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The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights by Daniel Goleman

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Motivation: What Moves Us

The word ‘motivation’ shares its root with ‘emotion’: both come from the Latin motere, to move. Our motives give us our aims and the drive to achieve them. Anything that’s motivating makes us feel good. As one scientist put it to me, “The way nature gets us to do what it wants is by making it a pleasure.”

Our motives dictate where we find our pleasures. But when it comes to pursuing those goals, life so often presents difficulties. And when we face setbacks and obstacles in reaching the goals our motives drive us toward, circuitry converging on a zone in the left prefrontal cortex comes alive to remind us of the good feelings we will have once we reach that goal. When things go wrong, this helps us keep going through ...

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