By now, you're probably familiar with dopamine, but did you know that it's the neurotransmitter that keep us motivated to persevere and achieve goals? Scientists tell us that we have the power to increase our dopamine levels by changing our attitudes and behaviors. We also know that humans with higher levels of dopamine, the "reward.molecule," also have a higher level of perseverance and other life-long good habits. Dopamine is linked to positive behavior reinforcement...that little "ding, ding, ding jackpot feeling" you get when you accomplish your goal." Recently, scientists have discovered the specific receptors that link dopamine directly to the formation of good and bad habits.
A study released in 2011 shows that key receptors for dopamine act like "gateways" that are essential to habit formation. "Dopamine neurons regulate circuits all over the brain but they need to be regulated too," said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, Co-Director of the Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute at Georgia Health Sciences University. His discovery, thinks Dr. Tsien, will open the door to speeding up the process of forming good habits and, possibly, removing bad ones since he same circuits seem to be involved in both.
So why do we want to improve our perseverance? There are many excellent reasons and among them are: you build self-confidence, you accomplish more goals, you learn more, and failures become less painful. Each triumph, no matter how small, is an accomplishment. And each one brings you more belief in your own talents and abilities.
If you want to strengthen your own level of perseverance then you might want to try doing something you've failed at before. Then keep trying until you succeed! Set long-term and short-term goals that are realistic. Develop an optimistic mindset. Start out small and work your way up. And always keep trying...no matter what. Learn to think of failure as a homework assignment...not the final exam. Staying positive is so important. Pat yourself on the back often; not only when you succeed, but when you fail, too. Give yourself credit for having tried. Being grateful for what you have, even it's just for your favorite pair of socks, will help you develop a more positive mindset. Like the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again" doesn't mean you have to keep trying the same old way. There's always more than one way to accomplish your desired end result. So be creative!
The important lesson to learn is not that dopamine might be responsible for your perseverance, or even that perseverance is necessary for success. What is important iss that we all learn that failure happens...sometimes often, but that doesn't mean that we, or our goals, aren't important. Picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, then trying again is what will ultimately lead to success. As John Quincy Adams so eloquently said, "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."