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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter suggests that human beings have two motivational systems—the egosystem, which promotes self-centered, self-interested, and egoistic behaviors, and the ecosystem, which promotes connecting to and caring for others—and describes their characteristic features. Egosystem motivation involves self-image goals, zero-sum views of the relation between self and others, and feeling “at the mercy” of others. Ecosystem motivation involves compassionate goals, non-zero-sum views of the relation between self and others, and feeling “at the source.” The two systems are negatively related, so that when people are motivated by the egosystem, they are less likely to be motivated by the ecosystem, and vice versa. The chapter considers implications of these systems for psychological well-being and relationships, particularly how people might use these findings as tools for shifting from one motivational system to another, fostering their desires to connect and belong and shaping their own and perhaps others’ psychological well-being and relationships.

Keywords: self, goals, egosystem, ecosystem, self-image, compassion, zero-sum, well-being, relationship

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