The Power of Doing Nothing

The reward system in our brains gives us a hit of dopamine every time we complete a task, the more meaningful, the more rewarding the task feels. The modern person often enjoys constant stimulation throughout the day. When we are in transit we listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts. When we are on the train we may read. We eat whenever we are hungry, and we eat well. We get home from work and we watch a great show, or hang out with friends. Many days we are being rewarded from wake up to sleep time.

This constant stimulation may be nice, but it squelches our thirst for reward. There are certain things that we want to have positive rewards from more than others. We want to make sure our families are taken care of, we want to feel satisfaction for accomplishments in our careers, we want to feel good about finishing that difficult book. The problem is, when we are being stimulated every waking hour, our thirst goes away, and the rewards don’t feel nearly as rewarding.

Think about it like it is hunger. Who enjoys food more? The hungry man or the stuffed? The stuffed person doesn’t even want to see food, they will never enjoy the same way as the hungry man. The same goes for our dopaminergic system, when we are full, we enjoy things less. This is why working in a little bit of nothingness can make the important tasks even more rewarding.

It may be worthwhile to starve ourselves a little bit. Sit in silence on the train, or on your commute. Take a break and just chill in between important tasks. This makes the tasks which you want to feel good about, feel that much better.

Hustle it up!

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