Happy BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY! Expectations Vs. Reality

Lets see what we have achieved so far.

  1. Flying cars: we have prototypes, not widely used yet.
  2. Alternative fuel for cars: we have electric cars. Close enough.
  3. Hover boards: we have this… shi… mini segways? Lets roll out to fatness!
  4. Video glasses: We have (or had?) Google glass.
  6. Fax machines
  7. Bio-metric scanner
  8. Video conference
  9. Hands free gaming consoles.
  10. iMax 3D
  11. Dehydrated foods? We have microwaves, is that close enough?
  12. Ridiculous fashion apparels.

Four Chemicals of Happiness


Happiness is just a neurochemical spurt. Four different brain chemicals create happy feelings, and you need all of them to feel good. You miss out when you rely on one or two old familiar ways of triggering your happy chemicals. You can enjoy a balanced happy chemical diet if you know the distinct kind of happiness each brain chemical evolved for.

Endorphin happiness is triggered by physical pain. The body’s natural morphine masks pain, which allowed our ancestors to run from predators when injured. Humans experience endorphin as euphoria, but it obviously did not evolve to trigger a constant feeling of joy. You would touch hot stoves and run on a broken leg if your brain were always releasing endorphins. Nature saves them for moments when they help you do what’s necessary to survive.

Dopamine happiness is triggered when you get a new reward. When you see a finish line, your brain releases dopamine. It’s nature’s reserve tank of energy. Dopamine keeps you going until you catch the prey you’ve been stalking, even when the chase is long and frustrating. If you surged with dopamine all the time, your energy would be depleted when you really needed it. We evolved to save dopamine for those moments when an important goal is within reach.

Oxytocin happiness is triggered when we trust those around us. It promotes bonding between mother and child, and between sex partners. It’s stimulated when you’re with a group of like-minded people, or when you get a massage. But we did not evolved to feel oxytocin happiness all the time because there’s no survival value in trusting people who are not trustworthy.

Serotonin happiness is triggered when you feel important. Animals release serotonin when they dominate a resource. Their serotonin falls when they cede a resource to avoid conflict. Being one-up feels good, but conflict can cause painful injuries. The brain is constantly analyzing information to balance the risk of pain against the satisfaction of winning.

Each of the happy chemicals evolved to do a job. They work by making you feel good, which motivates you to go after whatever triggered them. You have inherited a brain that motivates you to go toward anything that promotes the survival of your DNA.

Sometimes you stumble on happiness. When an ape accidentally stumbles on a luscious fruit tree, its brain surges with dopamine. That creates memory, which helps the ape find the tree in the future. New rewards trigger dopamine whether the rewards came by accident or with sustained effort.

The happy chemicals feel so good that we use our big cortex to figure out how to get more. Apes negotiate groomings with each other, and it stimulates their oxytocin. Apes dominate their troop-mates when they think they can get away with it, which stimulates their serotonin. Apes invest time teasing termites out of a mound, and it stimulates their dopamine. Apes are not known to hurt themselves in order to get an endorphin high. People do all kinds of things once they find that it stimulates their endorphins, or their dopamine, or their oxytocin, or their serotonin.

Sometimes it works.

But the brain only releases happy chemicals in limited bursts for specific aims. It did not evolve to release them all the time. If happy chemicals flowed all the time, they could not do their jobs.

When your happy chemicals dip, however, you notice. Something feels wrong.

Nothing is wrong. Your happy chemicals evolved to ebb and flow. But if you attend to this feeling that something is wrong, it can preoccupy you. Your cortex will scan the environment for evidence that something is, in fact, wrong. And it will find evidence to confirm that feeling.

If you expect all the happy chemicals all the time, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you focus on that disappointment, you wire your brain to see the world through that lens.

Try as you might, you can’t control your environment in a way that ensures a steady flow of happy chemicals.

You could instead accept the fact that happy chemicals evolved to promote survival behaviors, and just appreciate them as they come and go.

“They simply don’t understand yet.”

Paris shooting where 12 cartoonist murdered in cold blood still fresh in our memory. That shooting spark many debates on freedom of speech, Muslims reaction and frankly we Muslims is the one who’s taking the biggest hit from hate and prejudice because of the Paris shooting. Thank God the shooters already neutralized and  the people of France stand strong and united, regardless of their religion.

However, Charlie Hebdo recently after the shooting issued a magazine which contains the Prophet Muhammad SAW caricature (again). Personally, this infuriates me. Why? First of all, we Muslims believed depicting our prophet Muhammad SAW is a blasphemy. Why again? We are trying to avoid excessive veneration of Muhammad SAW since he is merely a mortal (but remarkable, and the most successful world leader of all time). I’ve seen the cover of the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine, frankly speaking it’s milder than I think it would be, but still please respect our belief. There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and becoming a total asshole.

Continue reading “They simply don’t understand yet.”

Art, Humanizing Human


Imagine 6’4″  male inmate doing a role play as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Weird? It happened in Ohio Prison.

Prisons are supposed to be about rehabilitation, but it seems like many people forget that. This is especially true when inmates are in there for long stretches.

Various people have tried to find ways to make prison into a more rehabilitating place than it is, but there’s one guard who had an idea that had probably never been though of before: putting on a play with inmates. The play he chose? The Wizard of Oz.

This was the brainchild of a guard named Darwin Secrest who has a reputation of being a “hard ass.”

When the 6’4” Joseph Sims stepped onto the stage dressed as Dorothy, there was of course some sniggering in the crowd full of inmates and prison guards.

When he started singing, however, the room quickly went silent, and by the end of the play, the crowd had been won over. The brave inmates who participated ended the night to a standing ovation.


Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings

On my first day of work, I began a new habit which is leaving my cellular phone on my desk, silenced, during the meeting. Cellular phone, especially the smartphone has already become inseparable aspects in our lives so that whether we realized it or not, we become dependent, or should I say addicted to it.

Meetings can be boring, that’s true. When the meeting starting to get boring, you look at your smartphone and begin to accessing social media, fun apps, or even games. Dr. Travis Bradberry, Co-author Emotional Intelligence and President of TalentSmart wrote an article, Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings which I will share it to you via my blog, below.  Hopefully after reading his article, you can stop a counter-productive habit like bringing (especially playing) your smartphones during the meeting.

Continue reading Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings