AC4P with Dr. Scott Geller 010 | Consequences

As we enter 2021, we want to continue to do so with intention. What is the one thing we all do at the start of a new year? SET GOALS! But, we can't set goals without thinking about the consequences. Join Dr. Geller as he compares motivation and consequences and describes how you can't have one without the other. How can we alter the consequences of our behaviors to ensure we are switching from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. Make those goals and keep them!


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Dr. Scott Geller (00:23):
So let's talk about motivation. Why do we do what we do? There are complex theories about that. There are complex strategies about how to motivate people. Well, let's get real basic. Let's simplify this. One of my heroes, BF Skinner. He said it with three words, selection by consequences. We do what we do to gain a positive consequence or to avoid or escape a negative consequence. It's simple as that. Now, sometimes we get an intrinsic consequence. What do I mean by intrinsic? Not inside you, intrinsic means it's a natural consequence. You throw the baseball and you see where it goes. You read a book, natural consequences. You feel good about what you're doing. You enjoy reading a book, but not every child enjoys reading a book. How do you get people to get into enjoying something to receive the natural consequences, they get into the flow. Sometimes we have to use an extrinsic consequence, meaning an extra reward is added to the job.

Dr. Scott Geller (01:42):
So we might give a child an extra extrinsic consequence so they can become intrinsically motivated, which means they recognize they appreciate the natural consequences of the behavior. So do you work to gain a positive consequence or do you work to avoid an adversative consequence? Now I teach about 600 students in introductory psychology. First day of class. I asked them how many are here to avoid failing. Almost everybody raises their hand. And I say, well, thank you. I'm glad you're here. You're motivated by consequences. But if you're here to avoid failure, you told your friends, this class is a requirement, not an opportunity. It's a requirement. You "got to" go to class rather than you "get to" go to class and folks, it's a mindset. It's a mindset. It's the way you see it. Are you working to avoid failure or you're working to gain success or you a success seeker?

Dr. Scott Geller (02:57):
Those are the optimists, by the way, those are the people who are more likely to be self-motivated. Or are you a failure? Avoider? Did you wake up to an alarm clock or an opportunity clock? I mean, how do you see it? How do you see your life as working to gain or working to avoid losing? Both of those kinds of consequences are motivating, but we feel much better when it's a positive consequence. Now let's talk about influencing people. Let's talk about helping people feel better about what we're doing. We give them positive consequences, one kind of positive consequence is called an if-then reward. Meaning if you do this, that's an incentive. If you do this, I will give you this reward. I mean, that's why we work. Many of us are working to get a consequence and it's an if-then contingency, if you do this, you will get this consequence, but there's another kind of consequence we call it, Now-that. It's not if-then it's just a reward. It's we give people recognition. We give people a sense of accomplishment when they accomplish the behavior. So we're talking about, now that you've done this, I appreciate what you've done. It's giving people gratitude and you know what? We need more of that in this world. We need to recognize people for the right things, for the good things they do. And maybe just, maybe we can become more of a success seeker than a failure avoider.

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