THIS IS ISSUE.013 OF THE SMRT LIST
Does your life feel constrained?
Imagine one where you have the ultimate freedom: time freedom.
To achieve time freedom, you must first free your mind.
To free your mind, you must understand your mind.
I love science because it reminds you that anything happening within you is a biological experience. It allows you to visualize what’s happening inside you, and bringing problems to awareness is always the first step to transformation.
I write, read, visualize, and endlessly consume knowledge because our brains can only solve problems by understanding the root cause.
In this edition of THE SMRT LIST, we’re going to chat about dopamine, the neurotransmitter that drives us to hunt, forage, mate, and survive. The fuel for our race’s highest achievements and the blame for addiction, instant gratification, and bad habits.
- My Epiphany In The Mountains
- Insight: Understand Dopamine To Control Your Mind
- Action: How To Increase Motivation
I remember what it was like being in the 9-5 and having to plan vacations because we had limited time off as a slave to “conventional timing”.
I came to LA on a one-way a few weeks ago for a cycling training camp. I often travel alone and Airbnb/hotel hop spontaneously, booking things last minute and doing as I please— It can be a double-edged sword but I don’t have kids and work for myself so I can be wherever I want. Life is going to change eventually so why not live in the moment fearless and unapologetically?
My friends ask how I do this so often, alone without planning but it’s my ‘normal’— to be able to adapt and pivot spontaneously to any situation, and most importantly, trust myself to make the most out of it. I got to where I am by learning how to mind my mind.
The Motivation To Never Give Up
Last weekend I had an epiphany.
I was out on a ride with my cycling group: 130km and 2000m of suffer in a magnificent Southern California spring surrounded by like-minded, strong-willed company. We climbed three colossal mountains that day.
I recall grinding up our second climb at a pace outside my comfort zone, deep in my pain cave on a steep and relentless 8km road in the wonderful Santa Monica mountains that run alongside the famed Pacific Coast Highway.
During that hour under the blazing California sun, familiar thoughts about how tired I was came and went, milliseconds of angst and despair polluted my thoughts but quickly dissipated into feelings of calm and joy.
Thoughts of “quitting” ran through my head but I knew I would NEVER quit. I didn’t even question it.
Quitting isn’t my normal.
“I can’t” doesn’t belong in my vocabulary.
That’s what years of consistent hardwiring and inducing flow state to overcome limits do to your brain.
You learn to recognize but not hold onto limiting beliefs and negative thoughts, and learn to switch emotional states on the fly. The power of neuroplasticity still blows my mind at how you can “automate” anything in your life.
At the beginning of my journey, I remember that feeling of dread the first time I did 90 minutes of Bikram’s Hot Yoga, climb a 10km mountain on my road bike, or even the 30 minutes on the elliptical … the fear of ‘getting bored’.
“How can I sit alone with my mind for that long?!”
These are activities that are not part of ‘your normal’ so your brain meets it with resistance. In order to overcome resistance, you need to ensure balanced levels of dopamine to maintain equilibrium.
Overcome resistance to move forward.
People who are able to maintain constant levels of motivation for a long time have embraced the effort and limbic friction instead of trying to find hacks to remove the effort.
To an untrained mind, those arduous tasks come with a sense of dread.
By embodying the mindset of an executive athlete and peak performer, you can train your mind to:
- pivot quickly and fearlessly
- never allow yourself to stay stuck
- see the world as limitless abundance
- ability to switch emotional states on the fly
- create your own opportunities rather than wait for them to arise
- not afraid to take big calculated risks and step into the unknown
- live comfortably on the edge of your comfort zone
When you’re in control of your mind, you can maintain the motivation to achieve anything. I can teach you how.
Understand Dopamine To Control Your Mind
Uncomfortable Truth: your body tries to maintain homeostasis between pleasure and pain. We suffer from anxiety and depression because we have access to everything— our minds are not built to be in a pleasurable state all the time which is why we lack the motivation towards further pursuits.
Since we’re creatures of pleasure, biologically wired to seek it in order to avoid pain, it takes a very deliberate forebrain-oriented person to really associate their values and self-image with effort and reward.
Pleasure without effort proceeding can be detrimental and dangerous.
Your goal should be able to put the effort in front of pleasure to be able to control your dopamine circuits in order to control the trajectory of your life.
This will result in momentum and motivation to “keep on pedaling.”
How To Increase Motivation
A good life is a progressive expansion of things that bring you pleasure— not receiving that pleasure all at once. In order to maintain consistent levels of motivation, you need to manage your dopamine baseline. In order to do so, you must:
Fall In Love With The Grind.
In this article, I will show you how to:
- Get excited about the learning process.
- Keep your dopamine baseline balanced to maintain momentum to drive forward.
- The Link Between Motivation + Dopamine
- How To Rewire Your Brain To Love The Grind
- Strategies To Increase Dopamine Naturally