“To everyone is given the key to heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.”
– Ancient Proverb
I’m your dopamine angel and I’m writing to help you understand how dopamine works. If you’re interested in learning how you can be happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser, here goes!
Imagine everyone with a dopamine angel (d-angel) on one shoulder and a dopamine demon (d-demon) on the other.
D-angels have been helping billions of creatures survive and evolve for millions of years. We’re protectors offering life-sustaining advice. Look around and you’ll find that the most successful animals succeed because they listen to their d-angels.
Homo sapiens are the only animals burdened with deceptive d-demons. That’s why seemingly smart people keep doing so many foolish things.
D-demons aren’t evil, it’s just that they’re neurotransmitters and chemicals can’t care if they ruin lives.
The key to happiness starts with understanding that your d-demon is like a frienemy who doesn’t want you to figure out what’s going on. D-angels and d-demons are only advisers. You are in charge and, if you’re smart, we work for you.
There is one important differences between your d-demon and me. You can’t get rid of me, which is good because I’m here to ensure your survival. But you can tell your d-demon to take a hike.
Your d-demon will try to convince you that what I’m saying is nonsense. If that happens, remember that your d-demon keeps tricking you into making the choices you regret — and then convincing you to blame everyone.
I’m no match for a d-demon capable of tempting you with dopamine-induced highs. Lucky for you, I’ll never stop trying to get you to understand that your happiness depends on who you listen to.
Here’s a hint. If it’s good advice that ends up making you happy, you’re listening to me.
The next time your d-demon offers you a short-term dopamine boost, ask yourself if it’s worth the long-term misery. If you can’t resist the temptation, it’s a sign that you’re letting your d-demon do your thinking for you.
There’s an important complication you should know about. The planet is filled with not-so-nice people who don’t know that they’re slaves to d-demons. That’s why there are so many pushers pushing junk nobody needs. They’re pushing junk (heroin), junk foods, junk thinking, junk bonds, junk news, junk religions, and must-have toys that quickly turn into junk.
Pushers understand that happy people make terrible consumers, so they do their worst to spread misery. The more miserable the consumers, the easier it is to trick them into wasting time, money, and lives chasing elusive dopamine-induced expectations.
If and when you decide that you’re ready to be happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser, it’s simply a matter of telling your d-demon to get lost. Then will you be be free to make the decisions that make your life better.
I’ll leave you with a few practical and proven dopamine-inducing suggestions. Practice kindness. Volunteer. Donate. Smile. Exercise. Eat healthily. Create. Hug. Be a positive, giving, loving, caring, honest Human being.
The easiest way to be happier is to help make others happy.
If you find yourself thinking, “Oh, that will never work,” you can be sure your d-demon is doing your thinking for you.
That’s OK. It’s your life. If you want to blow your short time on earth being a sucker for a neurotransmitter, I can’t stop you.
Just understand that I’m not allowed to give up on you. It’s my job.
I’m betting that one day you’ll wake up and smell the dopamine.
Until then, I’m here for you!
Your Dopamine Angel