Pizza Pandemonium & Serotonin Sam

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BLOKES and BABES for Workplace Well-being:

A customer crowd of 40 was predicted, then revised to 200. It all raised the specter of swarms jammed into the little Greedy Spoon Diner.

Determined to open the first day of his massive new pizza oven celebration,  Sam Serotonin, spotted the mob, hired an additional  crew of ten intelligent looking college freshmen from fast growing lines outside, and hoped for the best.

“All you can eat,” Sam promised the excited masses. “We just added the best pizza in town to the menu.”

The Greedy Spoon jumped at an opportunity to buy an oven that filled half its floor space, because recession prices at one-third off seemed too good to pass up, so Sam grabbed the deal.

As the line mushroomed into 150 or more, Sam handed balloons to teens, welcome stickers to the kids, and 10-percent-off coupons to well-wishing adults.

Bring on the Blokes and Babes

“It’s easy as pie to run this pizza oven,” Sam told new hires as they tied on aprons and coiled thick black elastics around flopping gobs of unruly hair.

“Watch me fire ‘er up!” he teased, “Almost runs herself.”  Good thing too, because the 10 newbies looked enthusiastic enough to drive the thing off to a race, once released into the Greedy Spoon mayhem.

By the time Sam made his way back to the door, the horde had swelled again to double its size, and  moods swayed from rowdy to raucous. Jake, one of the 10 regulars was threatening to quit if he didn’t get a “decent raise for this mess.” He complained that he wouldn’t even have come in on his day off, had he been told about the confusion.

“We usually open up to 2 or 3 stragglers on a lucky morning,” he whispered to Sam.

“Hey, we’ll make sure you’re compensated,” Sam patted his back, which appeared to work at least for the moment.

The other nine regulars looked as if civil war had hit, which struck Sam as funny, alongside new hires who stood brave as  General Custer, as if to cry, “Bring on the Natives, we’re ready.”

Natives must have heard primal calls to come out too, because no sooner did Sam seat 150 plus, another 200 or so pressed against the glass doors waiting to get to the pizza pandemonium.

With amazing calm, Sam moved between welcoming throngs outside, to helping the freshman-converted-waiters slow it down and concentrate on serving one patron at a time. No easy task, considering the full week of shadowing new hires did alongside well established waiters at Greedy Spoon. Today’s target suddenly became more to survive the rabble, than to ensure they captured Sam’s “customer first” motto for the diner.

Confusion ruled from every angle, with Sam the only calm body to be found, and people’s prediction that his optimism too would likely be trampled by the fast gathering herd.

Pizza Explosion

“Help – the pizzas just caught fire,” one newbie yelled, and Mark dropped everything he was carrying trying to get past running children to help. Before many patrons saw smoke, the fire was doused, and along with it, every pizza in the stove ruined.

“Sean, please dash over to the Health or Happiness shop and grab 25 more chairs, Sam said. “Tell ‘em we’ll send pizza over for lunch.”  Who was he kidding?

Running out the door, Sean bumped into another newbie and slopped a wave of Chicken Gumbo Soup on the floor. Within seconds a racing regular went down in the greasy sludge like he’d just missed landing a triple loop in US open skating competitions. Somehow a pathway opened between crowded tables and Jake’s flying arms and legs splayed as he came to a sharp stop against the church choir director’s table.

Increasingly people who’d started out with “Bravo,” and shouted, “Congratulations,” initially, now showed simmering impatience. A few were downright furious, like the mayor who was told his pizza blew up when the oven overheated, so a chicken dinner might be a better idea.  “Did you just say the pizza exploded?” the mayor grumbled loud enough for Sam to hear the horror story. A newbie cranked up the oven to rush new pizza orders after the fire destroyed the originals.

Sam couldn’t blame his customers for the pizza bedlam, but neither could he enrage his waiters because they were all he had to feed fast growing multitudes.

Just before the raised flames led to a explosion, half raw pizzas were served from the damp oven, and soon after plates were coming back in protest faster than they were going out to patrons. And that’s not all.

Recycled Dinner?

Sam happened to be passing one table as he made his way with apologies and pleas for patience, where a distinguished looking businessman looked into the sea of faces half dazed – with his knife and fork in the air as if frozen in a time warp. Sam cocked his head to wait for an explanation, and was sorry he did so.

“I ate a potato off that plate,” the man said in shock.

Seemed that Herbie, another newbie served the man somebody else’s chicken dinner, and after he’d bitten into one of the oven roasted potatoes, the chicken platter was quickly snatched from in front of him with Chantel’s passing apology.   Chantel quickly handed the retrieved platter to a waiting woman who threatened to sue the diner for false advertising, and pointed to a sign overhead that read: “FOOD IN TEN MINUTES OR MONEY BACK. Apologies were handed to the man who’d been served too fast, and the waiting woman, yet nobody took time to address the half eaten potato which left the business man sitting stunned and in a mime position with his utensils poised to spear any passing plate.

A waiter promised the man he’d get the next order regardless of who it belonged to, and everybody steered clear of the woman who munched on a partially completed dinner, as if she’d landed into a winner’s circle. Balloons began to pop when kids grew bored waiting in the now heated diner. Welcome stickers lined the entrance, where people packed into space enough for a third of the crowd that came. And Sam caught people writing notes on the coupon for 10% off the next meal, but couldn’t tell if they were reminding themselves to give Greedy Spoon another chance, or writing evidence of the pizza fiasco to hand their lawyers.

The newspaper just called to see if you want to run the ad again tomorrow, an anxious looking waitress asked Sam.

“Sure, hey – let’s go for it,” Sam shot back. “We’ll come up with a better plan to organize for a larger crowd, tonight after closing.”

“Think we can pull it off?” she smiled back, and gave her favorite boss a high five.

Looking at Brain Facts: Serotonin Impacts the Workplace:

Sam Serotonin is a bit like watching a miracle drug at work, when situations blow up, he tends to create calm.   At times called a molecule of happiness, serotonin is far more than that in any workplace.  When even one person engages its power, others benefit from its punch.
Sam’s mental chemicals often add focus and higher problem solving skills to transform any ordinary day. How so?

  • On the golf course, Sam gets finer hits to the green.
  • In relationships, he scores more allies.
  • When sleeping, Sam enters better rest.
  • In leadership, Sam attracts more support.
  • At work, he offers innovation solutions.

Interestingly, recent research shows serotonin as more of a choice than once thought. It’s also true that Sam comes with mixed levels, and that workplace events over any day can raise or lower his natural serotonin supplies.
Lesser known, however, is the fact that serotonin and other natural drugs are more a fuel choice. Calm is far less dependent on daily events that go well, and stress does not overtake Sam, simply because the chips are down. That’s not surprising if you observe Sam’s daily laughter or the way he cares.  Because of higher serotonin levels he’s able to give or lead well, in spite of tough times. Sam learns to access serotonin in good and bad times.


Here are a few power punch enablers that serotonin offers Sam:

  1. He possess naturally about 5 to 10 mg of the chemical as a human.
  2. Serotonin is 90% within Sam’s intestines.
  3. The hormone’s additional 10% surges through Sam’s blood and brain.
  4. Serotonin’s neurotransmitter roles regulate Sam’s: sleep; memory; appetite; learning; cardiovascular functions; moods; muscle contraction; temperature.
  5. Sam increases serotonin through foods such as milk, plums, pineapples, turkey, and bananas, as they add amino acid called tryptophan for manufacturing natural serotonin.
  6. Neurons in the brain release Sam’s serotonin, and the levels of release impact many of his workplace behaviors.
  7. Low serotonin levels can cause Sam anxiety, fear, self-pity, insomnia, stress, and depression.
  8. Certain drugs, such as Prozac, and even LSD will mimic serotonin in Sam’s brain.

Brainpower will increase when Sam raises his serotonin levels in natural ways, and without drugs – simply by choosing to do so. Can you see why serotonin is deemed his brain’s miracle drug.
There’s more good news yet for Sam. Each time he chooses to raise his serotonin levels, he literally rewires his brain’s plasticity to cultivate more brain benefits on a regular basis. Sound like a winning deal for Sam? If so, how will you raise your own and fellow worker’s serotonin today?
Few people would refuse tangible offerings for higher brainpower, yet far fewer see themselves as Sam does – building brainpower through serotonin taps given to others. How so?

Check out Sam’s common serotonin brain builders below and then add one or two to your circle in the coming week. Do stop back to tell us brainpower benefits you noticed.

1. To Sam, the golfer, a serotonin tap may be a small bag of nuts with a few yogurt covered peanuts tossed in,  and given to fellow golfers on the 1st tee. Ask at the 9th hole – how your serotonin tap impacted scores for the game. Nuts turbo charge Sam’s golfing brainpower.

2. To cranky leaders, Sam’s serotonin tap may be simply a smile and a few encouraging words. Each time he emulates good tone tools, he helps others to rewire mentally for more of the same. Sam moves tone into action by modeling its strengths and in that way sets the mental stage for newly inspired insights from multiple intelligences.

3. To Sam’s aging neighbors, Sam’s serotonin tap may be a challenge to remove barriers and add opportunities for newly discovered adult brain cell regeneration. Many people yearn for Sam’s kind of youth because they still believe common myths that adult brains cannot grow new cells or regenerate old ones. Sam’s new neuro discoveries challenge seniors to age voraciously rather than retire graciously.

4. To Sam’s unemployed friend, a serotonin tap may be a survey to highlight hidden or unused intelligences. Inquiring minds spark more working memory which is less available to those who settle for old or  revert to ruts that shape old socks.

5. To Sam’s burned out peers, a serotonin tap might be suggestions about how sleep choices are vital. Or it could be a few tips about how to renew with the brain in mind.

Sam finds far more serotonin taps in brainpowered workplaces, while far more cortisol shots tend to exacerbate his problems and leave him struggling in toxic seas of cynics. Luckily, through newly discovered neuro tactics, Sam and the rest of us can improve brainpower and add hope to circles we frequent. You?

Prompts for discussing serotonin as it comes to work with Blokes and Babes in your workplace:


  1. Discuss what serotonin looks like in Sam’s brain, in yours  and in others at your workplace.
  2. Compare workplace serotonin benefits with additional brain facts expressed in MITA Manifesto 11- 20.
  3. Create a doable and innovative collaborative action plan to increase serotonin and add to brainpower in your workplace.
  4. YOUR TURN! Join our Brain Based Circles! Would love to meet you at any of the following!

    Brain Leaders and Learners Blog
    Mita Brain Center Facebook
    efweber on Pinterest
    @ellenfweber on Twitter
    ellenfweber on Instagram
    Ellen Weber on Google+
    Ellen Weber on LinkedIn

    Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset

MITA Brain Manifesto for Renewal

Manifesto 6

Manifesto 7

Manifesto 8

Manifesto 9

Manifesto 10

Brainpower increases through multiple intelligences use and can be tracked through growth surveys.

6 thoughts on “Pizza Pandemonium & Serotonin Sam

  1. eweber Post author

    Thanks for stopping by Martin! Thanks also for your toast to old Sam!

    Love the idea of workplace Zen – as I can imagine it’s the kind of place that moves forward together for the good of all, solves problems with the brain in mind, and learns from others like you who integrate intelligence from so many fields!

    Stay blessed!

  2. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your kind words Stuart! Thanks also for the way you work to support renewal. It’s rarely easy and bureaucracies work against it in ways that tend to prevent their own well being. Yet risk takers like you and Serotonin Sam 🙂 can help us all to create a finer world for all.

    Just back from a wonderful week helping a university and leading business to renew their directions and we were all energized by talents in one another. Looking forward to the day we can build a renewal project together!

  3. Pingback: Expect Brain Benefits from Humor – Brain Leaders and Learners

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