Dr. Loretta Breuning is Founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin. She’s Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay. As a teacher and mom, she was not convinced by prevailing theories of human motivation. Then she learned about the brain chemistry we share with earlier mammals, and everything made sense. So she began creating resources to help people manage their inner mammal.
What do I do best?
I focus on things I can control. I focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t do.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Thinking for myself instead of just believing what everyone says. I don’t just do the opposite of everyone; I listen and evaluate. I don’t let people guilt me by invoking the greater good because I can see their obvious self-interest. When I seem to be going in a different direction from everyone else, I have learned to accept it instead of over-analyzing it. You can’t always predict the long run so I focus on living with myself in the short run.
What are my aspirations?
I would like to change the way people think about mental health. I do not agree with the denial of free will that is so widely embraced in recent years. The belief that we are not responsible for our life experience is not healthy or not helpful in my opinion. I think people need more tools for adjusting their impulses rather than a mindset that says we’re not responsible for our impulses.
My Biggest Success?
The Inner Mammal Institute (InnerMammalInstitute.org)
My Most Challenging Moment?
I have quit a number of jobs. A big number. Once I walked home all the way from Wall Street to Midtown after quitting, telling myself over and over that I do not need to live for my resume. I had no support because everyone else was living for their resume. I am not advocating that people quit their jobs. Definitely not. I wish I were better at tolerating the herd. But I have at least been realistic about the costs and benefits. And I always supported myself – I never lived on other people’s money.
"It’s not easy being mammal…
If you filled a room with people who said they don’t care about status, they would soon form a hierarchy based on how much they say they don’t care. That’s what mammals do.”
from my book:
I, Mammal: How to Make Peace With the Animal Urge for Social Power
My Favorite People/Role Models?
(Tell us your favorite people and/or role models, both business and personal)
David Attenborough: His nature videos tell the truth about the competitiveness among animals. After watching his work for years, I finally realized that he is not just a talking head. He pioneered the technology and the expeditions that made our knowledge of animal behavior possible. At great risk to himself – so I am very grateful to him.
Robert Ardrey: He wrote about animal social behavior in the 1960s, and acknowledged the unpopular truth that animals are not nice to each other. I got interested in how he managed doing the unpopular thing. I visited his personal papers in libraries around the country. I discovered that he is human, and he suffered, and it helps me not to judge myself.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I have always been a travel maniac. Mostly interested in seeing famous places I’ve always heard of. I especially love the homes of famous people- for example, Charles Darwin’s home is open to the public! Alexander Hamilton’s home. Monet’s home. You can walk the trail that Beethoven walked when he was composing in his head. I have always been excited to see a place for the first time and not really interested in going back to any one place. But now I have been almost everywhere, so I had to adjust my focus. I now stalking tropical flowers in botanic gardens around the world.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Pages for MAC:
All my self-published were books were composed on it, thanks to Apple support.
It’s hard to say which supplements work but I have taken this for years – at first due to joint stiffness from tennis - and I really think it works.
I am listening whenver I exercise, drive, or do housework. It increases my input enormously, and protects me from the news.
My Current Passions?
I love to hear from people who have read my books, and always reply.
I am planning a new series of short books because there are so many topics I want to write about.
I am passionate about free will. It seems to have gone out of style. I am writing more to help people embrace and celebrate their free will.