When you find out that people like you, your brain gets hit by dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that dates back to four million years ago, when apes would experience it when they were accepted by their tribe.
But dopamine is absorbed very quickly in the body, so soon after the first wave washes over you, you need another.
It’s like an addiction. Cocaine attaches itself to the dopamine receptors. This is why cocaine users have a shortage of dopamine – their bodies think they have enough already. This is why they feel terrible when they stop using. Their body has given up on them, so they just do more cocaine.
It’s an ongoing problem. And just like them, I will never get over my addiction. What do people really think?
But I can constantly improve. Consistency can create permanence.
And that is what I do.
- A) KINDNESS.
Being kind to people can start another wave of neurochemicals (serotonin and oxytocin) that make you feel joy.
If this looks like a simple reason to be happy, it’s because it’s true. And it’s ok. Because it still works.
- B) LIFE IS HARD FOR EVERYONE.
If someone is cruel to me, I know that this is what fear looks like.
When a person is mad at me, I ask myself, what kind of fear are they really showing? If I am mad, I ask myself the same question.
When I ask that question, I can see the reasoning behind my actions are fear. And behind the actions of the world is more fear. My parents’ fears, my friends, and my coworkers.
Fear is how we lived for a millennium. But at this point, it’s ancient history. We don’t’ have to worry about being eaten by lions anymore. Reminding myself of this each day allows me to relax and enjoy myself .
- C) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
I once had a boss who would always invite me to dinner. When I would get home from work, I would see that this made me feel bad about myself.
It didn’t take long before I quit working for him. And it wasn’t really because of him. He was scared too. But there was no real reason to feed in to his fears while I was still dealing with my own.
Now whenever I spend time with someone new, I ask myself if they uplift me. I look at my body and see how it’s feeling. If I am at ease and enjoying myself, then I continue spending my time around that person.
- D) ART
Go above and beyond in everything you do. When you’re spending time with someone, listen to what they are saying intently. If you’re writing something down, turn it in to a story. When you’re at work, help out your coworkers.
But how is it that you turn something to art? By helping out one person. That is when it’s art. If you ask yourself “did I assist someone and improve their life?” then you will spend less time worrying about seven billion other people.
- E) ALWAYS BRING YOURSELF ABOVE HATE
When you, “starve hate of oxygen”. It destroys it. Hate only grows if you let it.
I was speaking with a Muslim friend. He has been at the brunt of some attacks lately, and he’s been writing about it.
I wanted him to have this advice: “Islam” means peace, correct? You should spend more time focusing on that, and writing about that, rather than focusing on these attacks. Be a symbol of peace and not a beacon of “hate”.
But doesn’t everyone need to know about the hate in the world?
But don’t worry, we know about it.
- F) MY CHECKLIST: 1%
It seems that about once a year I have a tragedy in my life. It could be even more often. It could be in my money, or my health, or my relationships.
You could be gliding along in life and then your spouse leaves you, your company could go out of business, or your boss could blame the latest disaster on you.
But there is no way to evade the tragedies that happen in the world.
Before I go to bed I go through my checklist. Did I try and make the best of 1% of what is happening:
Physical health: Did I sleep, eat, and exercise today?
Emotional health: Did I spend time with my loved ones?
Mental health: Was I make something new today?
Spiritual health: Did I forget my own fears and appreciate my role in the universe?
It’s not easy to do this daily. But I do it because this is the best way that I can turn tomorrow in to a successful day. This is my strategy to making today a success.
- G) PLUS, MINUS, EQUAL
PLUS: did I locate someone to teach me today?
EQUAL: did I interact with someone who challenges me today?
MINUS: did I teach someone today?
- H) GIVE IN
When I spent time in India, I would go to yoga classes that I didn’t have the experience for.
After two hours of yoga, I was exhausted and weeping in pain. I would leave the class and see a man outside with a cart of coconuts. He would use his machete to open the coconut and I could drink out of it with a straw.
I’d sit there, in pieces, and drink from a coconut just as broken as me. And BOOM! It was like electric dumped through me, bringing me back to life.
We’re all a in pieces. I’m giving up. There’s no way I can put it all together. I give in to the unknown. I look for questions that don’t have answers I look for the next clue. I’m drinking from the broken coconut with a straw that I have been given.
- I) PLAY
Yesterday I was playing table tennis. For those two hours, I forgot everything else in my life.
So what if nothing in my life is good?
It doesn’t matter. I am still having a great time playing ping pong.
Games activate every part of our brains, they are great exercise. Forgetting everything else and focusing on the game is creative and spiritual. This act put life in to all of the four areas of my checklist.
- J) WRITE
When we complain to others, we are showing them the ugliness of our insides. When we write, we tell our insides about the outside world.
This turns around our concerns. This put us at ease, we have seen this all before. Writing is a tune that you can sing in your own head.
There are times that none of this is effective. I still wonder what others think of me. I can’t always remove those thoughts from my head.
The Bonsai tree doesn’t attain perfection. But no matter what, I trim it each day. It will still grow, and the branches will extend in any direction they want.
And this will produce something unbelievable. Confusing and misunderstood and unbelievable. Just like every live in this massive world we live in. We are here forever, with each other.