There’s a whole community that swears by dopamine fasts, monk modes and a host of other nonsense.
People utilize dopamine fasts with the intent of getting their shit together. They want to get rid of the distractions so that they can achieve some sort of goal or achieve mastery in some sort of craft.
While I understand the intentions behind going on dopamine fasts, I think it is just another way we humans make the simplest things more complicated than they need to be.
Rather than get rid of distractions at the source, people have concocted mental hoops such as “dopamine fasts.”
There are many people who believe that dopamine is addictive and activities that causes release of this “feel good” chemical should be quelled for a period of time, or indefinitely.
What dopamine actually is is a chemical that either motivates someone to continue to engage in a particular behavior or stop a particular behavior.
This means that dopamine can encourage you NOT to continue a specific behavior as much as it encourages you to continue engaging in a particular behavior.
Dopamine provides for a host of other functions outside the nervous system as well so the wholesale demonization of dopamine, in my eyes, seems ridiculous.
However, the current perception of dopamine fasts are misguided.
This method only serves to worsen the problem that actually caused a person to gravitate towards dopamine fasts in the first place.
Motivation or Masturbation?
At this point in the personal development community it seems as if motivation and masturbation are one and the same.
The appeal that these “monk mode” programs have seems to have the same effect of their dopamine producing counterparts. These programs give some people the illusion that they are getting things done when they are in fact not.
Now, I want to mention that these programs, while well intentioned, are often taken out of context and misused.
It becomes the classic spiritual issue of desiring not to desire. It has nothing to do with actually needing to go on dopamine fasts.
When we seek out ways to end our suffering, we tend to go about it in an ego lead way. Dopamine fasts are just one side to this complex fractal.
Meaning we tend to try to find some sort of solution outside of ourselves to fix the problem.
This effort is akin to trying to drink the ocean with a fork.
It is endless, fruitless toil, no different than masturbation.
The motivational community only enables the behaviors they claim to want to end through sparkly content that works people into a mental frenzy without having them do anything at all.
To be fair, some, not all people get up off their asses to get stuff done but the majority doesn’t.
It’s just another form of masturbation by way of what some call success porn.
The Alleged Culprits…
So what is causing these dopamine spikes?
Here’s a list of things that are on the hook for causing these dopamine spikes, getting people “addicted,” and ruining their lives:
- Video games
- Social media
- Tv/Streaming services
While I do believe that the above does have the ability to cause people to become hooked on them, addicted in some sort of way, I don’t believe that these things are all powerful. They don’t require that you go on dopamine fasts in order to be freed from their diabolical grips.
Disclaimer: I do acknowledge that addiction is a real thing. This article is not to address addiction in a clinical context. This is strictly for people who are finding it hard to get their shit together and want a practical way to do so.
Many people think that the reason they can’t get their shit together is because they are on social media all day.
While that may be part of the reason, it is not the whole story.
Some people think that just because they are on some sort of journey to the promised land of actualization, that they can’t have fun.
It’s almost as if they think life has to be this callous experience of constant striving.
Life is meant to be lived. Have some fun sometime!
Some of these motivational/self help people that like to work you up into a frenzy to buy their product didn’t create their product with the intention of you just reading a few pages, trying it out then putting it down to live a life of acetic emptiness.
You have to actually do something. And in order to do something, you have to have something to do.
This means that you have to actually have a thing.
Everyone has a thing that they do. A hobby, an interest, something. And if you have a thing then none of the above can distract you from doing it…
If you can’t be distracted, addicted, etc, you don’t need to go on dopamine fasts.
But what if they do need to go on dopamine fasts?
Now here’s where I present the alternative solution to these “dopamine fasts.”
If you have a “problem” with video games, porn, social media, go at it directly.
Meaning, go cold turkey on whatever is supposedly distracting you.
And if you truly think you are addicted in some sort of way, ask yourself WHY you need to be engaging in those distractions.
You will not be able to come up with any reason that cannot be countered with a more powerful reason NOT to be engaging in any of those distractions.
There’s no need for you to seek out help from someone on the Internet about your…”internet addiction.” Just stop using the shit.
Dopamine fasts are utter nonsense.
There’s no need to read or buy a product to help you quit your social media problem.
I never understood the people who make things ridiculously complicated.
They complicate the simplest things.
People who aspire to exercise will read a thousand books before they go outside and take a fuckin’ walk.
I never understood that and never will.
Making things complicated is form of procrastination in which case is usually some sort of underlying emotional issue that needs to be solved which is a whole other beast.
I was on social media way too much thanks to this screen time application we have on iOS now.
My solution was to do a 30 day challenge of which I am at the end of now, no social media.
For 30 days I have not used any social media.
That is an example of going RIGHT AT the problem. Instead of engaging in some nonsense such as dopamine fasts I got the hell off of social media.
Some people turn that simple observation into an “addiction.” They would make that observation something they can make a problem out of.
Let me tell you a secret, awareness breeds the solution.
When you are going through something. When you need help solving a problem, the best thing you can do is look directly at the problem.
You already have ALL of the answers you will ever need on the inside. All you have to do is look.
You know how you know you have the right answer? You feel good about what you’re doing.
Your emotions guide you. You don’t need a book to tell you that you need to turn the video games off and get some work done.
Usually after playing a few rounds of Call Of Duty, you hear this nagging voice that says
“Hey motherfucker, get off the game, we got shit to do!”
But you ignore it. You’ve tuned out your inner voice for so long that you go looking for it outside of yourself in the form of some “motivational content.”
You don’t need dopamine fasts, monk mode bullshit.
Just get off the video games, porn, social media and execute.
– Anthony Boyd