Punished by Rewards


I bought this book 25 years ago. I never read it. Just the TITLE was enough.

Punished by Rewards

I’ve come a long way in letting go of the need for a gold star or yummy treat or more More MORE MONEY as a reward for putting in effort.


“They” (meaning everyone) conditioned my animal brain to seek reward… and if the reward wouldn’t come… and I wasn’t going to alternatively be punished… then WHY bother?

This limiting belief still gets activated in me (often by default).

It takes awareness and energy to shift out of this mode.

  1. Is it happening again? Am I in the: “but why bother if I’m not going to be rewarded (or punished) in a big-enough way?”

  2. If I am in that mode, it’s essential to my thriving to shift out of it. I do that by tuning into whether it actually MATTERS to me. How does it express who I am, who and what is precious to me? If it does not, then yeah, I am not going to bother.

  3. If it DOES matter, then at minimum I will be nourished by putting my life energy into what matters to me (regardless of reward). It will feel different from the gold star, or “good boy!”, or yummy dessert. It will feel…

Meaning-FULL. Full of meaning.
Ful-FILL-ing. Filling me towards fullness.

That sensation is palpable. It just happens to be quieter, more subtle, than a dopamine rush (or crash).

I’m getting to a place where “reward seeking” has a similar tone to shoulding on myself. Neither activates my heartistry anymore.

Adapting to that is weird. But it is not classical procrastination. It is not classical avoidance. It’s compatible with making money but not the “driver” of it.

Exploring this feels like a core aspect to thriving. Who will we be, as humans, if – for example – we don’t “have to” work for the A+ or the paycheck. Who CAN we be if our energy is directed through freedom and doing work that matters WITH Source rather than for “rewards” of the survival kind?

Hmmmm… Mmmmm.

1 Like