Rewarding People vs. Becoming a Better Person

legos
My Prized Lego Set!!

When I was just a little “Josh” I use to love to be rewarded. I would battle to the death for a trophy in sports, or make all “A’s” in school for some ice cream from my parents. I did things for a big reward or a small reward, it didn’t matter, I wanted the reward. I rarely if ever thought about why I did the things I did. Over time though I began to do things for a different reason. I would make good grades, because I hated feeling stupid, so I learned and explored my educational opportunities to the fullest.  I became smarter. I didn’t play sports for trophies and ribbons; instead I played to become the best I could be. I enjoyed dominating in a game, and seeing myself improve daily. I started to do things because I wanted to become something better then I currently was. I have never drank alcohol because I knew it wouldn’t make me a better athlete, and now as a husband, father, coach, and educator, I still have never drank, because I want to be the best role model for those looking up to me. I changed with age my reasons for being and doing.

With money a lot of people think of it as the reward for a days work. We work so we can get the prize, and then use it to get the next prize. We can buy candy if we are five years old (or 36), or we can buy a new iPhone 10, with super pixels, and mega screen. We work and view our money in a child like manner at times. We get pissed when our entire prize is spent on bills and we don’t get our reward. We don’t get that new car, big nice house, or fancy vacation package to that beautiful beach of our dreams, and then we use our new iPhone 10 to rank about it on social media.

So, since we are pissed that we don’t get our reward, we scheme, and plan how we can get that vacation and the new car, with the money that is being spent on the bills we have to pay to live our lives. We pull out our credit cards, get car loans, and use an ARM loan for the house. We can put our pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapghost and now show the world our rewards, purchased without our reward money. People will like them, share them, even respond in the comments about what a great life you have. They may even use the term “blessed” to describe your life!  But its all a lie, because you stole your reward using other people’s money.  You didn’t earn the prize.

However, your bills are getting larger, your prizes cost more, and you are spending more time working overtime and side hustles to make the payments. You are depressed, but always post a smile online. You are feeling alone, even though you have 1,000 followers, 2,000 friends, with 12 active streaks. You are living for the reward, and the rewards begin to erode your life and you personally. This is where you hit the breaking point and change has to happen.

Scouts
Not a fan of Boy Scouts, but I support my son becoming a better person through it.

This is the point when you begin to become the person you want to be. You begin to change your life, take control of your money, and instead of rewarding yourself with others peoples money, you use your money to become the best you. The best you can survive in a smaller house with 20% down. The best you can drive a car that is so ugly you give it name such as, “The Shredder” or “ The Jelly Bean.” Your vacations can be spent at the local library, at the park, or at a local free festival, unless you pay in cash in advance for something better. The vacation paid for in cash before hand is a true reward.  You spend your money on training yourself to do better at your job through online courses, and on developing your friendships in person at the coffee shop. You aren’t working to pay for the cable bill anymore, and you begin to not miss television. You find yourself outside more, reading more, laughing, and napping on your couch.  Your reward is how you feel inside, your relationships, and having control of your time.

You eventually begin to work on finding your true meaning of life because you aren’t stressed, busy working on you online profile and posts, and you have time to actually just think. You begin to become something new because there is no monkey on your back anymore. You are becoming the best you that you can be.

Now imagine a world where these concepts are taught in the home, at school, in church, and seen throughout our communities. Imagine if they are traits portrayed in television and in music for all see. We have the power to change the world, change the future, and alter our definition of success. We can be powerful and accomplish anything if we had the time to slow down, think, and get our priorities straight. We have to stop chasing our rewards and start becoming. I’m not saying never take a vacation, but travel more to learn about other cultures, religions, and customs. Learn to appreciate differences in our world. Do things to become the best you can be. I hope I inspired someone with this post, because in our society we have a lot of people who just need to view the world a little differently to unleash their talents. Help yourself, and someone else get there, we all have influence.  Become better.

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8 Comments

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  1. Very inspiring post, Josh! The freedom to become the “best you” can easily be lost in the shuffle of the expected steps in life or the society norms.

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  2. Love the encouragement, Josh, and I agree, the world would be better off if folks would throw off the bondage of debt and consumerism that our culture is just full of. And, like you, I’ve been deeply in bondage to it, too, although I’m happy to say that, like you, we’re seeking to become the “best you” right now!

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  3. Very nice, inspiring post John. A great reminder about how much more satisfying and free you feel when your financial ducks are all lined up. Plus, did I mention that you will be a happier and healthier. Our culture is funny, and I think social media is making the problem worse. Everyone wants to have the best life, take the best trips, even if they do not have the means to achieve this goal. It isn’t easy, but fiscal discipline and earning a vacation or reward the hard earned, practical way is what should be the focus in my opinion. Thanks for the great read and reminder about sticking to my financial plan and executing!
    Bert

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  4. If things we acquire cannot make us better people, things do lose the meanings to enhance lives. I often tell my kids, if whoever they are with cannot make them better people, then evaluate why they are together. This posts a lot of question of their self-worth…and in hope, as a mom, I wish they find their life compus because of their constant evaluating their friends, partners and things they own.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  5. Begin with the end in mind! Great perspective and I’m glad you have recognized the value of Scouting for your son. No other youth development program or sport has been proven to foster values and an others orientation in youth to the same extent. I’m sure he will ace his Personal Management Merit Badge someday!

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