HOW CONDITIONED ARE YOU?
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rewards offered by your people in the ways they expect, their plans may be thwarted and the prospect of rewards may be withdrawn.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
Will it be all right on the night?
‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is the philosophy that a performance will be successful, overcoming earlier problems. Performers can be athletes, sports players, stage artistes, musicians, artists, writers or orators. The presence of an audience, other competitors or judges can possibly stimulate achievement surpassing what they had attained previously in training, practice or rehearsal. A performer who has a large home crowd on the edge of their seats usually does her best.
A performer who is able to achieve a personal best in training is advantaged. Not all training is for fine tuning. Training can be done for preparation, technique development and refinement, physical testing, assessment, familiarisation, habituation to venue and climate, lowering of perceived effort, hypertrophy and to build self-confidence. Practice and rehearsal aim to anticipate performance and competition conditions. At elite levels ‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is less acceptable and instead many performers follow long, intense training programmes.
In my novel ‘Time is Gold’ Maxi experiments with and learns to use Extreme Flow for an attempt on the world marathon record, coached by her physicist partner Jack and a team of experts in psychology, physiology, neuroscience and Zen. The story is futuristic and describes fine-tuning for top performance. Available on Amazon https://martinknox.com
A PLEA FOR NEW NATIONAL GOALS THAT INSPIRE
A 3-min read.
People are of different types, from high achievers to vague drifters. They all benefit from purposeful government, because without purpose and goals, often little of real value results. Goals motivate achievement. Motivated humans can achieve greatness.
The Egyptian pyramids are evidence of unequalled human accomplishment. The pyramid builders probably valued the pyramid as a cultural icon. NASA’s Apollo programme had a man-on-the-Moon goal. The work meant more than collecting one’s pay. Humans can strive in cooperation if goals are well-defined, their challenge is accepted and achievement is by overcoming difficulties, not by winning.
Happiness is the main purpose we have. We need it for our health and well-being. Suppose a government could make a new beginning and wanted happiness for its people. What types of happiness should that government seek? There are four kinds of happiness according to The Happiness Alliance they are: eudaimonic help to others (making a difference; community; altruism; levelling); psychological flow (existentialism; freedom); hedonistic consumption (sociality; acquisition; travel; sport; arts); or spiritual escape and religion.
Although these types of happiness can be produced by government actions, they are too embedded and indeterminate to be planned and budgeted. This is a problem, because precise a priori happiness goals are needed to inspire achievement. Neither wealth nor GDP growth promote the happiness of enough individuals for surrogacy.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation,’ identified many types of satisfaction: physical; emotional; social; psychological and spiritual in a hierarchy cumulating satisfaction from provision. For example, a person won’t be able to satisfy self-esteem needs while they are starving. It is proposed that a government should plan and budget for its people to achieve satisfaction of the needs categorized by Maslow, beginning with basic physical needs, then progressively higher needs, which would be satisfied with cumulating happiness.
What if each of safety, belonging, esteem and cognition was adopted as a programme goal? Could elaboration of Maslow’s goals inspire and prioritise government spending? Please tell someone who could use this approach.
If the donkey knows what is required and the carrot inspires it, no stick is necessary. Sticks don’t drive us these days. Goals are carrots when they achieve happiness.