Issue of January 13, 2019
Mt. Province

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The other side of rewards

There is a free trip to Disneyland. If you want to join, you have to be a good citizen by not breaking any law or hurting anybody.

Rewards influence us. However, I am uncertain if it really does good or effective in changing one’s behavior.

According to Alfie Kohn, author of “Punished by Rewards,” rewards are effective for people who are in a state of need. However, it is unrealistic to keep somebody depend on something for a long time to achieve change. Humans by nature are willed and independent. They pursue their choices. Moreover, if reward is offered in exchange for an act of doing or being, one may just be interested for the price instead of the change. In addition, if one does not feel the need of rewards, he/she may despise the deal.

Rewards are also effective in the short term. So, to keep one from doing or being, rewards must be sustained which is impractical. What if one runs out of rewards? What if the demand for rewards escalates? What if the reward does something wrong? Moreover, when the rewards are out, people would go back to their previous acts or become worse as compared to those who were not rewarded, the researchers say.

So, at what exactly are rewards effective? It is to induce compliance if this is the objective alone. But if the objective is to get long-term quality in the workplace, to help students become careful thinkers and self-directed learners or to support children in developing good values, then rewards like punishments are absolutely useless. In fact, it is worse than useless because they are actually counterproductive, the study asserts.

In addition, individuals offered with rewards tend to choose easier tasks, are less efficient in using the information available to solve novel problems, and tend to be answer-oriented and more illogical in their problem-solving strategies. They also seem to work harder and produce more activity but of a lower quality and contains more errors, and is more stereotyped and less creative than the work of comparable non-rewarded subjects working on the same problems.


Revisiting year 2018

We are often told that for us to understand the future, we must study the past. There is a need to look back on our previous experiences. In one way or another, they played vital roles in our lives.

Past events are worth remembering. They contribute essential lessons to us. They might even help define our future. Those experiences can be our stepping stone to start a better life. We learned from them especially from our mistakes and struggles. Of course, they made us wiser. Hence, we will be more cautious in our actions and decisions.

Year 2018 was full of challenges to most Filipinos. There were terrifying calamities that hit or have shaken our country. Many individuals and families were affected particularly by the wrath of strong typhoons. There are lives that were claimed by massive landslides and floods. Agricultural lands and infrastructures were also destroyed.

Amidst those trials, we remained strong and hopeful. We are convinced that all challenges can be surpassed through unity, cooperation and compassion. It is evident that during the tough times, we became sensitive with others’ feelings and situations. Many extended their hands to those who cried for help or assistance.

Life is unpredictable. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring. However, the good foundation we built yesterday is enough to combat whatever negativities and adversities that come our way. Beholding the sacrifices of our heroes to fight for our country, Filipinos are really brave and patriotic. We don’t easily give up for the good of everybody.

Our history will serve also as our basis to do greater things and avoid what are not helpful to us. For instance, preservation and conservation of natural resources must be strictly observed. We need to take good care of the trees and mountains. This will lessen soil erosions and landslides.

We all have stories to tell about our journeys in the recent year. For me, I’ve been to long, rough and winding roads and valleys of darkness. It caused me so much pain and sorrow.

I was fooled and disrespected by a man who is eight years my senior. This is my most painful and unforgettable experience last year. It took me several weeks to recover from heartaches. In the long run, that incident gave me a lesson. I learned that trusting a man should not be based on age, appearance, and professional status.

This made me realize that it is better to be more vigilant and alert to dig deeper the personality of a person whom you will commit yourself. Moreover, love takes time. It is not built in just few seconds. Like plants, they need to be cultivated everyday and they need fertilizer, water and sunlight to grow abundantly.

There will always be surprising events that will linger in our life as time passes by. It does not matter if they are happy or sad. The important thing is that we are ready and confident to face them appropriately. Remember, “Everyone is responsible for his own happiness.”

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