What, to you, is really worth doing in life? We all have our own ideas about what is important, but to feel fully satisfied we need to channel our energy and passions into something that is productive and meaningful to us.

When we are doing something meaningful, it holds our attention and engages our interest, keeping us focused and persistent over time. Motivation gives us energy, and passion focuses that energy. But what really motivates us?

Extrinsic versus intrinsic

A series of seminal experiments by psychologist Sam Glucksberg offers a counterintuitive result. Building on Karl Duncker’s “candle problem” (see “How our expectations can ...

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