Dopamine: The secret sauce behind Toppers’ Success

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Dopamine: The secret sauce behind Toppers’ Success

When given an option to pick up between a book and mobile, most of us would pick up the Mobile phone. Why is almost everybody interested in Mobile although we all know the book is good for us? The reason is a hormone called Dopamine. Dopamine is also called the happy hormone and is released whenever we do any pleasurable activity.

Picking up mobile gives us happiness and hence leads to the release of Dopamine. In some activities, more dopamine is released while in others low dopamine is released.

Compared to using Mobiles, reading book is a boring and low dopamine activity. That is why we easily get distracted from our studies and get addicted to phones, Netflix, and social sites. Also, activities that involve uncertainty like games, suddenly social media messages, gambling lead to high release of Dopamine. In nutshell, we are always trying to find temporary happiness and excitement.

Let us take the help of a scientific experiment to understand the effects of Dopamine on learning

In a study, researchers tested mice and injected them with dopamine to determine how big of a factor this special chemical is in learning. They used a group of dopamine-deficient mice and injected half of them with dopamine and half with nothing, before having them perform a series of tasks. As you might have guessed, the group injected with dopamine succeeded in learning the task with flying colors, but the second group showed a different result. The dopamine deficient group was able to learn the task but only after several tries and with much lower performance rates than the group injected with dopamine. The analysis concluded that learning when dopamine is not present inhibits comprehension due to the lack of motivation and memory.

When we examine the results from the mice study, we can draw 2 important conclusions:

First, when dopamine is not present during the learning process, a person’s performance will suffer due to the lack of motivation (ie. engagement). And second, because dopamine is linked to memory, it triggers the brain to remember the action/material (ie. retention).

So the release of Dopamine = Higher Engagement + Higher Retention

Or in other words, dopamine increases Alertness, Focus, Motivation, Happiness and can help us in our studies.


While preparing for competitive exams many students try to cut off from pleasurable activities like using mobile, binging TV, and playing games but they fail to realize that irrespective of source, Dopamine is important. Without it, you can suffer from anxiety, stress, and depression while the excess of it can cause delusions, hallucinations, and other disorders.

Also at the same time regularly doing high Dopamine activities makes you habitual and boring. In the beginning, you use a cellphone for less time but after some time, you urge for more time with a cellphone, and with every additional hour you are moving away from your goals.

To summarise, mind ko maje ki addat padh chuki hai. You might have heard students saying life is boring. We cannot sit idle for even 10 minutes- we pick up our phone. The mind wants immediate happiness without effort.

So the trick is to control the mind and gradually reduce activities that do not take you close to your Goals. Develop control and move out of your comfort zone and start putting efforts into reaching a stage where you can get high dopamine through studies.

Some of the study activities where high Dopamine is released are as follows

  • When you can solve the question without external help. Reward motivated behavior– Dopamine will be released.
  • Reward mechanism – When you pre-read the topic and can answer questions that no one else can, dopamine is released in your body.
  • When you complete your studies according to your plan, you feel happy at the end of the day. Nobody feels happy at EOD if they have wasted your time.
  • Good marks in the test is a high dopamine activity.
  • At times eating tasty food can release dopamine.
  • Listening to Music/ watching motivational videos/ walking/ jogging are also considered dopamine releasing activities.

How do Toppers get Dopamine?

Make your Goals/ selection your passion -So chasing a goal even after a lot of hardships give satisfaction to some people.-Toppers do that.

While preparing, in the initial stages you don’t see the results even then also you have to love the process/ struggle. Once you develop that kind of attitude or get into that mindset and start enjoying your studies that are when you take your preparation to next level. For that you can;

  • Watch videos of your Dream campus (hostel life, beautiful campus, best faculty, amazing festivals)
  • Exaggerate your Josh/ Janoon/ Jajba(3J). Get out of your comfort zone and target to take your preparation to next level. After some time you will become addicted to that mindset and hence lead to the release of Dopamine.

Remember the brain is a highly receptive organ and thousands of new neuron connections are made and broken every day. So it is not only a motivational concept but a scientific concept that once you get into that loop of passion, your preparation moves from one level to another.

Get rid of Fear (Face Everything and Rise):

  • Look at the positive side of Fear and see it as a positive emotion. Fear is your biggest well wisher, it gives you a warning signal in advance. Then it is up to you how you deal with your problem.
  • You often notice warnings given by FEAR but tend to ignore its Guidance. Never overlook or ignore your fears.
  • Enjoy the preparation rather than worrying too much about the result.
  • Remember Dar ke Aage jeet hai.

So we realize that Dopamine is important otherwise everything will become boring and conclude that we have 2 set of activities which helps in the release of Dopamine;

  • One which takes us close to our Goals- Good
  • One which takes us away from our Goal.- Bad

So we have to develop control and practice Good Dopamine activities and reduce (not remove) bad dopamine activities. Infact, we can keep bad dopamine activities as a reward after doing good Dopamine activities.

While talking to you my Dopamine levels have gone high. I am sure your dopamine levels will also go high while you implement what we have discussed today.

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