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Rewards and You

What is a reward?

Generally there is a purpose behind every behaviour. We do things for a reason. Very often we do not know the real reason behind a behaviour. Sometimes even , it has just become habit so the reason has disappeared. However if we look deep enough we can find it.

I have discovered through my life mentoring that the reward, or lack of, can be causing us problems. It leaves us carrying out a lot of behaviours and being disappointed.  We don't know we are disappointed though. in fact we may not realise we are - we just start to feel like a hamster on a wheel, feeling frustrated with life and heading towards burnout. . We just did what we did and wonder why it doesn't fulfil us. This article is to help you uncover the reasons. Why would this be important? because you may be able to eliminate some behaviours that aren't fulfilling their purpose and maybe provide direction for some others. The net result is that we will feel happier and will probably end up freeing up a lot of time. 

There are four categories of reward: extrinsic, intrinsic, tangible and intangible - with combinations of each.

Extrinsic - this is a reward that comes from outside of you, - externally. Often this is what most people think of as a reward.

Intrinsic - these come from within you. For example when you feel proud of yourself. When you have done something well you may give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back.

Tangible - there are real items - like a gift, flowers, chocolates, a note, money (please see the note below)

Intangible - these are not items - they could be words - "well done", a promotion, 

Why do you need a reward?

What I have noticed is that many people are not doing the things they think they should be doing. They are getting frustrated, mainly because they don't understand why and its making things hard work in their life. So the aim of this is to help you to understand and ease your life. Often times in life we like some kind of payback - a reason for things. Therefore a reward tends to help. As I mentioned earlier there is always a reason for the behaviour. 

How do you know what reward you want?

Sometimes we don't know what reward you want. So here is an exercise to help you uncover that. Think of the things you have done today or yesterday or this week. Make three columns on a piece of paper. In the first column write down what you did today. In the second column write down why you did it. Then in third column write down the reward  - what did you get or get given or give yourself for doing them. Did that feel good. Did it feel worthwhile? What would have made you feel better about it. Also make a note as to whether this behaviour is part of a long term goal or purpose that you are heading towards. Improving rewards Take a look at the rewards in your list. Check if they feel good. Does each one feel worthwhile? What would have made you feel better about it. Also look to see if they are instant or delayed. And finally mark against each one if it is intrinsic (comes from within) or extrinsic (you are relying on it to come from an external source). Ask yourself where you need to make changes and make a note of your suggested change. 

How do you get the reward?

Having completed the exercise above you will now have established why you are doing everything that you are doing. The more you write down the clearer it becomes. You can then eliminate the ones that don't have a point or purpose. And you can see why you did these things and what you are hoping to get in return . If the reward is intrinsic then this is putting in your control. So remember to reward yourself. Tell yourself well done at the very least! If its external - make sure its possible to get this reward. If you are wanting other to say well done then don't just sit there and hope for it! Go and tell them - "look what I did, isn't this great". You can totally do this, go an ask !!

Money as a reward

Money doesn't always work as a reward. It may be the pat on the back that you get with it or the promotion you get with it. Otherwise it's what the money buys (and if you read last weeks blog - you will know that its really about the feelings you get when you buy the item, not the item itself. Delayed Gratification How and when do you get a reward.  One of today's problems is that we are used to getting things instantly. So when your rewards aren't instant you can be disappointed. Delayed gratification is disappearing and this therefore means that some rewards are losing their value. For example - losing weight from eating differently or exercising does not happen immediately and if we don't see the loss happening then the reward's value is diminished and it makes it hard to keep going. Conclusion Look at what you do and make sure you are doing it for a good reason. Reward yourself for your great efforts!

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