The Dopamine Drive – the Crusader HealthType Hormone

How to understand the thought patterns & behaviours of a person, based on the dominant hormone of their HealthType.

Natalie Howard Natalie Howard
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In this series I am exploring the behavioural impacts of the dominant hormone of each HealthType (Personalised Communication & Behaviour is my coaching speciality.)

Firstly, it is important to note that we all have all the hormones that will be discussed (and many others). Their levels are unique to us and our particular context (our epigenetic expression.) The trend of each HealthType is to be the most receptive to a particular hormone, meaning the person requires a higher baseline and consistent turnover of that hormone in order to be in their healthiest state. This is why what is “normal” or “natural” is so different for each of us – we each require a unique balance. Understanding why this is the case from a hormonal level, helps us to understand why our behaviours, thoughts, feelings and needs express the way they do.

In this article I am exploring the dopamine drive of the Crusader. (For Connectors & Oxytocin click here, Guardians & Prolactin here, Diplomats & Serotonin here.)

Out of respect for all Crusaders reading this, I have broken this article into two parts. Part 1 is the key point summary for you. Part 2 is an elaboration for those wanting more discussion and explanation (most other HealthTypes.)

Part 1: Key Points


  • Neurotransmitter 
  • Released upon achievement of a goal, so it focuses attention on continued work towards future objectives.
  • Released in a relatively short lived immediate “hit.” It cycles through the system relatively rapidly, driving us to continue →  Do it again.
  • Tolerance can be built up, especially if cycles are short, without pauses for integration – the “bigger, better, faster, more” loop.
  • Key neurotransmitter in addictive cycles, as it taps into reward seeking behaviours by releasing pleasure through gain. The pleasure is the motivation to continue & repeat.


Behavioural Impacts

  • Systematic and repetitive behaviour loops – what worked to get the reward is repeated. This can create self-confirming beliefs & perspectives, being resistant to competing data – “my way works.”
  • Very high expectations – bigger, better, faster, more. This is an intrinsic drive, but if there is an underlying dissatisfaction with their own performance, or an inability to accept the limitations of the current reality, this can be expressed as high pressure expectations on others.
  • Overestimation of own abilities – the hit of dopamine motivates repetition – creating the “I can go all day and all night without stopping” pattern.
  • Risk of exhaustion & burnout from pushing too hard too long. This can look like a build up of stress – too many commitments and not enough outcomes, which can amplify intolerance and rigidity.


Pointers for Personal Balance

  • Other HealthTypes can find the Crusader drive “too much” – especially if they feel unseen, unheard or pushed too far.
  • The Crusader must implement systems for stopping – primarily for self mastery, as it allows for integration (not just endless but low grade ‘quick hits’ of dopamine). This leads to enhanced performance.
  • Build stamina & endurance between ‘hits’ of reward as a way of delaying gratification and returning to the present for a grounded assessment of current conditions. 
  • Physical exercise – including flexibility training – is key for achieving this self command of mind & body.
  • Stopping helps others, which helps you. They receive the time, attention, connection or support they want from you, then they are no longer an obstacle to your continued progress. It’s efficient.
  • Systematise everything – work, exercise, nutrition, sleep, self-connection, social / intimate connection. If you structure it all in, it all gets done.


Part 2: Discussion

The Dopamine Effect

Dopamine focuses attention on the achievement of goals, because it is the reward for achievement. The Crusader will establish a system and strategy for achievement, so that only what is relevant is focused on, for maximum efficiency. They can then become rigid in their system and strategy of how things work and what is relevant and purposeful for the goal. Information that does not reinforce or support the system is discredited. It is irrelevant, an impediment, or a distraction from the achievement of the goal. No achievement = no dopamine. 

Dopamine says “I can go all day and all night – forever.” If given the reigns, it will try to do this, building up a tolerance, creating a continual need for “bigger, better, faster” each time – until exhaustion. This is why there must be pauses. The body needs time for dopamine to subside in order for other hormones to have a turn, for rest, recovery and integration. It is an intolerant hormone, eyes fixed on the prize. So anything in the way is an impediment that needs to be removed or overcome (eg. other perspectives, tasks, people etc.) If this drive is applied in the pursuit of a mission, the outcomes are incredible. Crusaders get the job done. Exceptionally. If these principles are applied to all areas of life, it can be detrimental. 


The Experience of Emotions

The default mechanism for Crusaders with emotions is to just deal with them. It’s like the digestive process. Your body sends a signal, you execute the task required to address the need. Job done. Move on. Because of their neurobiology, Crusaders don’t really experience a build up of emotions like most other HealthTypes do – they don’t tend to contribute efficiently to the achievement of outcomes. A Crusader can get a build up of stress if they have too many (or not enough) commitments / expectations without not enough outcomes being achieved. When stress or tension builds, they go run, workout, meditate, create or solve something. That clears their head, and they’re all good to go again (they may chase less healthy “quick fix” outlets if they are out of balance.) But there’s no need for a big outpouring of any kind. They’re not “hiding” or “denying” their emotions, “putting on a fake mask” or being “too inhuman.” They are being thoroughly human, in the way that is them.

Most Crusaders go through a process to learn that other people and their emotional needs, for example, are not always just mild  impediments to “just deal with” like they do. Most of the other HealthTypes don’t respond well to their emotions being treated as a distraction, or a problem to be “fixed” so it “goes away.” They can feel like the Crusader is being cold and “unfeeling.”

And this is the balance. Being “human” for a Crusader is to be logically detached from emotions, drama and expressiveness. They still feel, express and connect – but they do it from a place of detachment. Their perspective is fixed on the bigger picture of the evolution and progress of the whole. So even if someone is “breaking down” emotionally, which may feel like the end of the world for that person, the Crusader sees that it isn’t. The emotions are temporary. The experience is subject to the one experiencing it. It is not their role to join them in that drama. This is the balanced Crusader. An imbalanced Crusader will want to control the emotions to “get them out of the way,” and therefore the person expressing them, so they can get on with what they were doing. But it’s coming from a different way of seeing the world – the bigger picture of where we are all going and how to get there, not what is just happening briefly right now, like a feeling.


Affirmation of Achievement 

The combination of high mental and physical performance potential makes the Crusader exceptionally achieving. And they tend to know it. They don’t need people reflecting that back to them with excessive displays, which can be quite tedious and detracting. Having people follow and respect them is the affirmation they need. This is because they literally run off self-affirmation, through the continual reward of dopamine which says “Yes, good job, keep going.” So, Crusaders are effective at learning the systems by which they can get more of it – praise, respect, followers. By doing what they’re good at in high mental or physical performance, or both, people are amazed, and they get a double hit of reward, from internal & external affirmation.

This is why when a Crusader taps into this power they are unstoppable. Opportunities for leadership, to direct and assert authority, to amplify the achievement of outcomes, all expands the impact of their dopamine. From an imbalanced state, this can express as dictatorial behaviours, even dominating behaviours of asserting authority over others. But from a balanced state, it is the assertion of authority in the service of progress.

But, we must remember – the hormone just wants to express. And this is a hormone that particularly says “more more more.” If it is not being released through the achievement and pursuit towards a mission – it will find another way to be released.


Fulfilment of Purpose

When a Crusader aligns their purpose, their mission, with something outside of them, something of true genuine service, they are incredible. All that epic, unstoppable energy that strives towards infinite improvement is directed towards a greater good, rather than just directed inwards for self-fulfilment. And in doing so, therein lies the ultimate self-fulfilment. It’s flipping the biological drive for self-satisfaction and reward towards outcomes that serve the collective good. It doesn’t need to be in a touchy feely way. It probably won’t be for a Crusader. It will be regimented, planned, carefully executed, assertively driven, uncompromisingly strived towards. 

Rather than being a charging horse, whipped into a conditioned frenzy in a contrived race, with artificial blinkers crammed over its eyes – it is a majestic horse on the field, stately and strong, alert eyes taking in everything around it, leading the charge with an assertive and unwavering command.


So, when you see a horse, use common sense…

Don’t get in front when they’re galloping. Step off the path. Let them through. 

Don’t challenge them by marching up head on. Approach from the side, calmly and confidently, but gently, and above all, respectfully. 

Admire them. Let them know you acknowledge how majestic they are.

Bring them water, but no, don’t expect them to drink when you say they should, and don’t expect a ‘thank you’ when you think they should give you one. They will drink, and give thanks, when they’re ready. And then they will – always – keep going. 

Let them go. Let them run free.


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