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The Dopamine Effect

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 3.49.06 PMTravelling the extent that I do, means I spend plenty of time in airports. The day of writing this Blog was a huge day – 18+ hours, door to door. Times like this allow a guy to ponder and think. What am I planning to do this weekend? What’s on the other side of a black hole? Will Trump be good or bad for America? And there’s always one topic I think lots about and I’ve now come to a conclusion. You could say I had a light bulb moment.

We all love talking about property and property investing in a social environment. I can’t remember the last time I was at a BBQ and property investing wasn’t a hot topic. That said, I guess being a Professional Investor and a Buyer’s Agent apparently gives everyone the green light to ask me what they want to. Yes, you know who you are! A bit like when a doctor is at a party and someone always has a little side chat and says “Hey Doc, I’ve got this rash, what do you think it is?”

As Australians, why do we talk about property all the time? Basically, because we like it and this topic makes us feel good. But why does it make us feel good? Yeah, we’re about to get deep.

For those who don’t know, dopamine is a chemical released in your brain by neurons to send signals to other brain cells. In English, it is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains reward and pleasure center. Some triggers for dopamine release in your brain are sugars and alcohol, and drug addicts also get their high from the dopamine hit. Unknowingly, your body is highly addicted to the effects that it gives you.

It’s one of the reasons you feel so much better, so quickly, when you have your 3pm sugar fix to get you through your day. And again, when you start to feel relaxed after a few drinks.

So what’s this got to do with property? Well, for some time I have been doing a little experiment on human behavior at social functions and BBQ’s.

Now I’m no neurosurgeon (my office is going to love that statement) but when the topic of conversation changes from one topic to property investing, everybody seems to relax and their entire demeanour changes. They become very entrenched in the conversation, participate and have comments on their beliefs and success stories that they have either achieved themselves, or that friends of theirs have achieved. And it’s what I like to call the ‘Dopamine Affect.’

This could also explain why people get the ‘property bug’ – the thought of making lots of money can become addictive for some. Whether you do actually make money or not, the thought of owning a property portfolio is the trigger to release the dopamine in your brain to make you feel great and motivated.

And maybe this is the reason many investors plunge in deep, very quickly, before doing considerable research themselves on where they invest or who they use to help them achieve their dreams? The good feeling addiction kicks in and takes over. And this may also explain why some investors feel the ‘lows’ when they fail. The negative effects when their rash, bad decisions become a reality.

I speak with investors regularly who want to buy 6 properties within six months so they don’t miss the market. My advice, take it slower, there are always deals out there. Slow and steady wins the race.

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