Give a rat a cookie and they’ll keep going back for more.
It’s a learning behaviour. We reward what we reward.
People respond to those rewards. That behaviour that we accepted and even responded to positively? It’s coming back.
Donald Trump is not going to stop screaming and throwing fits for our attention. We’ve rewarded him too many times.
That kid at the back of the class isn’t going to stop throwing shit at her classmates either. We’ve responded to her too many times.
It even works for the rewards you give yourself. Do you reward yourself with junk food to make up for feeling about missing your work out? You’re enforcing that.
Do you reward yourself with an hour on the Xbox when you had a bad day and didn’t get anything done? Well guess what?
That behaviour is coming back. It’s coming back tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. It’s a behaviour you’ve got to break.
I once mailed my Xbox controller to myself just to break that pattern. It took a week to arrive. I hated myself for that week, but it fucking worked.
If you give a rat a cookie, they’ll keep doing the same thing. You know how to change that.
It’s a learned behaviour. We reward what we reward. And what we reward is going to come back to haunt us.
[This post by Jon Westenberg first appeared on Medium and has been reproduced with permission.]