How To Increase Motivation & Drive


Huberman Lab

This episode explains the science of motivation and drive. I describe how dopamine-- a chemical we all make in our brain, underlies our desire for and pursuit of our goals, as well as our capacity to move and experience pleasure. I describe how we can leverage specific behaviors, reward schedules and dopamine-prolactin balance to help ensure we can maintain motivation and capacity for pleasure over the long term. I also discuss dopamine in the context of ADHD, craving and addiction, and some absolutely amazing results about specificity of drug effects based purely on belief.

For the full show notes, visit

Thank you to our sponsors​

AG1 (Athletic Greens):


Waking Up:



(00:00:00) Introduction

(00:00:30) Sponsors: AG1, LMNT, Waking Up

(00:04:22) Announcement: Spanish Subtitles

(00:05:06) Emotions, Addiction & Mindset

(00:06:22) Motivation & Movement: The Dopamine Connection

(00:07:29) A Double-Edged Dopamine Blade

(00:08:56) Dopamine Fundamentals: Precursor to Adrenalin

(00:10:15) The Reward Pathway: An Accelerator & A Brake

(00:12:10) Motivation= Pleasure Plus Pain

(00:14:14) The Dopamine Staircase: Food, Sex, Nicotine, Cocaine, Amphetamine

(00:16:15) Subjective Control of Dopamine Release

(00:17:40) Social Media and Video Games

(00:18:15) Addiction & Dopamine: Progressively Diminishing Returns

(00:18:48) Novelty, Sensation-Seeking & Anticipation

(00:20:15) Craving: Part Pain, Part Pleasure & Pain Always Prevails

(00:23:11) Desire Scales With Pain: The Yearning Function

(00:24:43) The Croissant Craving Circuit

(00:25:45) “Here and Now” Molecules: Serotonin, Bliss & Raphe Nucleus

(00:26:26) In Your Skin Or Out In the World

(00:27:25) Cannabinoids Lethargy & Forgetfulness

(00:28:15) The Almond Meditation

(00:29:30) Drugs That Shift Exteroception Versus Interoception

(00:30:36) Emotional Balance, Active & Passive Manipulation

(00:32:36) Procrastination: Leveraging Stress, Breathing, Caffeine, L-Tyrosine, Prescription Drugs

(00:37:04) When Enough Is Never Enough; How Dopamine Undermines Itself

(00:38:58) Dopamine-Prolactin Dynamics: Sex, Reproduction & Refractory Periods

(00:40:30) The Coolidge Effect: Novelty-Induced Suppression of Prolactin

(00:42:22) Vitamin B6, Zinc As Mild Prolactin Inhibitors

(00:43:25) Schizophrenia, Dopamine Hyperactivity and Side Effects of Anti-Dopaminergic Drugs

(00:45:08) Prolactin, Post-Satisfaction “Lows” & Extending the Arc of Dopamine

(00:48:00) The Chemistry of “I Won, But Now What?”

(00:49:00) Healthy Emotional Development: Child and Parent

(00:50:03) Never Say “Maybe” (Reward Prediction Error)

(00:52:02) Surprise!

(00:52:59) Are You Suppressing Your Drive and Motivation By Working Too Late?

(00:54:50) Disambiguating Pleasure and Drive: Dopamine Makes Us Anti-Lazy

(00:58:00) Beta-Phenylethylamine (PEA), & Acetyl L-Carnitine

(01:00:00) Attention Deficit Disorders, Cal Newport Books, Impulsivity & Obesity

(01:03:55) Leveraging Dopamine Schedules

(01:05:22) Subjective Control of Dopamine and Drug Effects: The “Adderall” Experiment

(01:09:03) Caffeine May Protect Dopamine Neurons, Methamphetamine Kills Them

(01:10:57) Nicotine: Dopamine, Possible Neuroprotection, Prolactin Increase

(01:11:53) Gambling, Intermittent Reinforcement, & Persistent Goal Seeking (Bad and Good)

(01:14:14) Intermittent Halting of Celebration; Enjoy Your Wins, But Not All of Them

(01:18:38) A Story Example of Intermittent Reward to Maintain Long-Term Drive and Motivation

(01:21:25) Corrections & Notes About Spanish Captions & Other Languages Soon

(01:24:00) Synthesis & Framework, Zero-Cost Support & A Note About Sponsors

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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