Learn How To Use Dopamine In The Brain To Make People Buy Things

A couple of weeks ago Matthew revealed he is going to explore Costa Rica partly because he felt that consumer societies based on the pursuit of money and material goods may not be the answer to happiness and wellbeing.

I wanted to write a post exploring this a bit further and look at how so many of us are tricked into blindly chasing down money and material goods.

It all starts with the release of a dopamine in the brain. This is part of our body’s natural reward system that influences our thoughts and actions more than you realise.

As marketers we use dopamine production techniques to manipulate your attention and hijack your reward systems in a cunning plan to separate you from your money.

Don’t think you are too smart to be tricked. It is a biological reaction that you have no control over.

 Thinking you can beat it makes you the perfect target.

Dopamine Production Is Easier Than Ever Before

Thanks to the rapid growth of technology and social media, taking advantage of dopamine in the brain through marketing is easier than ever before.

  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • PCs
  • Game consoles
  • Facebook & Twitter

These all provide us with the things we are biologically programmed to need.

Like connecting with others socially, something that’s deeply rooted in humans. Our brains release the dopamine reward every time we use them.

Tasty food samples as you enter a supermarket get your dopamine production neurons fired up, grabbing our attention, leaving us vulnerable to temptation and impulsive behaviour.

Interestingly, dopamine neurons are less responsive to familiar rewards; hence the reason why Starbucks keep changing up their menu and why McDonald’s keeps adding new food items.

 Most food is manufactured with the right combination of sugar, salt and fat to get our dopamine production running riot.

The scent marketing industry is built around using smell to release dopamine and influence peoples buying decisions.

If you take 2 groups of people and show the same product, the group subjected to the right scent in the air perceive the same item as higher quality with a higher price tag.

capitalist hug

Lotteries use dopamine in the form of:

“Imagine what you could do with one million dollars”

They use your own imagination to paint the picture and deliver dopamine in the brain.

The bells ringing, lights flashing, half naked women waitresses, cheap booze and all-you-can-eat buffets are also big dopamine spikers.

Stores put their most tempting items front and centre to get your dopamine levels up on arrival.

Gamification, another dopamine driven concept is the elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, leaderboards) to other areas of activity. Typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

For years, loyalty programmes have used gamification principles to encourage use and increase engagement.

What Is Dopamine In The Brain Exactly?

Dopamine is a chemical that is released and sends signals to nerve cells.

Dopamine causes us to seek reward but not to reward us, it also causes frustration and anxiety.

Marketers use this feature best with “closing down specials”, “limited quantity deals”.

black friday meme

Your primitive hunter/gatherer instinct kicks in with a rush of dopamine production and we head out to reduce this anxiety.

Matthew is a wise old (well young) bird and has a valid point in his reasoning to travel outside of capitalist/consumerist society’s.

This can be clearly illustrated by the study of our brain chemistry – specifically the neurotransmitter or brain chemical, dopamine.

This brain chemical is responsible for most social ills in capitalist countries.

When you read about “dopamine production and the false promise of reward”, you will start to appreciate how useless the quest for pleasure, happiness and satisfaction through the constant pursuit of rewards really is.

In essence your tricked into chasing your own tail in pursuit of happiness. Learn more about it here.

The Rise Of Neuromarketing

The rise of neuroscience and marketing or neuromarketing is not new, but we are getting better at it to control consumers.

It’s all about the promise of reward, linked to the release of dopamine in the brain.

Not only does it propel us to falsely desire something…

  But it’s so powerful we end up wanting things we don’t want or have a use for.
Ultimately it confuses us into doing things we wouldn’t normally have done had our brains not been flooded with dopamine.

You Have Been Fooled

I’ll let you in to a secret, you’ve been duped.

The brain is not actually that interested in happiness – I can hear the gasps.

It is more occupied with preserving our primal survival instincts like passing on our genes and sourcing food or taking on extra calories when the opportunity presents itself as insurance against famine or shortage.

cat hitman

Dopamine not only makes up part of our reward system in the brain, but it also drives us to survive and excel.

In a cruel sort of way, the brain uses the “carrot and stick” approach to achieve its primary objective i.e. survival of the species.

Confusing The “Promise of Reward” For Happiness

Consumerism has taken control of society so much that we have started to confuse the promise of reward with happiness.

We treat ‘wanting’ something like it is a guarantee of happiness when we finally get it.

For example if you want to buy a new car, most people will put themselves through great suffering either from working or servicing debt to satisfy that urge and be happy.

But once you reward yourself with that car you’re not actually any happier and the cycle begins again with something else.

rented dopamine production

We wrongly perceive that getting the objects we desire will make us happy. It is nearly impossible to separate the “promise of reward” from whatever pleasure or payoff we are seeking.

The “promise of reward” is so powerful that we continue to pursue things that don’t make us happy and consume things that bring us more misery than satisfaction; how ironic eh!

This evolutionary survival mechanism that worked so effectively for our primal ancestors, has unfortunately found its way into our modern day lives.

tomorrows happiness

The temptations of modern day convenience including:

  • Online shopping
  • Gambling
  • On demand sex and drugs
  • 24 hour supermarkets
  • Fast food

Is specifically engineered with the optimum combination of salt, sugar, bad fats and chemical additives are all designed to hijack the reward circuit in our brains.

But hold on a second, surely we have a divine right as humans to pursue and feel happiness?

Of course we are wired to experience pleasure and satisfaction, which do contribute to happiness – but only when we consume in moderation and adopt meaningful lifestyles.

This is the “carrot and stick approach” the brain uses to keep you getting out of bed in the morning.

However when you exceed your brain’s “pleasure budget”, the quest for happiness backfires.

Your brain’s “pleasure budget” can be controlled by your lifestyle, which basically means you can be happy with less or more meaningful things.

“Happy with less? It sounds too good to be true”, I hear you say; well it’s TRUE.

I Learnt The Hard Way

I only learnt this two years ago at the ripe old age of 48 when I started researching for my fat loss book.

There is no better example of the relationship between “dopamine, the false promise” of reward and happiness, than with food.

The obesity crisis is linked to this relationship, due to unlimited choice and temptation.

This has allowed our primal survival instinct to develop into an unhealthy relationship with food, overeating and eating “foods” that are not real foods.

Unfortunately these “foods”, which were never intended to be consumed by humans, hijack the reward circuit in the brain, flooding our systems with dopamine giving us that euphoric feeling.

The same feeling we also get from many other modern day temptations such as:

  • Gambling
  • Drugs
  • Shopping
  • Alcohol
  • Sex addiction
  • Collecting material goods.

The only problem is that it is short lived.

Why? Because with every messenger chemical e.g. dopamine, insulin, leptin, serotonin, there is a receptor waiting to pick up the message or command.

Over time the receptors become less receptive and build up a tolerance. So you need higher levels of dopamine in the brain to achieve the same effect.

The result of this is that the “high” is never the same as the first few times you consume something in high quantities or with regularity leading to the “false promise of reward”.

It never delivers the same hit and so you are constantly looking to increase the consumption to experience that initial euphoric feeling.

Finally rewarded yourself with that new car? I bet you’ve already asked yourself which car your going to buy next.

Just ask the poor alcoholic or cocaine addict who constantly chases the “high”; it becomes elusive with regularity and excess because the dopamine receptors have down regulated or became resistant to the signal.

Is There Any Hope?

Don’t fret; there is hope my friends. As a matter of fact, we have a chunk of brain at the front of the head (see diagram below) called the pre-frontal or frontal cortex (in blue), which has developed over time to help us adapt to the challenges of modern day living.

dopamine in the brain

This includes the ability to exercise willpower when we need to make important decisions that will protect us from harm or help us stay on the path to reach our long term goals.

For example, resist that chocolate cake in order to lose the excess fat and live a healthier, happier and longer life.

This part of you recognises that the cake threatens your long term goals and so it will do whatever it can to deal with this threat by helping to control intense emotions and impulses.

 This is your willpower instinct.
The problem is modern day living; alcohol, drugs, stress, sleep deprivation actually impair this sensitive part of the brain to the extent where it mimics actual brain damage.

The ‘damage’ is only temporary but it impairs your ability to think rationally and make the correct decisions to reach your long term goals long enough for marketers to separate you from your money.

The Paradox Of Reward – Dopamine Production 101

There is nothing wrong with desire until we mistake the wanting for happiness; a life without wants may not require as much self-control, but it’s also a life not worth living.

The “promise of reward” doesn’t guarantee happiness, but no “promise of reward” guarantees unhappiness; listen to the “promise of reward” and we give in to temptation.

Without the “promise of reward”, we have no motivation.

 To this dilemma, there is no easy answer.
It’s clear that we need the “promise of reward” to keep us interested and engaged in life. If we are lucky, our reward systems won’t stop serving us in this way, but hopefully they won’t turn against us either.

We live in a world of technology, advertising and 24 hour opportunities that leave us always wanting and rarely satisfied.

If we are to have any self-control, we need to separate the real rewards that give our lives meaning from the false rewards that keep us distracted and addicted.

Learning to make this distinction may be the best we can do.

This isn’t always easy, but understanding what’s happening in the brain can make it a little easier and we may find just enough clarity in moments of temptation to not believe the brain’s “big lie”.

Desire is the brain’s strategy for action. As we have seen, it can be both a threat to self-control and a source of willpower.

When dopamine production points us to temptation, we must distinguish wanting from happiness.

In the end, desire is neither good nor bad, what matters is where we let it point us and whether we have the wisdom to know when to follow.

How To Beat The System

For all the poor souls caught up in this mass consumerism, have no fear, there is help at hand!

The best ways to achieve a stable level of happiness is to balance the amount of dopamine and dopamine receptors.

Sounds tricky but this is easily achieved with a combination of good lifestyle habits-

Proper Diet
Limiting sugars and grains, eat good fats, meats, oily and other fish, plenty green leafy vegetables, berry fruits, nuts, seeds, minimise or eliminate processed junk foods, including most packaged foods and ready meals.

Proper exercise including high intensity like weights or sports as well as casual exercise like walking in greenery, which is great for enhancing mood and willpower.

Make sure you get enough sleep at night. If you constantly go to bed late and get up early, you are doomed and much more susceptible.

Focus On What Matters
Pursuit all of your interests, hobbies and meaningful relationships with friends, family and spirituality.

This ensures a balance of dopamine and dopamine receptors in concert with other hormones and neurotransmitters, which is what the body strives for.


It’s that simple folks! Governments should teach this in schools, but they won’t, why?

Capitalist governments rely on mass consumerism or consumption to grow the economy, which decides how important your country is. Apparently.

I sincerely hope you have found this article enlightening and empowering on your journey to find more meaning and purpose in your busy, modern lives.

“The Greatest Wealth is Health” – Virgil

Thanks for sticking around and feel free to check out my website and my blog!

Handing Over To Matt…

I thought I would experiment with a different type of guest post that introduces you to the science of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ in our brains.

If you would like to learn more about the psychological and physiological side of marketing and how we can apply that to the web let me know!

Kudos to Clark for putting such an awesome article together! Although I might have added a few images here and there ;)

Matt’s Bonus Tip

Clark missed out an important tip that anyone who is currently putting themselves through hell under false promise of happiness needs to know about.

It’s simple, cost effective and delivers the same chemical reward.

Just ‘sort yourself out’ so to speak.

You just ‘beat’ the system.

104 Responses

  1. Matthew Emmanuel

    Matt! This is so real I felt like reading it all the way down again. The content itself has some level of dopemine

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 16th, 2019 at 7:50 am

      Haha cheers Matthew :)

  2. Tim Soulo

    Hey Matthew and Clark!

    Amazing article and I personally would love to see more content like that on this blog.

    This whole consumerism/rewards/dopamine thing relates to me A LOT!

    I remember last year I visited my friend who was arranging an office at Philippines and I still remember how good I was feeling there:

    – no need to buy expensive clothes: a t-shirt, shorts and slippers is really all you need;
    – no need to have an expensive car, since everyone is riding shitty cars;
    – no need to attract ladies (because I don’t like how most ladies from Philippines look.. no racist, just a matter of taste (and consumerism habits of course) ).

    In other words you can forget about the stuff that marketers are trying to sell you all the time and focus solely on things that really matter to you.

    Fuck.. I want to go there and live there..

    And as for wanking.. I saw someone in a comment mention that that shit is not healthy and addictive.

    I decided to drop some links (not to my own website, don’t worry):

    1) http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/07/30/nobnom-no-booze-no-masturbating/

    2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

    3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRJ_QfP2mhU

    4) the whole http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/ thread

  3. George Chalhoub

    Please you need a medal. This is the sad truth and awful reality of this world. I am ashamed to live in this place.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2014 at 8:00 am

      It’s the world we live in today! Well some parts of the world

  4. Michael

    I thought that the article was very well written and informative. I don’t agree when people have said it has nothing or little to do with sales or internet marketing. Anyone here not guilty of the ‘shiny object’ syndrome when they first got online? This is it personified if I must say.

    I have just started following you Matt as your name kept coming up when I have been searching various SEO stuff and then someone in my private SEO group pointed me to your GSA review.

    Must say love this blog and your style and the comment regarding ‘Masterbation’ was just too funny!

    I hope your SEO tips are as good as your wit!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your kind words – let me know if you have any questions as you browse around!

  5. Matthew Woodward

    Where in Rica are you dude?

  6. Alex

    Nice that someone brought up the what dopamine could do, the only thing I would say is in order to mention is that the ending even if it was kind of funny is incorrect to the concept of the post. Not only will you break the “Focus On What Matters”, you could have done something productive but instead you wasted time touching yourself. The real problem is the dopamine hit wanking have, your body tells you succeeded and scored and will release huge amounts of dopamine even if you where totally unproductive, and after this post we all know this is bad. There are some serious downsides with wanking, just do some research, so don´t take that wank and you are one step closer to stop letting dopamine controlling you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 30th, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Thats a nice look at it – does that mean we should set up criteria to meet for a reward wank?

  7. alexran

    I like blogging, too. However, I am still questioning why I cannot attract many audience after using many tips to improve my blog. Sometimes I was disappointed and wanted to close my blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 29th, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Is the content you produce the very best content available on the web for the subject at hand?

  8. Patrick Williams

    Dear Matt,

    I found this article to be quite interesting. It is sad that in this day and age even after all of the research is done and published and provided to the masses we all still fall for it. The challenge is to recognize what is going on and actively pursue avenues to break the control. They key phrase being “actively pursue”.

    So, where do we go from here? As a internet entrepreneur I use the mentioned techniques for profit. So, does that make me a bad person? Or am I just getting through life the best I can knowing what I know?

    I tell people this stuff all of the time but noose seems to listen. And to be frank I dislike wasting time. So in general I let it be. Thank you for this guest post. Thank you for further confirming what I already know.


    Patrick Williams
    Internet Entrepreneur

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 30th, 2014 at 11:19 am


      Well thats the beauty of it – even when you know, its still a biological reaction that is difficult to control.

      I like to think we are just playing the game, we don’t set the rules ^^

  9. dgerryd

    Jesus don’t anyone dare ask Kem for a guest post. I had to actually come to see what I wrote made sense it was a bit late.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I have no idea what your on about ^^

  10. Shalu Sharma

    Very interesting article. Trickery is a part and parcel of marketing. Didn’t know dopamine was involved in it too. Makes you “think”.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 30th, 2014 at 11:24 am

      It does indeed :)

  11. Aub

    Hey Matt, Clark

    Yep, great post. Those that can’t see this are missing the fundamental reason why they are chasing $£$£ via IM – it’s for freedom, and this post is all about freedom at a more root level – a level which can free us from the other levels of enslavement to the capitalist/consumer system within ourselves.

    Most IMers, and especially wannabe IMers, are addicted to making money (or the idea of making – lots – of money) because they want what it can potentially give them – freedom from what they don’t want. They want some kind of freedom – to make choices they don’t feel they currently have.

    This post shows us how to achieve subtler and greater freedoms, so no matter how much money we have or do not have we can chose to live a life we love.

    Massive thanks for taking the punt on branching out Matt, and congrats on excellent research/knowledge Clark.

    More insightful, thoughtful, outside the box posts please


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Unfortunately a lot of people that live in a capitalist country can easily be manipulated with even just the hope or chance of money.

      But without those people, I wouldn’t be a marketer so :)

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Thanks Aub,

      Yes you get it!


  12. Dani

    Great article. I just woke up, checked my email, and saw an email from you with a link to this article. I was reading it while having my coffee in hand and at the very last line i saw “Just have a wank” :). Nothing better than to start the morning with a laugh!

    Well, now you’ve got to beat that joke with a better one in your next article :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Hahaha I’ll see what I can do :P

  13. Kem

    Count me in the “didn’t like it” crowd, and here is why:

    1. The numerous one-sentence paragraphs make it very difficult to read. Speaking strictly about the writing style, it looks and sounds unprofessional. Please give it a proper edit.

    2. Everything said here has been covered in a more nuanced and professional manner by writers, scientists, doctors, and even religious figures. Pretending to be a self-help guru among this crowd reminds me of those poor saps who think they can hit the front page of Google for the keyword “mortgage” by slapping together a few 500 word articles that they purchased off the Warrior forum. Your readers would have had a more high quality and informative experience if you had instead linked to books, articles, or blog posts written by people who have dedicated their lives to subject (and, perhaps more importantly, written by people capable of constructing paragraphs more than one sentence long).

    3. I come here for SEO tips, not self-help advice. I suspect I’m not the only one. From a marketing perspective, the content doesn’t fit the audience, and it’s especially jarring to see it from someone who is so big in this industry. If personal posts are going to become a trend here, please keep them contained to a personal blog section.

    tl;dr: Your standards are higher than this, Matt.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 10:27 am


      Thanks for your feedback!

      1) I did all the editing. I never have more than 2-3 sentences in a paragraph. I apply that rule to every single article on the blog – can I ask if it was just this article that peaked that annoyance or is a more general thing throughout?

      2) Yes it has, however my average reader isn’t going to hunt out scientific research papers. Nor does your average marketing blog cover a subject like this – there is a disconnect between the two worlds in the blogosphere. You have to present the content in a different way based on the audience.

      3) I disagree, the entire article explains the basis of the chemical reaction marketers hope to create. Understanding it helps to make you better as a marketer. I have thought about deliving into mindset on the blog, speaking to a lot of people I have realised that most peoples biggest enemy, is themselves and are often self defeating. The same with organisation, diet, exercise etc etc – all the element that contribute to success.

      One of the first sections in my $100 case study course is going to be purely focused on mindset and organisation so you probably won’t like that :) Or really any of the planning stage which is the first 4 weeks as it mostly psychology related.

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Yes Kem,

      Matt has to blame for the toned down language (LOL), but he has a point, it has to be tailored to the audience, so I agree with him here.

      Please ignore the language and pick up the messages; they ar valid and will improve you QOL as you strive for your goals.


  14. dgerryd

    Quality post lads and I’m not saying that just to be one of the gang kind of thing.

    I come here all the time reading your posts but this one for me was spoken with a real good perception of the real madness of the world today and the dumbing down of society with material shit.

    I have a feeling Matt this is a subject/topic you have a lot of research and interest in a hobby lets say, I maybe way off ?

    I think its funny how when you travel to other parts of the world where they are not disconnected from nature/life real natural ways of living the people there are so cheery and always smiling yet these are the places with nothing in common to modern society and seen as unlucky or to be pitied in some way. The wool thickens.

    The end of the post was a classic wasn’t expecting it all,classic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 10:32 am


      Well theres actually a few subjects at hand here that could each branch out into something more.

      Capialism/consumerism wouldn’t be a good focus, but looking at how to exploit that and the psychological changes that has breeded in society is probably a good subject to explore more.

      Yeah that’s very true and if I had never experienced it and live like that – I would still be drinking the capitalist juice with both hands.

  15. Jonathan

    Does anyone know how to turn off notifications of updates on this post…I dumbly selected the tick box on the comments section and now have received over 50 emails into my inbox…rather excessive!

    The only option appears to unsubscribe, which I do not want to do!


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 10:33 am


      I’ve been looking at a solution for that, tbh I thought I had fixed it will throw it back into the queue to look over.

      Sorry dude!

  16. Matthew Woodward


    I didn’t write it all kudos to Clark!

    I’m sure I’ll find myself in Mexico at some point :)

  17. Matthew Woodward

    I’m not fully against it – but its an abused system rather than a fair system. They need an algo update or something ^^

  18. thomas

    Matt, I loved the blog post that i read it 3 times because most people do not address such things. I like to you talk about a variety of topics which keeps me interested in your blog

    Good Job


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:05 am

      What other topics will help trigger a dopamine release?

  19. Alex

    I make a living selling $5 hugs man…I’m really offended.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:04 am

      It’s the American dream!

  20. Joe Sandy

    I liked it and found it valuable. I’m dealing with all that dopamine bs right now as i struggle thru learning seo. Late nights, early mornings and not justifying getting exercise because it “takes away from my learning to earn” time. Thanks for this. It’s a matter of fighting the good fight.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:04 am

      That depends if your doing it because you love doing it or if there is pressure to make money.

  21. Emanuel

    Something new. I like it :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:03 am


  22. Nick

    Excellent post, couldn’t have said it better myself. More quality articles like this please.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:03 am

      Thanks Nick will consider it!

  23. AnonymousIMer

    Hey Matt,

    I’m really thankful for this wonderful article.

    Some people will learn that there is more “behind the scenes”, and will actually start learning some psychological tricks in order to make their sales letters better.

    Some people will learn that today’s society is addicted to buying, eating, having sex, taking drugs. Movies, ads, songs and whatnot is making us like this. This is just disgusting.

    Some people like me will read this post twice and take notes for their own lifestyle. These people will also brainstorm to see how the psychological tricks ‘n cheats can make their business better.

    A truly wonderful article, the only thing that is missing is that Spirituality is one of the best ways to go. I know it’s more of a scientific article, however, I believe spiritual growth should be one of our main goals.

    I would love to learn more stuff like this. As long as you mix it with business – I’m sure there will be plenty of readers.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 28th, 2014 at 12:00 am


      How would you improve the article to make it appeal to everyone?

      Any links to explore that missing elements?

      • Matthew Woodward
        January 28th, 2014 at 10:15 am

        Thanks for the recommendation!

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:28 am


      Thanks for your comments, I am sure spirituality was mentioned in the article.


  24. Hazli Khalim

    I used to go to Matt’s blog when it comes to SEO and Affiliate Marketing. But not anymore…

    Matt, I think that your blog is great, but now I see that you recent blog posts are not SEO and affiliate related…


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      You realise that affiliate marketing is all about influencing others to take action, usually parting with their money right?

  25. Paul Giorkas


    I actually liked it…

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks Paul :)

  26. Jenny & Davin

    Hmm, well I’m afraid that I completely disagree Mark’s comment above.

    Personally, I thought the post had some very interesting content and helpful info.

    Coming from a background of writing pre-sales affiliate copy for clients, and a long history of studying people’s psychological hot buttons and triggers that can help influence a person’s buying decisions…I guess I’m just not sure how a person couldn’t have found some great merit in that post.

    After all…in the end, we are all in the “sales” game, are we not? Understanding your prospects from a psychological point of view will always play an important part in your conversions and success…

    All in all, a great post…thanx Clark and Matt

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:56 pm


      I’m wondering if it was because the theory/why wasn’t rooted to examples/hows.

  27. Laurie

    I kinda have to agree with Mark, I read your blog religiously and that post didn’t do much for me either.


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Can you expand a bit more on why?

      • Laurie
        January 28th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

        It just seemed really out of context. A post about the psychology behind a sale I can understand and it would fit it well. But a post about how dopamine is the root of all evil and everything that is wrong with our capitalist society and how we can overcome it with diet and exercise is well…trite. The wanking part was the best part of the whole thing…lol.

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 28th, 2014 at 11:11 pm

          I cant say I disagree with that! Will make sure future topics are more rooted and tied down to marketing.

  28. John

    Well I think that your bonus tip sums it up quite nicely.

    Also, if it wasn’t for that I’d be really depressed after reading this lol.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Thanks. I think =\

  29. M

    Yup, this is crap. “a life without wants may not require as much self-control, but it’s also a life not worth living. Really? Have a look at Buddhism.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Those guys take it to the extreme. I’m probably wrong but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them smile =\

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:23 am


      Balance is the key. That’s what the body strives for, i.e. homeostasis


  30. Jesse Aaron

    LOL. Classiest way to end an article haha

    Awesome piece Clark, your thoughts and suggestions were organized well. Time to start running on a regular basis :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Always finish big.

  31. Mqss

    I agree with this post completely. It’s absurd that (in my country at least) people work at their 9-17 jobs 2 days per month for a whole year just to have the latest smartphone. It’s a complete nonsense, brain controlling marketing at it’s best. Btw, can’t wait for Galaxy S5 to come out :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      I think that happens in more countries than it should =\

  32. Patrick

    There’s one big one you forgot: Meditation

    Becoming centered in the now (thoughtless) and ok. The more ‘thoughtless’ you are the more incredible you can feel just being here as you are.

    Also, Bikram is a form of ‘extreme’ yoga with amazing peace-inducing side effects.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:53 pm


      Would you suggest any further reading?

      • Patrick
        January 28th, 2014 at 4:58 am

        A New Earth and My Big Toe

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 28th, 2014 at 10:28 am

          Thanks thrown them in the reading list!

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Excellent point Patrick,

      I did forget meditation and what this does is that it lets you develop an awareness of when you are being ticked by temptation, subconsciously.

      I actually have a good exercise in my book about this and may share it with you in a further post.


  33. Andrew Guida


    I seriously laughed out loud when you said just “have a wank”!


    This post is truly valuable and a great read. I constantly think about this and try to find answers to why people work so hard every day for financial gain when, once that material possession is acquired/achieved then we just move onto the next one. (and bust our ass in the process, some more than others)

    I have a follow up question though, I think that a capitalist society is the closest thing a government has to creating a quality life and provide opportunity for most of the population.

    With that being said, people need to spend money on things and services so that everyone has a job at the end of the day. Isn’t is better that people spend money and work rather than sit around all day doing nothing, so that society progresses?

    Now, I do believe that there is a balance to the system that people need to realize. For example, how happy do people get when there is 1 day off for a holiday? I think that labor hours need to be shortened and more days off throughout the year need to be mandatory.

    In parts of Europe there is a 2 hour break period each day for families to get together and have lunch/relax. This is genius and I wish we had this in the U.S.

    What are your thoughts on this, Clark and Matt? How can people truly find something that makes them happy yet still makes people get up and work rather than be lazy all day.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      That ‘move on to the next one’ line of thought is really applied in the product launch industry where people or a group of people release ‘the next big thing’ in precisely timed releases throughout the year.

      Most of the time the people that buy get rich quick/make money online products – never even actually look at the product because they’ve already bought the next dream in their dopamine fuelled quest.

      I don’t know the solution, but it probably starts with a capitalist society where the government works for people and the people don’t work for the government.

      Following your passion with conviction helps as well :)

    • clark russell
      January 28th, 2014 at 11:17 am


      You raise some good points and as I said in the article there is no definitive solution; all you can do is let your wisdom and instincts lead you to the real things that make you happier, i.e. that give you real meaning.

      For example why do people do cocaine when you can get the same hit, but more controlled, at the gym or exercising? Because they want the hit without doing much (thats that instant gratification that Patrick was on about), but the cocaine burns out he dopamine receptors, where exercise maintains and enhances their balance and function.

      Hope this helps


  34. carl speed

    Thanks Clark & Matt – this is very interesting. I had heard about this concept but never really researched it, but now I can do so.

    PS Just had a good “wank” and feel better already – lol

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Don’t suppose that ended up in an assisted conversion for an affiliate sale?

  35. boylamn

    Thank you for sharing with us this great article.
    I liked the part that says : The “promise of reward” is so powerful that we continue to pursue things that don’t make us happy and consume things that bring us more misery than satisfaction.

    I personally believe that when a person comes to control his instincts, he will be a man who is successful and happy.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      Can you expand on that a bit more?

  36. Quinton

    Excellent post. I find that gamifying my work helps to keep me engaged and making progress. Somehow, I’ve convinced my brain that being able to have a secure, relaxed future and nice vacation in a few weeks is good enough to work for.

    you can only scratch the surface with a topic this big, but this post gives it a good scratch.

    The little bit by Matt on the end, though, meant I had to untweet it. Some of my few followers wouldn’t appreciate that. (Don’t worry, it never gave me a free .pdf, anyhow.) I understand your humor, but I can understand why others wouldn’t :p

    Your blog, your rules! :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Quinton,

      Gamifying your work, thats an interesting approach! Is that like a thing? It should be!

      Yeah I can see why not, but the truth is the truth :)

  37. Tom

    But Matt, don’t your activities on this blog, like trying to make as much money as possible (as seen in your income reports) as well as trying to teach others how to make money kind of contradict your anti-capitalist stance?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      Well I’m not entirely anti capitalist but seeing a culture not completely absorbed in it is refreshing and shows you what quality of life can really be.

      Plus I don’t try and make any money, I just have fun doing what I love. If I wanted to make a lot more, I wouldn’t be publishing tutorials for free thats for sure :)

  38. Chris

    I disagree with what Mark said, and found this article to be of great interest, as marketers its useful to look into the ‘what’ takes place in the buying cycle, understanding your target market, and the psychological processes are equally as important as all the work we do to sell to them, so well done to both Clark & Matt for putting together a well constructed, informative and fun to read article.

    Great Bonus tip btw Matt, I just need to get my wife’s Dopamine levels up enough to do it for me ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Hahaha any tips for the rest of the audience Chris? ^^

  39. Abdul

    Not dross at all.

    As a long time student of nutrition and the vital role played by good nutrients in brain function, I can see perfectly how the guest post fits into a marketing blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Funny in my upcoming $100 case study challenge I was going to do a section of health/nutrition/exercise and the positive effects it can have when building a business.

      • Emiel
        January 29th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

        Matthew, also include a part on the effects of (to much) coffee in your upcoming case study.

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 30th, 2014 at 11:08 am

          I don’t really drink it but I know the problems it creates. Do you really think that kind of thing is important to include in the case study (health/diet/mindset etc)

  40. Mike Power

    Just have a wank. Ha ha. Cost effective? Free, surely? :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Thats as cost effective as it gets!

  41. Mark

    Really disappointed, this is a quality blog Matt, why spoil it with dross like this.

    Looking forward to *your* next post sir!


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      What didn’t you like about it?

      • Jonathan
        January 27th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

        I think he didn’t like the comment regarding self stimulation.

        I on the other hand found it comical and have used this method several times in my distant past to go out without a ‘loaded gun’. The evenings were a lot more relaxed and there was no pressure to attract the opposite sex.


        • Matthew Woodward
          January 28th, 2014 at 12:02 am

          You should start a sex tips blog.

          • GODOVERYOU
            February 2nd, 2014 at 12:49 am

            Gotta be sending people into my niches huh? I’m just pulling your leg.

          • Matthew Woodward
            February 2nd, 2014 at 7:17 pm

            I bet you have tips for pulling something else

      • Patrick
        January 27th, 2014 at 9:58 pm

        This type of article would be better received by marketers if you talked about how to exploit the ‘instant gratification’ consumerist society.

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 28th, 2014 at 12:03 am

          Are you offering a follow up guest post?

        • clark russell
          January 28th, 2014 at 11:06 am


          Yes I was actually going to mention the instant gratification concept to Matthew as a next blog article; they sort of align with each other.

      • Anony
        January 28th, 2014 at 2:39 am

        The post says you’re 48 :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 28th, 2014 at 10:28 am

          Then you didn’t read the post ^^

    • Mike Lucas
      January 28th, 2014 at 7:55 am

      Cool Matt, That really made me laugh I wasn’t expecting it.
      That laugh has set me up for the day. Great guest post too !!


      • Matthew Woodward
        January 28th, 2014 at 10:19 am

        Cheers Mike!

    • Emeka Madusha
      January 28th, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Mark, this is dross? Really? Fuck it.. we are all lost..if a human being can call this post dross . .

      Thanks matt for this post..exactly what i needed to read this morning.

      • Matthew Woodward
        January 28th, 2014 at 10:18 am

        Thanks Emeka!

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