Boriana Valentinova

Defeat and victory and the chemistry in our brains

I’m reading this amazing book a friend recommended: 12 rules of life by Jordan B. Peterson. Quite a controversial and remarkable psychologist due to his views on cultural and political issues. But he is also one of the most-followed people on Youtube with more than 3.4M subscribers. So, one of his rules about life, I want to share with you today, is about our super brain powers. Or rather, about defeat and victory and our attitude towards it.

I’ve seen so many friends and clients losing faith in changing something because they’ve failed to make it happen. Many give up and admit defeat too quickly and often after just one trial. As a result, they become unconfident and with low self-esteem. However, others harvest one success after another. Even if they face some resistance to change and even failure, they pull themselves together and move forward at the end.
Whether we are confident does not depend on luck or intangible and invisible super brain powers. Instead, it is a result of a pure chemical balance between serotonin and octopamine. When we achieve success, our serotonin level increases.
When we have high serotonin levels, we feel confident, strong, on top of the world. Therefore, the antidepressant drugs often prescribed are aimed to increase the level of serotonin to achieve the chemical and behavioural effects.
The contrary happens when we make a mistake or lose something, fail to achieve a goal, or feel defeated by a difficult task. Then, the octopamine level increases and produces this defeat looking scrunched up, inhibited person looking for a back door to escape reality and avoid the challenge.
So, how do we control this chemical imbalance? How do we pull ourselves together and find the courage to stand up and fight again for our dreams?
Of course, one way is to take antidepressant drugs to boost our self-confidence. But there is another way: that is Peterson’s rule number 1 in life: stand up straight, with your shoulders back.

You might object: defead is real. You’ve been there.

A mere transformation of posture is not enough to change anything. Fair enough. But standing up with your shoulders back is not something that is only physical because you are not only a body. You have a soul. Standing up means voluntarily accepting the burden of reality. Your nervous system responds in an entirely different manner when you face the demands of life willingly. You react to a challenge instead of framing it as a tragedy. You step forward to take action, and you will defend, expand and transform your world as you want it. Victory is also real.
To stand up straight with your shoulders back means to accept the responsibility of life with your eyes wide open. It means deciding to transform the chaos around you into habitable order voluntarily.

So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind.

Put your dreams forward because you have the right to dream and change your world as you want. Walk tall and look ahead. Dare to challenge others. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully without the need for medication. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.