The Motivated Brain

“If you seek for a more satisfying life and willing to contribute to something bigger than yourself, read this book…” (Review on

The Motivated Brain: The book

In collaboration with Jefferson Roy, Neuroscientist at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, Helle Bundgaard, Partner, and Founder of the Motivation Factor Institute, has authored the groundbreaking book that delves into the correlation between motivation and brain science.

The Motivated Brain is available as:

  • e-book
  • Kindle-book, and..
  • Paperback

..on See reviews here..

About The Motivated Brain

Motivation begins to erode when Energy Drainers disrupt focus on the current goal, clutter the mind, and deplete resources. Unmet Needs exacerbate this decline by triggering the stress response, hijacking the brain. Consequently, it becomes challenging to align with a greater Purpose and effectively utilize our Talents.

This combined effect weakens our resilience against setbacks, further diminishing motivation, not to mention the detrimental impact on both short-term and long-term physical health and well-being. Within this book, we reviewed the relevant brain areas and circuits believed to be implicated in the Hierarchy of Motivation.

While this exploration isn’t exhaustive, our aim was to convey how the four levels within the Hierarchy of Motivation interconnect and reinforce each other, not solely within the Motivation Factor Framework, but also within the brain’s mechanisms. Similar to many frameworks requiring learning and adaptation, the true testament lies in the application. We firmly believe that by accessing established neural circuits and behaviors, anyone who makes an effort can achieve positive changes, fostering increased personal awareness and growth.

Our aspiration is for you to recognize that not only is the brain trainable, but it is also responsive to motivation! Explore the outlines and a couple of sample chapters available below.

About the Authors

Helle Bundgaard is the founder of Motivation Factor Institute. She has 20+ years’ of leadership experience as an international sales and business development. Her work has been focused around bridging the gab from lab brain research to developing practical and applicable management tools for use in a business context. Additionally Helle is associated with the Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland and external lecturer on University of Lausanne’s EMBA program.

Jefferson Roy is a neuroscientist with 20 years of research experience. Jefferson received his PhD from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Currently, Jefferson is a Research Scientist in the laboratory of Earl Miller at Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. Jefferson has published over ten scientific manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.

A Look Inside the Motivated Brain…

From Chapter 3

When we look at how organizations have typically tried to crack the code of motivation, we see attempt at mass motivating.   Employee benefits, sales incentives, corporate communication, and team building are crafted to appeal to the majority despite evidence that not everyone is motivated by onsite daycare, a trip to Hawaii, or a personal message from the CEO.

Companies invest millions of dollars bringing in sports stars, celebrities or famed motivational speakers to tell their stories of dizzying accomplishment and how they maintain peak motivation to reach their goals. While it can be very inspiring to listen to a sports legend or celebrity, how many of us can identify with their way of life? Are they also fetching the children from day care after working a day filled with conflicts and difficult colleagues? Are they shopping, cooking and mowing the lawn before they step out to train for the world championship? At worst these attempts to foster motivation can have the opposite effect.

To listen to someone that oozes of self-confidence and surplus energy while we ourselves feels totally overwhelmed and drained – it is like waiving a red scarf in front of a bull. I don’t know about you, but I have read lots of motivational books and participated in many pep talks and seminars on this subject without really grasping the concept simply because it was too complex, too exhausting, too much work, or didn’t really connect with my beliefs. So what is wrong with me, I could ask.

Why does it work for them and not me? I felt as though I was given the recipe only to find out that I didn’t have the ingredients or the time to make the meal. Motivation is deeply personal and resonant. It is not something that can be applied like a spray tan. So the answer to the question “Can you mass motivate people?” is no. Of course, we know this. In so many other facets of business and life, we have evidence that in order to compel someone to make a decision or change a behavior, we have to make it personal. When a group attempts to build its membership, they don’t head to the town square, make a speech and expect everyone to sign on.

Organizations who successfully recruit and retain members use a carefully crafted strategy to identify target audiences, screen in ideal member profiles and appeal personally to those who they deem most receptive to their message. Political campaigns develop a custom message for each community to appeal across geographies, age groups, affiliations and class.

Research shows that voters look for candidates who “understand” their circumstances and “connect” with them on key issues. The saying “All politics is local” speaks to the necessity of understanding and appealing to people’s individual concerns. Decades of product marketing research show that the more targeted the message, the greater the likelihood customers will buy.

Soundly run companies don’t pump money into marketing a new product without knowing their market. Indeed, it is well established that the more you know and appeal personally to your target group, the more success you have. And yet many companies will spend a great deal of money on inspirational pep-talks, incentives and other motivational initiatives that deliver only short term effects – if they work at all.

With all the information we have about motivation and management, why do we still struggle so much with this issue? It’s quite clear, actually. In our efforts to simplify we have searched for the universal “code” for motivation. Though it is common sense that individual motivation can’t be handled in a generic way, we don’t have time for anything but! We don’t have time to delve into each and every individual’s unique motivators and so, absent that, we’ll take the latest theory on general motivation as the next best thing. Personality tests, typologies and behavioral assessments abound in the business world.

There are approaches where leaders are categorized one way, sales people another, administrative assistants yet another. Other models give us tips on how to interact with other “types”. While we may get insight into ourselves and others by using these tests and perhaps even some practical techniques for improving our productivity and interpersonal relationships, there is a flaw in these systems.

They all work by tagging and labeling people with a predetermined set of traits, orientations, inclinations or behaviors and at worse people will disavow responsibility for their behaviors or attitude and will use the information as an excuse: “Well, I’m an LMNO type, so what do you expect?” Motivation is not limited by functional norms, personality type or behavioral inclination. It is a dynamic process that is personal, situational and one on which we have much more influence than we realize. This is why so many motivation and engagement initiatives have failed to make much of a lasting impact.

Even though motivation and management theory has acknowledged the individual aspect of motivation and even gone so far as to provide ways to type and catalog different sets of motivators, behaviors and styles, we still end up with what amounts to a one-size-fits-all approach. The mass motivation approach may give us short-term results. Our incentive programs and attractive benefits may earn us a place on the “Best Places to Work” lists. But in the long run, it is simply not effective. Motivation is a complex interplay of factors unique to each of us which requires personal connection and dynamic management. This sounds complex. It doesn’t have to be.

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