[NOTES] Motivation

“Our modern brains are still wired up for the ancient evolutionary purpose of surviving in a dangerous environment. Over a million years or so, we developed specialized neural structures that selectively tuned in to danger signals.”

Why do we procrastinate? For survival.

We’re not naturally inclined to be:

  • optimistic
  • creative
  • productive
  • taking risks and daring to fail

But rather to:

  • “expect and perceive threatening – a.k.a. unpleasant – experiences rather than to fantasize about pleasurable ones” (source)
  • avoid potentially uncomfortable and dangerous situations
  • systematize and reduce for ease and maximum effectiveness in responding to danger.
  • maximize pleasure and comfort, which we equate with living longer

The life hack: 

  • leverage pleasure over pain
    • make a list of pros vs. cons and make sure the pros outweigh the cons
  • leverage your imagination and emotions and create a visceral experience to motivate/teach/familiarize the brain with positive energy rather than the focus of fear and pain
    • generate the energy and feeling in your body of success
    • mentally walk thru the process of successes, joys, benefits (source)
  • reward progress for positive steps, actions and accomplishments (part of self-care) – source
    • changes brain chemistry – increase dopamine levels, as released in anticipation of reward
  • celebrate to self-motivate
  • know your why (something bigger than oneself)
See also:
  • Siegel, Ronald. “The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being.” The Great Courses, 2015. http://www.TheGreatCourses.com.