Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Employing the Psychology of Reward

We will find time to do the things we want to do; those things that motivate us because of the rewards we receive. Ordinarily we think we are forced or externally influenced to do what we do, but really we choose—again, for we get out of it.

Where it all gets confused, in this oft busy life, is when we have conflicting priorities and not enough time to achieve them all in. That’s the problem; not so much the thing we least want to do but feel like we have to do.

Appreciating This Psychology

If we agree that we are motivated only by reward—even if most times that reward may be to avoid punishment—then we are able to structure life in order to attract abundance, mutual blessing, positive outcomes, and the fruit of joy that abides with each of these.

We might:

1. Begin to see the bright level of empowerment we actually have. Choice is for many of us an inherent blessing we habitually take too much for granted. There are far many more people on this earth that might have much less choice than we do—still, the psychology of reward operates in and for everyone.

2. Cherish the awareness of our motivation for reward, learning to meditate and pray on the fact more and more, so that we can develop this level of awareness. Such a thing will only add more richness to our lives, and if that occurs, others’ lives will be enriched as well.

3. Understand how rewards motivate other people, and this will help us understand them better. Therefore, we will have more empathy, patience, and compassion. Furthermore, through our observations the value and complexities of wisdom is all the more underscored.

4. Challenge our actions; those resources we commit, like time, effort, and money to the things we do. Are they really delivering the reward we seek? If we richly desire to lose twenty pounds—with its associated medium to longer term benefits—we need to understand how shorter term rewards will either compromise the longer term goal or promote its achievement. We can’t work for a fleeting reward like tasty treats (and the instant regret we’re rewarded with!), but we can work for a reward that notes how good it feels to enjoy a balanced diet in moderation, feeling better in our clothes with each coming week.

Structuring Rewards Creatively

Employing the knowledge of rewards can help us achieve any foreseeable goal because we maximise the value of the rewards that lead us to our goal, all the while minimising sight and temptation of the rewards that lead us away from a goal.

Understanding the power of rewards is the key to our lasting joy; never again should we be motivated solely by avoiding punishment, for there is little power in that.

When we’re creative enough to envision and visualise rewards leading to life, God will inspire us to employ them. This is a classic example of practical salvation experience.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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