That’s a picture of me. I’m the one bawling, and that’s my mom comforting me at her brother’s wedding. I was the flower girl. I could not have been more excited about my big day (Ok it was about the bride and groom too, but hey, I was four). I took the role of the flower girl very seriously. But I was most excited about the ending, the grand finale, when we would all shower the newlyweds with white rice.

During the hours between my flower girl debut and the climactic rice-tossing event, I worked very hard to behave, while never letting go of that little bag of long-grain Mahatma. I waited in anticipation, as I watched my new Aunt Margie seem to gracefully float around the reception hall looking like the most exquisite creature I had ever seen. Other than that, I was painfully bored. But I behaved like the perfect little lady (that’s what we were told to do back then), waiting for the moment I had only heard about in fairytales.

It was late in the evening, my tiny hand was tired and sweaty from clutching my bag of Mahatma, and I had to “go to the potty.” And so, to the potty I went, as fast as my patent-leather Mary Janes would let me. And when I returned, I. Was. Devastated.

Uncle Paul and Aunt Margie were gone. I missed the grand finale, the moment I had been dreaming of for months. Here they are, recklessly leaving for their honeymoon, giving no thought to how they ruined my big night. Can you believe the audacity? To this day, I await an apology.

And this…………is the power of the dopamine ~ endorphin tandem. This story is a single example of the disappointment, frustration, or stress we experience when someone snatches away our much-anticipated rush of joy or endorphins. Our brains crave anticipation, and we are wired to expect relief or a reward.

Think of it this way:
– Why are we willing to stand in line for hours to ride a 2-minute rollercoaster?
– Why do we get so upset when the streaming ballgame suddenly freezes?
– Why do we love movies with surprising or happy endings?

These are all examples of how we love dopamine and seek satisfaction. Dopamine keeps us intrigued; it keeps us alive with anticipation; it fosters our creativity. And this builds neural pathways that crave a reward.

And so, let’s honor our listeners with this knowledge. Today’s Talk to the Brain Tip is to reward your audience. Learn how with this short video at the BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

But first, I want to practice what I teach! To satisfy your craving, I give you the ultimate happy ending. Here is another picture of Uncle Paul and Aunt Margie, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They both still light up any room with love; and Aunt Margie is still that graceful, exquisite creature whom I have grown to adore.

Love and Cheers,

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