I’m a movie fan and recently saw “90 Minutes in Heaven.” It’s about a man in a horrific car accident who was hit head-on by a tractor-trailer rig. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident occurs on a narrow bridge, which blocks up traffic for hours. One of the people in that line-up of stalled cars is an ex-Vietnam medic and pastor. He asks the EMTs if he can pray for the dead man… and does so. Miraculously, the victim (Don Piper) comes back to life, after 90 minutes of being dead.
The remainder of the story chronicles Piper’s excruciating recovery. In the hospital, he is given a push button that allows him to self-dose himself with pain killers, presumably morphine.
So here’s the connection for our own lives as executives and leaders. We were designed with our own “morphine button.” For alliterative purposes, I call it the “dopamine drip.” Our body’s natural neurochemicals—such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins—can flood our systems and enable us to feel better.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to push that button! Instead, our attention is drawn to
- our lengthy to-do lists,
- the misunderstanding with a team member that just happened,
- the worry about whether we’ll meet next quarter’s budget numbers, and more.
If we were to pause throughout the day—even in the midst of the crisis du jour—and hit our own personal “dopamine drip,” we’d find that:
- the to-do list is shorter than we thought (or doesn’t all need tackled today),
- the misunderstanding can be resolved (and might even be a blessing in disguise), and
- the budget numbers can be tackled (often with more energy and creativity).
Hit the dopamine drip yourself, and see what you notice.
One quick way to dose yourself with dopamine is to take 60-120 seconds and read a short article or watch a video on a topic that fascinates you.
How do you hit the “dopamine drip”?