In kindergarten and early grades, there’s a lot of motivation to be found in a cheap, meaningless sticker. Do well and get a green one – need some improvement and get a red one. Get a whole sheet of green ones for Parent’s Day and you’ll never be more upset in your life than when you get your first blue, yellow, or, god forbid, red one.
As much as we might think we outgrow that, there’s a reason that almost every charity out there gives out SWAG. Give blood and you get a T-shirt. (I’ve got dozens.) Donate $10 and get a wristband or baseball cap. The WWF will send you a calendar for free with pictures of cute endangered animals, and if that inspires you to send them $25 or $50, well…
For WordPress, which I use to host this site, a few years back they started sending motivational posts to my comments if I posted something every day. I was already a little bit motivated (aka, “anal,” aka “OCD”) to post EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY! When I started getting e-stickers in my comment, I was five years old all over again.
I was doing pretty well. This was from June 4th.
But there are rules, apparently. And an atomic clock with no soul, no slack, no understanding of the need some of have to have something in our lives we can count on & control, no matter how miniscule that “atta boy!” might be.
So on June 5th, like many, many other days, I was running late, on a deadline, trying to get something quick posted, and trying to make the pictures look nice. And I probably took one more pass through Photoshop to eliminate some dust on the sensor in one of the pictures – and I posted this at about 00:00:06 AM. And I did not get an e-sticker that night. Or on the next. Or the next.
The string was broken.
But finally on June 10th, I was congratulated for posting 5 days in a row. And back at it, last night I got:
There but for a few tardy seconds, tonight would be day #524 in a row. But it’s not.