The Neuroscience of Motivation: Staying on Top in Uncertain Times

Gill McKay from the UK speaking at the Emotional Intelligence Online Summit in 2020 for People Builders and the Emotional Intelligence Academy on the Neuroscience of motivation.

For more than 20 years Gill McKay has worked with coaches, trainers, HR, and business professionals to amplify their results by helping them use neuroscience in their work. Her teaching helps them to increase their clients’ self-awareness, their emotional engagement, and awaken their brains to help them achieve deep transformation and change.

04:28 - The story of Anna

06:25 - The world of neuroscience in recent years

09:49 - Understanding the effects of Brownout on our motivation

16:10 - Understanding Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

27:50 - Sparky ideas to say goodbye to Brownout through Self Determination

43:24 - The power of a Sense of Purpose through the trifecta of neurotransmitters



I'm going to start with a story of a little girl called Anna who loves to play outside. Now, Anna has a large garden. She's got a fantastic tree house and lots of areas to play hide and seek with her brother. Every morning, when she wakes up, she leaps out of bed and pulls open the curtains; and she always feels happy whenever she sees a bright sunshiny day. Because she knows then, that she will be able to play outside.

But one morning she wakes up and the room seems a little darker than usual. She wonders what that means. When she opens the curtains, she sees that it's raining. “Oh, no.” She says, “I can't play outside with my friends. What on earth am I going to do?” She looks down at her dolls at the toy box. She looks over to her books on the bookshelf and her board games, but she just can't get excited.

“This is rubbish. I'm just going to go back to bed,  pull the covers over my head and wait until the sun comes out.”

So, imagine that your Anna. Like Anna, we all know how it feels when our mojo or our motivation to do something, turns south or wanes. And sometimes it really is quite challenging to spark ourselves into action again.

The World of Neuroscience in The Recent Years.

I'm going to be taking you on a journey into the brain to understand what is happening; to share some ideas from current academic research. And most importantly, to give you some insights as to what you can do to give yourself a boost of motivation when you need it, knowing that you'll be working with your brain and making friends with your brain, not against it- whether it is a rainy day or a sunny day.

The world of neuroscience has really opened up in the recent years. Scientists no longer need to rely totally on the results of autopsies (from cutting up dead bodies, from observing behviour of rats in lab experiments or from investigating people who’ve got some severe neurological conditions) to gain great insights into the human mind.

Although these areas of course has also given great insights, the wonder of technology has really helped our growth in knowledge. It has helped us take a look inside healthy brains of healthy human beings and therefore, be able to look at that physical, physiological basis of human behavior.

What this has done is it’s massively opened up that whole brain science area to all of us who are interested in psychology, behavioral sciences, human behavior, and the whole learning and development area.

So now the neuroscience is no longer just applicable in medicine or in the clinica-medical sphere. But we’re also able to bring it into the world of business and into day-to -day life. It really is becoming increasingly useful for us all to be able to understand a little bit about our brains so we can interact with the world more effectively.

Now, a bit of a red flag; inevitably neuroscience is becoming popular and fashionable. It’s topical. Perhaps like with U.S election, there’s a lot of fake news around it. So, if you pick up some magazines, you may find a page on your neuro-horoscope or some adverts for a neurovitamin or nueropill. I even saw an online advertisement the other day for a neuro-pool cube to guarantee that you pocket all the balls on the pool table.

There's a lot of neuro-nonsense.

What we do in our business is we bridge the gap between the weighty academia out there (the great but difficult to access stuff); we bridge the gap between that and all that neuro-nonsense, to make neuroscience really accessible and relevant to people in everyday life and also in the business world.

So, our business is all about making neuroscience useful to you – so that you can understand yourselves better, build your emotional intelligence- your self-awareness , have a better relationship with yourself and with other people, so that you can create a positive change and take those positive steps in your life.

 So, I'm going to take a positive step now into the subject of motivation. And this is a key area that I coach and work around with my clients.

So, let us have a stretch, let’s take a breath, and learn how we can help Anna have a wonderful day despite the rain outside.

I want to start with a new term called “Brownout”.

Have you ever heard of the term “Brownout”?

I haven’t, until I read an article about it.

You most likely have heard of “blackout”. Most of us know that it means that the power is lost - such as electricity. Now, brownout evidently in a factory setting is when the factory runs on lower wattage.

You can use it for a metaphor in the world of work or our lives.

It is a way to describe people when they are not firing cylinders; where their spark is disappearing and they are running on lower wattage – they’re becoming disengaged and demotivated.

Now this was coined from a company called Corporate Balance Concepts.

In their research, they reported that around 40% of the thousand executives that they surveyed, suffered from some sort of “brownout” and  an associated lowering of motivation and engagement.

This is 400 people out of a thousand.

This certainly is food for thought, especially at work.

And we all know how that lack of motivation feels.

Like Anna (the girl in my story), it just feels rubbish and it can easily spiral into us beating ourselves up.

Brownout doesn't just happen at work. It happens all the time. It can happen in all contexts of our lives.

So, what can we do about it?

How can we avoid this thing called “Brownout”?

How can we define motivation and learn what to do about it?

Simply put, motivation drives our behaviour. We all have different reasons for getting up in the morning and doing what we do every day. But like Anna, there are just some days where you feel less motivated than the others.

You get up when your alarm goes off perhaps for a run or to focus on your goals for that day at work or to make sales calls in the morning, or to help your kids with their homework. When all you really want to do is hunker down under the duvet and watch Netflix.

You're really experiencing brownout there.

As human beings, we are driven to undertake activities that reward us or remove us from threat or punishment.

Threats during our ancestors’   time could be things like a saber-toothed tiger Nowadays, it could be an angry manager at work. While rewards could be a glass of wine at the end of a very busy working day or watching the next episode of a new crime series that you're enjoying on TV.

So, this drive towards or away from something, it reinforces our behaviors so we're motivated to do it again and again.

So, a busy workday will cue you, every workday, to pour a glass of wine or to put on the TV. The appearance of your manager (the saber-toothed tiger) may motivate you to pick up the phone and pretend you’re talking to a customer.

At a fundamental level, your brain treats survival needs as rewarding. But what we need to survive what we do, it rewards us and it motivates us to fulfill those needs.

 Motivation drives our behaviour.  Motivation or the lack of it is usually behind the choices we make, what we do, and therefore the results that we get.

So, if you're hungry, you're going to go and look for a snack. It might be a biscuit or an apple but you'll look for a snack.

If you're tired, you may be motivated to take a nap.

If you're stuck in some way, you may be motivated to phone a friend or maybe read a book called “stuck”.

But here's the thing: Motivation is not an algorithm. It's not a formula or a rule book that you can just roll out and apply. Or if you are a manager, it is not something you can just give out to someone.  

This is because, we are all different.

We all have different experiences, different contexts, different backgrounds, different DNA, different goals, and dreams and the list goes on.

Like for instance, some people, if they are stuck, they are not going to read a book or phone a friend; they may just bur their head in the sand and ignore the problem. Or maybe they're just going to power through and research the problem until late at night when they think they're going to be able to solve it.

The key is we are all motivated to do things in different ways.

So, I want to share with you two basic categories of motivation that are helpful to understand what is going on.

The first category is Intrinsic Motivation. Intrinsic Motivation involves doing something because it’s personally rewarding to you. So, when you are intrinsically motivated, your behavior is motivated by your internal desire to do something for its own sake. For example, your personal joy or personal enjoyment doing it because you want to learn something new. It's about doing things. It's about expanding and learning without the need for an external reward.

The second category is Extrinsic Motivation. Extrinsic Motivation involves doing something because you to earn a reward or avoid punishment. So here, your behavior is motivated by an external factor that's pushing you to do something so that you get that reward, or you're avoiding a consequence (you're avoiding a punishment or you're moving away from that possible consequence.)

 For instance, on the intrinsic side, maybe it's something like you want to watch a Ted talk because you want to learn something new and you're inspired by that. For the extrinsic motivation on the other hand, is the thought that your manager wants to use the topic on the TED talk in your next team meeting, and you do not want to get in trouble if you get it wrong and you want to do really well.

 Maybe intrinsically you might enjoy going for a run and doing some exercise because you’ve had a stressful day and it feels fantastic when you go running afterwards. Whereas, an extrinsic reason could be that you want to go for a run because you want to lose some of that lockdown weight. You don't want to pay at your local slimming club or your doctor has told that you have to do it (lose weight) for health reasons.

And maybe you're motivated perhaps to clean up your home office (like I did) because you want to feel organized and you love a tidy space. Well, that's an intrinsic reason. Or that motivation is because you have a zoom call with your team or you're coming online to speak, and you don't want to people to see the messy environment behind you (now that’s an extrinsic reason).

So intrinsic and extrinsic- but either way, all of our reward systems in the brain (whether it's intrinsic or extrinsic), are all about this neurotransmitter called dopamine.

Dopamine is made in the brain. It’s released when your brain is expecting a reward. And when you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure, whether it's that glass of wine after a busy day or whether it's a snack when you're hungry, that lovely apple and even just anticipation of it, can be enough to raise your dopamine levels.

So, the brain has around 86 billion neurons. It may seem like an extraordinary amount, but only a small portion of that amount (around 20,000 of the 86 billion neurons) generate dopamine. Most of these dopamine generating neurons are in the middle part of the brain - the emotional part of the brain, there's midbrain structures and the prefrontal cortex (the top part of the brain, the thinking part of the brain).

I love this quote from evolutionary psychiatrist Emily Deans:

 “Dopamine is what makes humans so successful.”

 Research have actually found that human beings have about three times as many dopamine producing neurons in their brains as other primates and higher order animals. Dopamine has other jobs such as motor control. A loss of dopamine is apparent in Parkinson's for instance.

So, the drugs for Parkinson's are to help more dopamine receptor sites. It works, where it's apparent in and needed in planning and some prefrontal executive functions. It also gets a lot of attention in the study of addiction when reward moves to perhaps dangerous cravings. Now, if you get rewarded, you're going to feel that lovely burst of dopamine. So, you're going to want to do it again. Dopamine doesn't just make you feel rewarded in the moment – it’s also what I call the incentive, the motivation neurotransmitter - it helps the brain to feel more motivated to do something again so then your body feels energetic enough to pull that lever again and again. So, it really does underpin your motivation and the trick is to work out what it is that rewards you - what you are moving towards, what you're moving away from-  so that you can get that dopamine hit and do things that are engaging, and helpful, and additive to your life.

Now, there’s also little bit of a red flag here. Knowing what these red flags are important to warn us and help us tread carefully over extrinsic rewards (the external dopamine boosters like when you’re attempting to motivate others for instance.)

So, if you're a parent with your child or a manager with your team, studies have shown that offering too many rewards for activities that people are already pretty intrinsically motivated to do, can actually have the opposite effect and it can decrease motivation. So, it can make the activity start to feel like work and it could kill any underlying intrinsic motivation that was there in the first place. So, what's happening is that those rewards can crowd out and undermine what they're doing and that's called over-justification. And it can also be called the undermining effect as well.

So, if you work in business and you're looking to incentivise your staff and give them lots of bonuses or feedback, just be careful and be sincere.

A really good strategy is to ask them what motivates them in the first place. Because as I have said, a one size does not fit all. Sometimes we assume that throwing money as cash incentive is going to be automatically motivating. In fact, a lot of motivation-neuroscience based research involves money.

Money is a strong emotional trigger for a lot of people. It's an area called neuro-economics. I want to explain an experiment that was done in an over-justification area to look at this. And this experiment involves pizzas. So, this was an experiment in a successful semiconductor factory. Employees were paid really well, employee engagement was pretty high, and most of the employees enjoyed their jobs.

In the experiment, the employees were given a number of different incentives at the beginning of each day to look at their motivation; and the measure was if their productivity was going to increase or not.

They were divided into four groups.

One group was told that if they hit their targets, they would get a bonus of $30 a day.

The second group were offered pizza vouchers.

The third group were told that they would receive a note of thanks from the chief executive.

Employees in a fourth group, on the other hand, weren't offered anything.

And interestingly, it was the third group (the pizza voucher group) whose productivity had the highest increase. They had a 7% increase in their productivity. Coming in second is the CEO’s note of thanks. And the cash incentive group came third.

However, on the second day, the cash incentivize group performed 14% worse than the employees who weren't given any incentive at all.

And I think it's really interesting that the effect of the cash bonus was just increasing the company’s cost. This is because not only is the company shelling out buckets of $30 but they are also decreasing their employee’s motivation and productivity.

Another interesting find in this study is that the pizza vouchers were used at lunchtime so that the employees could enjoy eating together. It was really interesting collaborative motivation.

So, don't be put off extrinsic rewards; praise bonuses, or, prizes, they can work for those sort of dull tasks when there's little intrinsic motivation in the first place. We all know that the star charts work for kids. And for us adults, I find it really motivational to tick off those tasks that I don't enjoy from my to do list And it really is motivational just to tick it off.

Tangible extrinsic rewards (cash incentives and praise) they may even result in unexpected motivation. So, you might actually learn something new.

Like myself for instance, to motivate myself to do my admin first thing in the morning, I reward myself with a cup of tea and a biscuit at 10

So, an example for me, for instance, motivating myself to do my admin first thing in the morning, and then reward myself with a cup of tea and a biscuit at 10 o'clock. And during building that habit – laying down those rewarding neural pathways and those dopamine bursts, I’ve learned to be more productive. I’ve learned to use some productivity tools to help me be even quicker at doing my admin first thing in the morning.

In summary, we have talked about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. We’ve talked about dopamine as an incentive neurotransmitter and to be careful not to over justify or undermine with many extrinsic rewards.

Here is an exercise you can do for yourself. You can do this after reading/watching this vlog or do it the next.

What you will do is ask yourself these questions:

“What am I intrinsically motivated by?”

“What am I extrinsically motivated by?”

Just give yourself some time to think about these.

And, you would be surprised how these questions can lead you to an interesting list.

I want to share with you one of my favourite models in this whole area of motivation. It’s a well-researched area called the Self-Determination Theory. According to this theory,  human beings have three basic psychological needs:

  1. The Need for Autonomy
  2. The Need for Master
  3. The Need for Purpose

When we go back to the slides, I'm going to unpick those for you and give you some ideas as to how you can use them. But let's just define what it's all about.

Self-determination - you think about the definition of the word. It helps you feel that you have control over your choices and your life, and it has a big impact on your motivation. Of course, we're all going to feel more motivated to take action. When we feel that what we do has an effect on the outcome and it affects us positively.

Self-determination theory grew out of the work of two psychologists, two gentlemen, Edward Dacy, and Richard Ryan. They first introduced their ideas way back in the 1980s. In 1985, they had a book called Self-Determination and Intrinsic Motivation in Human Behavior. That's the grand title, but what's great is that whilst it was initiated in the 80's, it really has evolved. It's continually been researched and it's been researched increasingly in the neuroscience area to link these intrinsic motivators to the brain so we can learn even more.

Self-determination theory have three areas:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

I'm going to break them down for you and look at some of the neuroscience that underpins them.


It’s around the freedom to choose the work that you do to live your life the way you want it, choose the work that you do, the way you do your work, and your ability to make decisions often. This is the reason that people leave the corporate world to work on their own. They're looking for that motivator of Autonomy.

I will share with you some Autonomy research. (watch the video) This piece of research that I love, you can see that it was a collaboration if you look at the reference at the bottom, this was a collaboration of researchers from many areas - from Redding in the UK, Rochester in California, Institute of Technology in the US and also Tokyo in Japan. They looked at this thing that's called Self-Determined Choice using brain scans.

They were scanning all the participants throughout the whole experiments. The participants played a timed, quite challenging puzzle task using a stopwatch. They either selected the stopwatch themselves, or they were given one. And it's quite extraordinary that the results over several trials and several groups consistently showed a better performance from those groups who have selected their own stopwatch. They've chosen the kit that they were going to use in the experiment. The choice of the stopwatch was absolutely irrelevant in how difficult the task was. And while they were increasing that performance, there was more activity in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain, that thinking part of the brain, in that group.

Autonomy opens up this whole topic and this whole area of curiosity. If you have freedom to experiment, then of course, you're going to open up your ideas rather than narrowing them down and that's motivating.

This one was a Californian study (watch the video). You can see the reference at the bottom. I've got a link at the end of this to show you all of my references if you're interested in this one. In this study, participants reviewed more than a hundred questions - some of them were pretty interesting and pretty curious, but at the same time, there were also some unrelated photographs shown.

Now, when they were curious and interested in those questions, which the brain scan showed, what was interesting was that they also remembered and recalled more of those completely unrelated pictures. So, what the researchers concluded, what they found was that if the people have been curious about the question topic, and then before the answer even appeared for the question, they were already engaging that dopamine, that brain's reward system through anticipation, and that stayed even after 24 hours. That satisfying boost in dopamine to see curiosity in itself is motivating. And it also helps you to open up to unrelated areas from that topic at hand and recall them. Curiosity helps us learn, which of course we know, but now we've got it proven from neuroscience, which is great.

So ask yourself these questions,

What is it that you can choose to do every day?

Where can you take your power and freedom into your life?

Do you feel forced by a deadline that somebody else has given you, or do you feel you have flexible choice?

Where can you put that flexible choice into your life?

The research shows us that choice makes for positive motivation. Just making a list of what you can control, what you have choice over and what you can't control can help. It can help you focus where you put your energy. And again, what makes you curious?  Make a list about those subjects that you want to learn about or understand more about.

When you feel your mojo declining, all this Brown out coming back, rather than sitting in front of the TV, get fascinated by something. Maybe if you don't feel like running, just go and do some interval training in the park, or go and try a Zumba class or do something completely unrelated and maybe listen to a podcast while going for a walk. The trick is to remember that it's your choice. You're in charge! Learning something new and satisfying your curiosity is really motivating.


This is about building your expertise. It's about learning, building an expert status, and deepening your knowledge so that you feel that you can add value and do your best work. I also like to add confidence in here because mastery gives us confidence to take action.

This is all about deepening your learning, perhaps driven by that curiosity in the first instance, but it's also about prioritising your development so that you can grow. And we know that that is highly motivational and research proves it. So I'm going to look at mastery from the perspective of strengths, how you can understand your strengths, and have a language for voicing them so you can consciously use these strengths more. Research shows us that operating to strengths and building on strengths is highly motivating, and it helps to build our confidence too.

So here is a way that I like to think about strengths by using the metaphor of a road network for the brain. And I'm just going to pop back onto the slides again (see the slides). So here's a map of Sydney. Many of you will recognise it. Imagine that you are town planner for the day or that you've been asked to develop the road network for a new city called Sydney. Wow! What would you do differently If you could do that? You could develop it from scratch. So some of the roads are already there and your job is to plan the rest. Now, since you have no way of knowing how people are actually going to use the roads, you decide at the beginning to make all the roads the same size and see how they're used in practice. If they're used a lot or if they are used frequently, you're going to widen the roads and you're going to add additional carriageways to increase their capacity. And if they're only use a little bit, you will leave them as they are, or maybe build some houses on the side or dig them up and turn them into bicycle paths.

Now it's the same with the brain through its development. While they add and they flow and change with different life events, the preferred routes for information within our brain they're laid down as these super highways, just like in Sydney, your A and your B roads and your bicycle paths and these in turn determine the neural pathways and your unique blend of styles, processing styles, that you rely on during your life. And at its simplest, your superhighways are easier to access and they've got strong neural connections, so you can travel down those roads more readily and more automatically. Using those super highways, they get stronger. They give rise to your strengths.

Now here is a language for your road network underpinned by neuroscientific research. The model we use in our business is the Mind Tool. It just gives you a descriptive language of some characteristics and some styles that emerged from your unique combination of your super highways, operating in different parts of your brain, such as reasoning and logic, or spontaneous and big picture, feelings and emotions, specific and detail. You can do it all so it's not about competence. Your super highways are the ones that you go to first. When information streams into your brain, where do you go to first? Your superhighways are the ones that are most accessible. They feel easier, they demand less energy, and they're more automatic to you.

So here's a summary.

I think this is easy to apply.

Think for yourself now. Where are your strengths? Is it with facts? Is it with ideas? Is it with feelings or is it with details or is it a combination of them? Ask yourself where your super highways are. Where do you feel most at ease, most energised, and most comfortable?


Just think about if you're always operating in those uncomfortable areas in your bicycle path, which of course you can get access to. Imagine how draining that is and therefore how de-motivating it is. You're significantly more likely to experience motivation if you're operating and working with your strengths. So make friends with your strengths and your brain.

Here's a question for you.

Are you operating everyday to your strengths?

I want to introduce you to a Hungarian American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, with the unpronounceable name. He coined this amazing word “flow” that some of you will most likely be familiar with. It was following his experiences as a prisoner during World War II. He conducted a huge amount of research into contentment and happiness. He came up with this definition that you can read on the slide (see the slide). It's a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It's great.

Have you ever experienced flow when you've been completely absorbed in what you're doing in the zone? When the task feels completely effortless, it really feels good. It's more likely to happen for you when you're getting engaged in activities that play to your strengths.

So when your super highways are free flowing, there's no congestion there, no effort required, you can go in cruise control or warp speed. It’s your choice. So what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believes is that the secret to a happy life is to learn to be engaged in as many areas of your life as possible and to keep curious, adding novelty and learning into your life, because what that does is it uses different parts of your brain and it helps to keep you energised and motivated.

And the final piece of research that I want to show you is from Sweden. (see the video) It found people who are really prone to experience motor intrinsically motivated flow in their daily activity. They actually have more dopamine receptor sites available in the brain. So flow again, it relates to dopamine production and its transmission around the brain. So this part of self-determination model, it's talked about mastery. We brought that to life by discussing strengths and flow in that map of Sydney.

Just think for yourself…

What are your strengths?

How can you expose yourself to more opportunity everyday to use your strengths, not your bicycle paths, so that you can keep motivated, curious, exposing yourself to lots of novelty and learning so you can learn new things can enter that lovely flow state?

In the self-determination model, we've discussed Autonomy and Mastery. And the final part is Purpose. I love working with clients around purpose.


This is about understanding your “why”. It's about connecting to the reason for what you're doing, the contribution that you make in life or that your work makes to something bigger. It's about that contribution. It doesn't need to be anything spiritual necessarily. Many of my coaching clients are really clear that their “why” is perhaps about financial freedom or spending more time with their families or time freedom. It could be otherwise to create a bigger impact on the world. One of my clients is all about sustainability. It doesn't matter what it is. It's just that you are clear on your purpose because it can really help to align all your energy and your motivation, and keep you motivated.

And there are some really interesting neuroscience based findings around sense of purpose and connecting us to that. And one of them is that, or many of them are actually that sense of purpose makes us biologically more resilient. There was one study that found that a strong purpose resulted in 72% lower risk of a stroke and 44% lower rate of cardiovascular disease. And that's because every day, if you're aligned to your purpose, you're motivated, you're operating to use your strengths and you're in a state of positive energy. And we also know that strong purpose produces what the neuroscientists call the Trifecta of Neurotransmitters.

In the article I read, I don't know why it didn't say trio, but three neuro-transmitters: 1. Oxytocin for bonding, for empathy and social interaction. That always feels good. Oxytocin is actually produced when a mother first breastfeeds her baby, there's a huge amount of oxytocin streaming around the body. So it's all about bonding; 2. Serotonin which balances mood; and as well as our old friend, the feel-good motivating incentivizing 3. Dopamine neurotransmitter.

Purpose also connects to your emotions. 80% of our neurons are in this older part of the brain, the lower and the middle part of the brain. And we know that information reaches that part of the brain, emotional part of the brain, around six times faster than to the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of the brain. So we get that motivation, motivating emotional alignment with a sense of purpose. It really is well worth spending time to identify your purpose, keep visiting it, to keep aligned and motivated.

Now that's the final part of Self-determination Theory: Purpose.

I want to finish with a story to keep you motivated.

If you remember Anna at the beginning, she's a little girl who's motivated by playing on her sunshiny days, and on a rainy day, she became de-motivated. She just wanted to pull the covers over her head. Now imagine that Anna had a different response and she decided she can't do anything about the weather, but it doesn't stop her being able to play. So maybe she can go and play in the puddles or ask a little brother to play with her inside.

Now, because Anna is a very wise six-year-old, as she understands she can't really control the weather, because she did that control and not control list, when she wakes up in the morning, she realises it's always going to be rainy days. So she decided that the rain wasn't going to put her back to bed. She decided that she would have a talk on a rainy day with her favourite doll about what she was going to do to go inside to play to have fun whatever the weather.

So there are two points I want to extract from that story. The first one is about playing. We seem to think that work is the opposite of play. It really is not. We can keep motivated by having fun and playing. And the second thing is what Anna did was that she primed herself into a motivated, more positive state by talking to her doll. This is something that you can do.

Priming refers to making associations just before doing something. You can prime yourself perhaps by listening to music or having a cup of coffee. What it is you can associate with being motivated, because expecting to be upbeat and motivated all the time is just isn't realistic. So is it music, is it giving your kids or your pets a hug, is it looking at happy photos, maybe some motivational quotes like I've got here, or is it understanding your “why”?

Last thing, I'm going to thank Anna. I'm going to share with you that I didn't borrow this doll as my last prop. (see the video)This is the character from the movie Brave. She's my priming tool, I have her on my desk. I gave it to my daughter when she was no longer had been interested in dolls. I have it on my desk. It's my primer to remind me to be brave in my decisions at work.

So that's it. I just want to show you a last slide because it's got a PDF on the end for people to look at so that they can download the research. (see the video) This is what we covered. Absolutely loads. You can see the list, take a photograph or take a note of that PDF. It's got all of the research if you're interested and it will be up there for a few days so do download it as soon as possible.

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