Are We Addicted To Our Own Living Drugs?
In Love With Helen Fisher! New Heroine!
Two weeks ago, I attended The European Pirates Summit where startup entrepreneurs from around Europe came together to exchange their experience and make new connections. I was lucky to have met new and old like-minds.
Among them was a TEDx Koeln participant who told me that she felt very inspired by my speech. I told her that I had developed my innovation method in part based on TED itself. She was positively surprised.
Helen Fisher for example was one of my all-time favorite TED speakers who I discovered recently again. In the last couple of decades Helen has dedicated her life to explore how people fall in love - and I love her for that.
On the first sight her dedication for love might appear quite cheesy, but in fact this outstanding anthropologist has discovered a phenomenon that most people (including myself) were only able to assume. For me her discoveries have more meaning for how we deal with people in general than just only in love life.
In one way or another Helens discoveries have shown me that science seen from a creative/ innovative perspective is nothing but INSIGHT. Insights are subsets of creative processes. I will write about this topic in another post.
Now what is Helens timeless contribution in understanding human behavior?
Helen has discovered four chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Testosterone and Estrogen, which are responsible for how we behave and who we feel attracted to.
She believes that those four chemicals, which are active in different proportions (depending who you are) define our character-traits: Explorer, Negotiator, Director, Builder.
“If you give Testosterone to a monkey it would start to fight” says Helen to showcase a Director behavior.
Helen describes the four character traits as follows:
Explorer (Playmate/ Dopamine): novelty seeking, risk-taking, curious, many interest, creative, spontaneous, impulsive, energetic, restless, flexible, open-minded, irreverent, enthusiastic, optimistic, playful, sexual, self reliant, independent
Negotiator (Soulmate/ Estrogen): sees the big picture, contextual, holistic, synthetic, web-thinking, imaginative, theoretical, process oriented, tolerates ambiguity, linguistic skills, people skills, reading posture, gestures, faces, tone of voice, intuition, theory of mind, empathetic, altruistic, nurturing, patient, tactful, trusting, emotionally expressive, introspective, self analytical, seeks meaning and identity, agreeable, accommodating, flexible, idealitic, seeks harmony, win-win solutions, egalitarian, merciful, big hearted
Director (Mindmate/ Testosteron): analytical, logical, rational, theoretical, direct, decisive, exacting, tough minded, understand “rule-based systems”, technically skilled, focused, narrow attention, competitive, rank-oriented, ambitious, pragmatic, compotent, emotianlly contained, detached, skeptical, independent, autonomous, self disciplined, musical understanding, heroic altruism
Builder (Helpmate/ Serotonin): traditional, conventional, cautious, not fearful, calm, social, networking, managerial, cooperative, fact oriented, concrete, literal, precise, details, conscientious, orderly, persistent, patient, thorough, loyal, dependable, respect authority, rules, schedules, routines & plans, need control, need respectability, the guardian, protective, want to serve, self-transcendence, figural and numeric creativity
I don’t agree with all her descriptions as some of them seem to be cultural influenced. But they show clearly how different dose of hormones can define our character-traits.
How do you end up in a Tunisian restaurant one day after it’s been opened?
You hang around an “Explorer-Friend” who is always novelty seeking.
Her discovery on “why we behave the way we behave” helps me to understand and handle people at any situation in life.
Of course I was instantly tempted to figure out who I am and who my friends and family members are.
It was no surprise: I seem to be drawn to people who are Explorer, Negotiator, Director types, because obviously that’s what makes me tick.
When it comes to family affairs I tend to be drawn to Builders as they seem to equalize the behavior (feeling) which doesn’t “turn me on”.
Understanding the four character-traits can be used to mentor people, assemble a team, or even have a great love life.
Science has this objective perspective which detaches us from our point of view. However understanding behavior as a flow of substances helps us to deal with big questions that define our life.
Why do I like him?
Why am I doing this?
What makes me feel good?
Who do I want to spend most of my time with?
Interestingly, enjoying someone’s company seems actually not to be random but almost predetermined.
Our behavior is driven by the feeling we experience. The feeling we experience is again highly dependent on the level of chemicals we have inherited.
We seem to be addicted to our own living drugs. To make use of them we have to behave/ act in certain ways.
- esayas posted this