Pleasure and reward
When we think of visionary leaders, we usually appropriate to them such qualities as intelligence, creativity, wisdom, charisma, the drive to succeed, innovation, and a willingness to challenge existing theories. But the psychological profile of many leaders shows that they are mainly addicted to taking risks.
This writes The New York Times. Express.be translated. Visionary leaders are people with an irresistible urge to achieve the unachieved. In other words, what we want to find in leaders are often the same personality traits that we see in addicts, whether they are alcohol, drug, or sex addicts.
Pleasure and reward
To understand this, we need to look at the brain, mainly the brain functions that stimulate pleasure and reward. Pleasure is one of the greatest motivators of the learning process: if we had not experienced a particular reward after eating, drinking, and having sex, we would not have survived. This is where the production of dopamine is central. The brain also produces dopamine after ingesting psychoactive substances such as cocaine, heroin, nicotine, or alcohol. The pleasure circuit is also stimulated when we hunt for unpredictable rewards; while the roulette is still spinning or the horses are still running, the pleasure center is already activated, even if we win nothing. In this way we find pleasure and reward in uncertainty.
More, more, more
One theory is that addicts experience that pleasure unusually intensely, motivating them to seek equivalent but increasingly intense experiences. However, human and animal brain scans prove the opposite: addicts need more and more pleasure, but their knowledge of pleasure is diminishing. Only now are we beginning to understand the biology behind this? Crucially, genetic variants that suppress the dopamine signal in the pleasure circuit mean that its wearers must reach a higher level of stimulus to experience the same level of pleasure that others can achieve with less indulgence. Many leaders are successful because of this: the characteristics that make them addicts are the characteristics that make them so successful.
About the author
Based in Odesa, Ukraine, Anastasiia Shtankova is a trilingual (English, Russian, Ukrainian) graduate of the Sukhomlinsky Mykolayiv National University. For as long as she can remember, Nastya has had a passion for writing. As the content manager for Finance4Learning, she manages to combine business with the pleasure of writing. She is responsible for generating, curating and marketing content relevant to the company’s target audiences.
Finance4Learning is a Benelux-based provider of student finance helping individuals realise ambitions and educators drive sales. Finance4Learning typically finances students following upskilling or reskilling courses in e.g. Business Analytics, CyberSecurity, Data Science, Digital Marketing, Growth Hacking, Leadership, UX/UI Design and Web Development. Courses are often provided in a bootcamp format. Finance4Learning is backed by two very reputable organisations - Banco Santander (no. 4 in the world) and the European Investment Fund - and provides access to a €50 million learning & development fund on an exclusive basis.