Which one are you chasing: Stimulus or Adaptation?

The former will keep you busy and spinning on a hamster wheel – possibly going backward.

The latter is what most people have in mind when they create a goal.

So which do you chase?

When we chase the stimulus, we’re being driven by our emotional/limbic brain’s desire for an adrenaline rush, the dopamine hit, feeling “busy”, and the NOW.

When we pursue adaptation, we’re guided by the process, the actions that lead to our desired results, “productivity”, guided by our rational brain (aka, the logical PreFrontal Cortex) and it’s ability to see beyond the NOW.

The stimulus sparks the response that leads to adaptation – but only if the dose is accurate. (HINT: If some is good, more is always NOT better.)

The obvious fitness example is working out too hard or too frequently because we want to feel like we accomplished something, or we’re emotional tied to our results, or we’re punishing ourselves for some other reason/behavior. In other words we’ve exceeded our capacity to recover (aka, get back to baseline) and we certainly won’t have the capacity for supercompensation (aka, adapt to be better equipped to handle that stressor the next time we encounter it).

Since many of our examples are fitness or nutrition related, here’s a business example: Copy and pasting an outreach email.


What’s more important? Sending 100 of these emails today, or getting as many yeses as possible?

The former focuses on the dopamine hit from crossing off a to-do item.

The later is focused on MOVING THE CHAINS with a yes that will drive the adaptation we seek – connecting with the individual on the other end of the call/email + the increased exposure that might result from a “yes”.

Are you an adrenaline junkie chasing a constant stimulus or are you driving adaptation?

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