Rewarding Life May Be Counter-Productive When Rewards Undermine Habits

A new friend of mine recently asked “how do you translate ‘rewarding’ into German?” I found it was fascinating that this was difficult to answer. We had been talking (and continue to talk) about how language and culture are closely linked to one another (something very well explicated by Ludwig Wittgenstein).

I have also recently discovered the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast — in Episode #9 Gretchen and Elizabeth answer the following question:

What’s the best way to strengthen good habits through rewards? Great question. [for the answer, listen @ ca. 18:30 – 24:40 ]

A small spoiler-alert: Gretchen says it doesn’t work very well.

I agree, and this is one reason why I am working on a blog post about this topic, too. Yet in my post it is not so much about rewarding good habits, but rather more about the use of rewards in business, according to economics / economic theory, putting theory into practice, optimization of daily life, all of a community’s lives,  etc. It’s actually quite difficult to wrap your head around, because my thinking calls into question some very fundamental issues — stuff that is very ingrained in the type of thinking used in most western economies. I will probably publish this @ Socio.BIZ, but I will also (hopefully) remember to leave a “trackback” link here.

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