I admit: I’m addicted to dopamine. I guess most of us are to an extent. There’s something about keeping our minds busy that’s attractive. It’s horrifying to have our minds wander freely when we’re alone. It’s even more attractive when we’re watching other people’s lives. It’s always good to think you’re better than someone else, eh? And when someone’s doing better than you, you crawl into depression. But you still can’t stop.
I’ve been off Instagram for the past 3 months now. The longest I’ve ever been away since I started using it… How insane is that? I have never stopped using Instagram since I started using it 8 or so years ago. But that applies to most people I know…
The trigger was a talk with Chamath Palihapitiya one of Facebook’s early employees. I’ve heard plenty of talks on how the dopamine addiction isn’t good for you and yada yada… But this guy did it slightly differently.
Chamath basically said that if you use social media, you’re programming your brain for always seeking instant gratification and short term pleasures. And if you do that on one front, then it applies on the rest of your life as well, whether you like it or not. So you cannot be a long term thinker if your brain is wired for short term instant rewards. You won’t have the patience for long term rewards if you’re so addicted to their more attractive cousin.
That hit home. I aspire to be a long term thinker. I believe that there’s a lot of benefit not only to oneself but also to society around them when they think long term and discipline themselves to overcome the weakness of seeking short term pleasures.
May we always have the willpower to free ourselves from the dopamine addiction.