The Neuroscience of Goals with Srini Pillay

In terms of goals, there’s simple cognition and there’s complex cognition. Simple cognition is “I need to go get some bread” or “I need to visit somebody who lives on particular street.” That’s pretty direct. It’s easier to get to that goal. You know where you’re going, you know how to get there and you use simple cognition to get there. But when you say “I want to make an extra 100,000 dollars” or “I want to fall in love” or “I want to enhance my state of happiness” or “I want to find the job that I truly love.” Those are more abstract goals and involve what we call complex cognition. And complex cognition involves more than just following some sort of formula. It really relies heavily on your own sense of ingenuity. – Srini Pillay


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Dr. Srini Pillay is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Part-Time) at Harvard Medical School. He is known for combining “head and heart” (figuratively and literally) in an approach to personal development and goal mastery that blends science, spirituality, and horns-grabbing joie de vivre to combat the stresses faced by ambitious and high-achieving people in academia, business, and life.

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