Leadership

High serotonin/low octopamine characterizes the victor

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The poor and stressed always die first, and in greater numbers. They are also much more susceptible to non-infectious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. When the aristocracy catches a cold, as it is said, the working class dies of pneumonia.
High serotonin/low octopamine characterizes the victor.
Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function.

Serotonin — More Than A Happy Hormone

For most of us, we think of serotonin as the key neurotransmitter associated with mood and sense of well-being. We’ve all been bombarded by enough antidepressant commercials over the years to be aware of the link between serotonin and happiness and how a lack of this vital neurotransmitter can lead to feelings of depression.

And while serotonin is a key regulator of mood, that’s not all the important neurotransmitter has to offer. It also impacts hunger, digestion, social behavior, and sexual desire, too.You see, serotonin isn’t just about how you feel or perceive things. It goes much deeper than that.

Rather than thinking of serotonin as a pure mood molecule, think of it more as the “confidence” or “Yes, I can” neurotransmitter. With higher levels of serotonin you feel safe and validated to act on your decisions and impulses.

You get a rush of serotonin when you feel that you (and your opinion) are respected. These feelings of confidence and safety give you more emotional strength and resilience. It enables you to easily push through the ups and downs of business. You feel more goal-oriented and better able to delegate to others.


The opposite neurochemical configuration, a high ratio of octopamine to serotonin, produces a defeated-looking, scrunched-up, inhibited, drooping, skulking sort of lobster, very likely to hang around street corners, and to vanish at the first hint of trouble.

Sometimes it is known as the Matthew Principle (Matthew 25:29), derived from what might be the harshest statement ever attributed to Christ: “to those who have everything, more will be given; from those who have nothing, everything will be taken.”

Even the most brutal chimp despot can be taken down, after all, by two opponents, each three-quarters as mean. In consequence, males who stay on top longer are those who form reciprocal coalitions with their lower-status compatriots, and who pay careful attention to the troupe’s females and their infants. The political ploy of baby-kissing is literally millions of years old.

The dominant male, with his upright and confident posture, not only gets the prime real estate and easiest access to the best hunting grounds. He also gets all the girls. It is exponentially more worthwhile to be successful, if you are a lobster, and male.

We (the sovereign we, the we that has been around since the beginning of life) have lived in a dominance hierarchy for a long, long time. We were struggling for position before we had skin, or hands, or lungs, or bones. There is little more natural than culture. Dominance hierarchies are older than trees.

The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the dominance hierarchy is therefore exceptionally ancient and fundamental. It is a master control system, modulating our perceptions, values, emotions, thoughts and actions. It powerfully affects every aspect of our Being, conscious and unconscious alike. This is why, when we are defeated, we act very much like lobsters who have lost a fight.