virgin islands scene

It's no use saying, "We are doing our best." You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.
-- Winston Churchill


Monday, July 15, 2019

Make the rewards real

When someone expects to be rewarded for no effort, there is no effort, and thus no real reward. Not only does a participation trophy fail to confer self-esteem, it actively hinders true self-esteem.

The value of the reward is created by the earning of that reward. Absent the effort to earn it, the reward, whatever form it takes, is little more than a meaningless token.

Receiving praise you have not earned makes you cynical, about yourself, about those offering that praise, about the world in general. Repeatedly receiving material goods you have not earned makes you dependent, and soon enough, resentful.

Real achievement has value precisely because it is so difficult, because the odds against it are so high. The fact that you can put forth sustained effort and create value, is an amazing state of affairs, deserving of your constant gratitude and utilization.

Seeking to cheat the process ends up seriously cheating and depriving yourself. Life gets unbearably grim when you prevent yourself from making a difference, yet fortunately that never has to happen.

Always, in every moment, are opportunities to contribute your effort, to earn the fulfillment of a life well lived. Do the good work, respect others enough to expect the same of them, and make the rewards real.

— Ralph Marston

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