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TOEmpower

A Mind for Winners

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Reward or Punishment: Which is the more Effective Approach?

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Both reward and punishment are tools used to influence behavior. Rewards are given for noble activities purposes while punishment is for deviant activity and motivations. But which approach is more effective when it comes to persuading others to make great choices in life.

The driving forces for rewards are:

  • Recognition
  • Making a difference
  • Enhanced thirst for more positive change

The most effective thing about rewards is that they inspire an individual to continue to do positive things, whether those things are physical, mental or spiritual.  People love rewards because they honor them for something in which they have invested time, focus and hard work until perfection was reached.

People who enjoy the qualities of peace, happiness and prosperity in their lives spend their time and effort making sure these qualities abounds in their worlds. They believe in making the right choices in order to get what they desire.

The driving forces for punishments are:

  • Deviant choices and behavior
  • Creating Chaos
  • Increased defiance toward authority

The most effective thing about punishment is that it humbles an individual and makes him or her think about their actions.  The majority of people attempt to avoid the pain and isolation of punishment by following the rules and regulations of society.

Like reward-driven people, negative minded people desire prosperity and happiness as well. The difference between them and positive people is that negative people are willing to rebel against rule and regulations to get what they want.

Therefore punishments are applied to the lives of such people in order to instill value in their thinking and activities.  Hopefully, the outcome will be positive.

However, if we look at the American Prison system and the people who are released from prison after serving time, we can all agree that all don’t change.  A few will go back out into society and do well while others will return to prison for repeat offenses, including robbery, rape, and murder.

The same is true for deviant students in classrooms across America.  Students who care about the future of their livelihood respond well to rules and regulations and are rewarded for their conduct whereas students who don’t care about education and defy their teachers on a daily basis just don’t care what happens to them in the way of punishments.

Therefore, the effectiveness of reward and punishment depends on the individual. Some individuals will respond well to rewards by continuing to make wise choices and to change their lifestyles.  Other individuals just might respond to punishment more effectively. They will modify their attitudes and behaviors in order to steer in a more positive direction in life.

But unfortunate, there exist individuals who refuse to be influenced by either reward or punishment.  They make their own laws and follow their own rules despite what society says or does.

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