Neurology versus Narrative

Today’s discussion is about Narrative versus Neurology

Our ability to construct and follow narratives is a part of the, as it were, ‘_superpower_’ that sets us humans apart from the animals. Much more so, in my opinion, than the ability to use tools.

One of the lessons we can draw from the work of Dr Andrew Huberman, is that the narratives we carry in our heads sometimes provide an unnecessarily constraining lens through which to find motivation and engineer self-improvement. Now it should be added, this is my interpretation. Huberman doesn’t, so far as I’m aware, say this directly anywhere, but what I love about his work is that – in my view – he shows us how our day to day effectiveness is based on straightforward neurological state and that we can make great improvements simply by attending directly to that. Indeed, in my opinion, sometimes, striving to fulfil a narrative arc through life, can itself lead to problems and a sense of failure.

We can live with a misapprehensions thanks – if you will – to a mismatch between the narrative arc we expected for ourselves and where we actually are and how we feel. And if this occurs, I think we do-well to attend to our neurological state. Yes the grand plot we expected our lives to follow can be a straitjacket. It can even carry us AWAY from being in touch with who we really are and what is really best for us. Narrative, I fear, can plot a journey we find we are incapable of sustaining. One that was pushed on us by external societal factors, and that doesn’t represent who we really are. Too much TV comparing ourselves to reality show celebrities or too much social media comparing ourselves to the lives of Instagram influencers, can have that effect.

We are often better off thinking in terms of neurology; being engaged, focussed, and learning how to relishing doing hard things. If we feel we are falling short on a narrative, we should probably question if we have the right conception of what it is to improve and succeed. And if we do, nearly every time it will come back that there is a mismatch between life goals and the best and most effective paths to achievement for us.

Does this sound familiar?

That pursuing life goals based on a presupposed narrative can lead to disappointment and failure, and – after a while spent in such a broken system – to compromised fearful planning. All too soon, if we start living life like his, we can stop wanting to look forward and take shortcuts to dopamine highs. Resort to Drink. Waste time playing Video games. Or engage in Elicit behaviours. Then we become stunted. Less than we are capable of being.

So the lesson I draw from Humerman, is to put aside the narrative, and understand what it takes to pursue a positive neurology. That is open to everyone.

Neuro “hacking” works!

Often simple practices in reach of us all can enhance wellbeing and focus to such a degree, we will naturally start to crave a better more effective approach in life, that will involve defining a new, unexpected but more effective narrative. Not one we imposed on ourselves based on societal expectations. One that is closer to who we really are.

Then we learn that being closer to who we really are is far better for us, and results in a far superior sense of wellbeing and THAT meets societal expectations far more effectively than artificially externally imposed goals that, were the product of comparing ourselves against the “wealth” and “lifestyle” of others.

So yes though we can be envious of people with vast wealth, we respect, truly respect, people who stick with their principles. Yes we can be beguiled by great physical looks, but we admire, truly admire people who have a strong presence and confidence despite not having the best looks. THAT we see and understand to be the greater achievement.

Everyone, no matter what their circumstances in life, no matter what they look like, can carry the right successful attitude forwards. To do so is always available to us.

[Andrew Huberman Content](


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