The average attention span of the adult American is around 10 seconds – that’s shorter than any time in human history. We’re swimming in a world of distractions that keep us from getting real work done.
When asked what their biggest problems are, many entrepreneurs will say that their biggest issue is staying focused and getting motivated to do ‘boring’ work.
This makes sense when we have tens of thousands of forces tugging us in all directions, promising us little hits of pleasure in exchange for our attention.
These forces include social media, sugary/high card foods, video games, easy access entertainment, YouTube videos, hookup culture and more. All of these forces have one thing in common: they make us feel good.
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When we experience these pleasure moments, our brains release a chemical called dopamine, the chemical behind the experience of pleasure. Historically, the brain has used dopamine as a ‘reward’ chemical, only released when we made accomplishments or worked very hard.
Traditionally, the feel-good release of dopamine was what kept us going, it was the motivating factor behind our success. This was during a time when there no Twitter, no processed sugary foods, no Facebook, no Tinder, no video games, no easy buttons to press to get our dopamine hits.
Now it’s easier than ever to experience these pleasure moments. You don’t need to spend all day toiling in the fields to feel good, you can just crack open your phone and watch a funny cat video, or order some fries on Postmates, or just spend a few minutes on Twitter.
Since all it takes to feel good in the modern world is just a button click away, why would anybody be motivated to spend 8 hours a day working hard on their business? Why would anybody dare to wake up at 5am every morning to get a head start? Why in the world would somebody subject themselves to a workout every day?
Entrepreneurship takes discipline. It’s not easy to spend all day slaving away at your brand while you’re surrounded by thousands of temptations.
This is one of the biggest paradoxes of our time: we have access to some of the most powerful wealth creation tools in human history, to petabytes of information on how to make it, yet there are millions of us struggling to stay on track. What gives?
Our brains are obsessed with these dopamine triggers taking over our lives. This is especially relevant for younger people, who are increasingly reporting that their reward systems are fried. They no longer feel good when they succeed.
This is dangerous. You NEED to feel good when you win, otherwise there is no reason to win. How have entrepreneurs been solving this issue?
With the dopamine detox.
Entrepreneurs everywhere are temporarily ridding their lives of these easy dopamine triggers so that they find more excitement when they’re working on their business.
Essentially, they’re tricking their brains into LOVING hard work.
Dopamine detox participants report that they find it easier to get up in the morning, they’re more efficient, they have actual fun growing their business, and they even have more energy.
The dopamine detox can take a range of forms, depending on how serious you are about it. But, all forms of the dopamine detox require removing at least a few dopamine triggers from your everyday life for a certain range of time. These triggers include:
• Sugary foods
• TV shows
• Social media
• Socializing of any kind
• Pleasure reading
• Technology of any kind
• Warm showers
This is a non-exhaustive list of dopamine triggers you can rid from your life during your detox, nor is it a complete list of all of the things you would remove from your life during detox.
My 1-week detox just removed sugary foods, carbs, social media, TV, movies, social events, warm showers and sex from my life (I wasn’t consuming alcohol, tobacco or any drugs in the first place, so there was no need to remove those).
I still listened to music, worked on my reading list, and used technology to run my business and keep track of my workouts.
Most people will do a hard dopamine detox (withholding from most of the elements on the list, sometimes even more) for a short amount of time (1-3 days) every few months.
Others will do a lighter, yet longer detox (a few days to a month), only withholding from some of their worst dopamine triggers while retaining some every so often.
Many perform a long term dopamine detox indefinitely, holding off on some of their worst dopamine triggers for an undetermined amount of time.
It’s recommended that you do one hard dopamine detox for 24 hours, see how it affects you, and go from there.
My relatively mild 1-week detox produced incredible results. I started naturally waking up earlier, feeling more energized, more motivated, worked more hours, and actually directed more customers to my businesses during this period.
It felt like a total reset of my mind. My worst dopamine triggers were junk food and social media. I would often spend 4 hours a day JUST on Instagram! Imagine what else I could do with the time I was wasting on social media.
Before my detox I felt compelled to consume these triggers, almost like some kind of social media junkie. I was addicted. I no longer feel this way and I actually feel in control of how I spend my time, allowing me to work hard on my more important projects.
I would find it grueling to get up in the morning and hammer away at some of the less fun aspects of my business. Now I gleefully get up early every morning, actually EXCITED to work hard.
Instead of deriving my pleasure from staring at a phone screen and eating junk all day, I get my pleasure from working hard and being productive.
If that sounds nice to you, then I recommend looking into a dopamine detox. There’s a wealth of information on YouTube describing how you would go about your own detox. Godspeed.
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