Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pleasure vs. Happiness: What's Your Goal?

I just read an interesting article entitled “Why Money Makes You Unhappy.” The article is worth reading on its own merits but I found myself intrigued most by something I noticed in the opening sentence of the first two paragraphs:

“Money is surprisingly bad at making us happy” and “Needless to say, this data contradicts one of the central assumptions of modern society, which is that more money equals more pleasure.” (Note: I added the underlining.)

Read those two sentences carefully and you’ll see that the author, like most people, believes happiness and pleasure are synonymous. They’re not.

We experience pleasure in the moment. It is superficial, but not necessarily tied to things we truly value. Happiness is a deeper, more meaningful psychological state we experience when we are engaged in satisfying relationships, meaningful work, significant accomplishment, or doing some good in the world.

Pleasure is like empty calories. They may taste good while you are consuming them, but they won’t sustain or nourish you over time. Drug users and chronic alcoholics experience lots of pleasure, but very little happiness. The same goes for those who engage in sex without relationship. Lots of pleasure. No real happiness.

Money can buy us a lot of pleasure. Look around you and you’ll see any number of people who experience plenty of pleasure. Spend any significant time with them and you’ll often discover that they are addicted to pleasure because it dulls the pain of living a life devoid of genuine happiness.

Are you working to get more pleasure or happiness in your life?