning from pursuing something to actually building it, this is the podcast for you.
Get the show notes at aom.is/dopamine.
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