According to Dr. Paul Conti, a psychiatrist, generative drive is our desire to create, build, and contribute to the world in a meaningful way, and appreciating the process to get there. It is a feature of our mental health. It gives us the agency we need to do difficult things. A broad term to encompass 2 other drives, the aggressive drive and the pleasure drive. The aggressive drive is something that moves us forward and gives us a sense of agency. It doesn’t have to mean you are aggressive, as long as this drive isn’t high, and if it’s too low then you don’t have any agency to get something done. The pleasure drive means that you want things that are gratifying and you want to feel good. A drive for relief. Being too low or high in this drive can also be problematic, you are either seeking to feel good or don’t want to feel good, in basic terms. Mentions that both drives need to be in the right places if they are going to serve the generative drive. This means that agency and gratitude bring us peace, contentment, and delight.
Today, most of us know how to write a prompt in ChatGPT or Bard, but we often lack the emotional intelligence to have difficult conversations with colleagues or loved ones. Most of us use generative AI-enabled applications to create content, but we rarely have the time, energy and patience to truly create something of value. Most of us spend hours learning about generative AI, but few spend the time learning about ourselves, about our values, about what truly drives us. Generative AI has the potential to make our lives more productive, but only our generative drive can make our lives more meaningful, more delightful, happier.
According to Dr. Paul Conti, a psychiatrist, generative drive is our desire to create, build, and contribute to the world in a meaningful way, and appreciating the process to get there. It is a feature of our mental health. It gives us the agency we need to do difficult things. And finding our generative drive and cultivating it on daily basis has nothing to do with AI and everything to do with taking care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
- ChatGPT, the large language model by OpenAI is now estimated to have over 100 million users.
- Salesforce’s most recent survey on generative AI use among the general population within the U.S., UK, Australia and India found that 73% of the Indian population surveyed is using generative AI.
- According to a recent survey by The Conference Board, 56% of US workers are already using generative AI tools, at least occasionally, to accomplish work-related tasks. 31% report using generative AI on a frequent, regular basis — including daily (9%), weekly (17%) or monthly (5%).
Generative AI, or generative artificial intelligence, is a type of AI that can create new content, such as text, images, music, and code. It does this by learning the patterns and structures in existing data, and then uses that knowledge to generate new and original content.
We have a tool that can create for us, that can make our lives easier and more productive, that holds the promise to free up time for us so we can do more of what makes us happy. But do we actually know what makes us happy? How many of us spend time proactively learning about our own patterns, about the structures and functions of our minds that insinuate those patterns, about the self and others?
While generative AI applications help us be more effective and productive as entrepreneurs, the one thing that keeps us going is our generative drive. It is our desire to create, build, and contribute to the world in a meaningful way. And finding our generative drive and cultivating it on daily basis has nothing to do with AI and everything to do with taking care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
So how do we discover and cultivate our generative drive?
We support our generative drives when we know our values and what is truly important to us. Once we have a clear understanding of our values, we can start to look for opportunities to put them into action in our lives. And to know our values means to know ourselves, how we function, what’s good for us and what works for us. And how do we learn that? – by reading, exploring, being curious; by going to therapy, by spending time on our own, thinking; by journaling and meditating; by being intentional about all of the above. And as leaders in our respective industries, we owe it to ourselves and our teams to truly live by our values.
We support it when we take care of our physical health. It is widely known that physical activity improves our cognitive function and decreases stress. It improves our mood, boosts our energy levels and improves neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change and adapt over time. A new reason to work out in the morning, according to the organizational psychologist Adam Grant: it builds confidence to overcome obstacles. On days when people exercise before work, they are more engaged and less exhausted. They see tasks as challenges to conquer rather than threads to avoid. Do we need more reasons to lace our shoes in the morning? And we often find excuses, because of our busy schedules. We must prioritize differently and encourage our teams to do the same.
According to Andrew Huberman, a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, generative drive is one of the most important drives that we have, and it is essential for our overall well-being. When we are engaged in activities that align with our generative drive, we experience a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. We also feel more connected to others and to the world around us.
I learned about the concept of generative drive in the latest episode by Andrew Huberman with Dr. Paul Conti, a psychiatrist. I truly recommend listening to the full series on mental health in the Huberman Lab podcast.
Generative drive refers to the inherent human motivation to create, explore, and produce new things. It’s a concept that encompasses various aspects of human behavior, creativity, and innovation. While it’s not a well-defined scientific theory, several fields of research provide insights into generative drive:
- Psychology: Psychologists have long studied creativity and intrinsic motivation, which are closely related to generative drive. Research in this field explores how individuals are motivated to generate new ideas, solve problems, and engage in creative activities.
- Neuroscience: Neuroscientists investigate the brain mechanisms underlying creativity and innovation. They examine how different brain regions and neural pathways are involved in generating novel ideas and solutions.
- Education: Research in education focuses on fostering generative drive in students. It explores teaching methods and environments that encourage creativity and innovation, as well as how motivation affects learning outcomes.
- Business and Innovation: In the business world, there’s a growing interest in understanding generative drive as it relates to innovation and entrepreneurship. Researchers examine factors that drive individuals and organizations to create new products, services, and solutions.
- Evolutionary Psychology: Some scholars argue that generative drive may have evolutionary roots, as it could have provided an adaptive advantage for early humans in problem-solving and survival.
- Cognitive Science: Cognitive scientists investigate cognitive processes involved in idea generation, problem-solving, and decision-making, shedding light on how generative drive can be enhanced or inhibited.
While there isn’t a single unified theory of generative drive, these various research areas collectively contribute to our understanding of the human inclination to create and innovate. Encouraging generative drive can lead to advancements in various fields and promote individual and societal growth.
Massage therapists play a unique and valuable role in the world, and their work can indeed relate to generative drive in several ways:
- Physical and Mental Well-Being: Massage therapy promotes physical and mental well-being. By helping clients relax, relieve stress, and reduce muscle tension, massage therapists contribute to overall health and comfort. When people feel physically and mentally well, they are more likely to have the energy and motivation to pursue creative and generative activities.
- Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can be a significant inhibitor of generative drive. Massage therapy is an effective way to reduce stress and its negative effects on the body and mind. When clients experience less stress, they may be better able to focus their energy on creative endeavors and problem-solving.
- Pain Management: Many people seek massage therapy to manage pain, whether it’s from injuries, chronic conditions, or stress-related tension. When individuals are in pain, it can be challenging to concentrate on creative pursuits. Massage therapists contribute to pain relief, enabling clients to engage more fully in generative activities.
- Self-Care: Massage therapy promotes self-care and self-awareness. It encourages individuals to take time for themselves, prioritize their physical and mental health, and become more attuned to their bodies. This heightened self-awareness can lead to a greater understanding of one’s needs, potentially inspiring changes or creative pursuits in other areas of life.
- Inspiration and Ideas: For some individuals, a massage session can be a time of relaxation and introspection. It provides a break from the demands of everyday life and can lead to moments of inspiration or creative thinking. Clients may emerge from a massage session with new ideas, solutions to problems, or a refreshed perspective on their projects.
- Promotion of Holistic Wellness: Many massage therapists take a holistic approach to wellness, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. This perspective aligns with the idea that a balanced and harmonious life is conducive to generative drive. By addressing both physical and emotional aspects of well-being, massage therapists contribute to a more holistic and generative approach to life.
In summary, massage therapists contribute to generative drive indirectly by promoting physical and mental well-being, reducing stress, and facilitating self-care. When individuals are healthier and more relaxed, they are better equipped to engage in creative and generative activities, whether in their personal or professional lives.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.