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- Surveyed the wrong sample.
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It may be disquieting to ask you to reflect on the rewards you are getting in your life and what you have done to get them. I want you to appraise your rewards and conditions realistically, without reducing your happiness.
You could be in an exchange relationship with some or all of the following: partner, child, parent, friend, mentor, trainer, coach, employer, landlord, bank, utility, grocer, supplier.
The rewards you get from these people could be affected by what you do: the quality of your interactions, your tasks and the opportunities available.
You rewards could depend on the conditions of: each transaction separately; their satisfaction in the relationship; their desire that you perform in a particular way; whether they could get the same thing from someone else; established obligations on both sides; parity with your peers; their plans for you.
The reward conditions could be intended to motivate you. The theory of motivation proposed by B F Skinner is behaviour is a function of its consequences. His rats learned to press a lever to get pellets of food delivered to them. If there are positive consequences the behaviour tends to be repeated. Negative consequences tend not to have the behaviours repeated. Positives and negatives can be varied in many ways.
Employers could apply monetary rewards and personal recognition by promotion or material benefits, such as an improved workplace.
Family and social relationships could reward you with acknowledgement and gifts.
Education rewards could be acknowledgement of prestigious accomplishment.
Commercial relationships could be rewarded by personal price discounts or favours.
Alternatively, such external rewards may not be motivating you. Your preferred achievement could be by internal goals and self-fulfilment, allowing creativity and maturity. There is danger in seeking only internal rewards. If you are not responding to the rewards offered by your people in the ways they expect, their plans may be thwarted and the prospect of rewards may be withdrawn.
To get the most personal advantage, it is desirable to discuss with each of your people the rewards you would like from them, possibly negotiating details. They may be uncomfortable discussing your rewards with you because they have plans for you they want to keep secret. It could be to your advantage to uncover these.
The method of using positive or negative consequences to control behaviour is called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is predicated on you, the conditioned person, being susceptible only to rewards and not to reason. Likewise, they, the operator, has your respect only for doling out rewards. Reduction to the rewards dimension insults the humanity and companionship essential for successful relationships.
My writing on personal motivation and organisations is in my novels and posts on my blog: martinknox.com