Understanding 6: Rewards Render Us Passive

Rewards engage us in reactive ways; they engage and exercise the part of the brain that is adept at responding quickly, but incapable of higher cognitive functions like divergent thinking, creative problem-solving or compassionate inquiry.

“External rewards extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, crowd out good behavior, encourage cheating, become addictive, and foster short-term thinking.” –Dan Pink

  1. Presence, Not Praise: How to Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Achievement by Maria Popova

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
– he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power.

–Chuang Tzu (300 BC)