In contrast to Darwin’s mostly unchallenged, socio-biological rendering of the endless plight of man, recent neurobiological studies show that it’s actually cooperation, and not competition that motivates people. And as the saying goes, “Faith can move mountains”, and in the past 150 years we have built up a society based on a seductive lie, that now plays out in the neoliberal boom, through a market in which relatively few people gain at the expense of many others. Don’t get me wrong,I don’t want to turn back the clock of technological advancements, nor do I want to put down competitions for the best ideas. The point is that with the new consciousness, we have access to the unfolding of a totally new potential. We are looking at the possibility of an evolutionary leap in the development of our society and economic system, which can make a huge difference in the 21st century for helping us to resolve the global and multi-dimensional challenges that we are facing.
German neurobiologist Joachim Bauer, shares the results of current research in his book „Prinzip Menschlichkeit“ (Principle of Humanity):
„We are – from a neurobiological point of view- – beings designed for social resonance and cooperation. The core of all human motivation is to find interpersonal recognition, appreciation, care, affection, and interaction.“ writes Bauer. But what are these findings based on? There are countless scientific neurobiological studies going on all over the world, which are exploring the collective motivation system of humans. We have dopamine, oxytocin and opioid neurotransmitter systems that all cooperate very well together. Dopamine is responsible for building up motivation and using mental energy and concentration to reach our desired goals. Oxytocin is the chemical messenger that specializes in connection and trust. Naturally produced opioids affect the emotional center of the brain, and produce positive effects on our self-esteem and invigorate our lust for life. What does that mean? The body is a highly complex, intelligent, and finely tuned system, providing us with an all-natural “motivation cocktail”.
What does that mean for us?
Thomas Insel and neuroscientist Russell Fernald of Stanford University, coined the term „Social Brain“ because, as Bauer puts it:„Nothing activates the human motivation system more than the wish to be seen by others, the prospect of social recognition, to receive positive attention, and even more importantly – the experience of love.“ That gives those of us in leadership roles something to reflect upon regarding the effectiveness of various leadership styles. Not to mention the harmful, negative effects of poor social skills, which can create a whole range of problems for management, all the way from the bottom up – just think about the negative effects power struggles and bullying can produce within a company.
Wishing you ease, grace and joy for the upcoming week…
Yours, Stefan Götz+