The intent of this article is to help us explore why we spend money in search of happiness. We all do it. Having a bad day because work was horrible and your boss yelled at you? Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes and a margarita – get a bit of happy. Having a good day because you got a promotion and recognized for your achievements? Reward yourself with a new pair of shoes and a margarita – embrace your happy. Both are “valid” reasons for positive reinforcement. However, the happy feeling doesn’t seem to last.
Typically we have no plan for a reward system other than the sporadic outings and expenditures (retail, food, drink and event). Should we consider implementing a system of positive reinforcement for our daily lives so we can enjoy what life has to offer good and bad?
Generally we view a reward system as a plan of action that is in place for children and even pets. A way to promote good behavior. Your dog did a trick? Give them a treat. Your child aced their exam? Make their favorite dinner with ice cream for dessert or buy them a gift. The general belief seems to be if something positive is accomplished, positive reinforcement is the way to go. (I’m not going to touch the debate over negative reinforcement). As a result our children embrace their happiness and know if they work hard their reward is going to come and our pet’s learn to sit, stay and protect us. (Please note, the comparison of children to animals is not intentional simply example!)These reward systems that seem to work and promote good behavior are given to us by a “higher authority”; normally a parent.
It seems to be that there are very few complements or gifts for positive choices as an adult (a “well done!” comment, a job promotion with 2% increase in salary, a yearly birthday celebration). These seem few and far between… I’m not saying daily praise is necessary. Perhaps to find a stable state of happiness we should consider a reinforcement (even a simple something-or-other) scheduled regularly that we can work towards and look forward to.
Then comes the thought: Is it possible to create a reward system for ourselves without depending upon someone else? Is it possible to hold yourself accountable and promote happiness throughout the process? Or do we need that authority figure with treats and praise in order to achieve our best selves (emotionally, physically, financially etc)?
Let me know your thoughts! Debaters welcome.
Also as a side note consider this … to create a reward system it seems helpful to have counsel; someone to learn from and hold you accountable. Ask yourself this: have you met anyone who did not enjoy having a personal trainer? Or someone to talk to such as a therapist or parent? Who do you talk to when you need to learn and improve upon your financial habits and set goals? Contact CCC today we are happy to be your person.