Tag Archives: success

How to Hack Your Brain Chemistry

You feel happy when your brain releases dopamine. This happens when you experience a success, reinforcing the behavior that led to the success. Unfortunately, dopamine is also released in other situations, and your brain can’t tell the difference between useful success dopamine and bad addition dopamine.

When you get angry, your brain also releases dopamine. This is being used in the outrage industry that churns out slanted reporting designed to make you angry. No matter if you are for or against Trump, your chosen media is likely to supply a never-ending diet of outrage.

To channel your energy into more productive pursuits than internet-fuelled rage, reduce your consumption of social media, and make sure your body produces a healthy amount of dopamine itself. There are all the usual things like exercising, sleeping well, etc.

In addition to all the usual good things (exercising, sleeping well, meditating), there is another thing you can do: Achieve goals. You get a dopamine boost when you achieve your goal, and the size of the goal doesn’t affect the dopamine release. Working in IT, you have many good ways of getting your dopamine kick – for example by writing tests before you write code. You also want to release software as often as possible, so look for work in an agile team that releases every few weeks.

You don’t want to be at the mercy of the outrage, entertainment, and junk food industries. Free yourself by making sure you get your dopamine from healthy activities like programming.

 

This is an excerpt from the monthly Spiritual Programmer newsletter. Don’t miss the next one, sign up here.

The Binary Career Choice

Because I advise people on which technology to use for their projects, I am also often asked for IT career advice. Much to my DBA friends’ surprise, I’ve garnered a “most viewed writer” rating on the topic Oracle DBA on question-and-answers site Quora.com.

This does not mean that I am an expert DBA, but rather that much IT career advice is general and carries over between specialties.

Why are you in IT?

The first question you need to ask yourself is why you are in IT. There are two possible answers, and in true IT fashion, they are binary.

  1. For fun
  2. For money

Many people try answering “both,” but that is a poor answer. If you try for both, you get neither. In order to be happy, you have to either be happy to work with the technology, or be happy that your job brings you the money you need to pursue happiness somewhere else. Make a choice.

 

I discuss this topic in more detail in this week’s Spiritual Programmer newsletter. Sign up here