We’ve all heard the phrase or variations of it, “You catch more flies with honey”, about the importance of methods to get results.
No doubt we’ve all, at some point, been on the receiving end of the wild stick treatment and you want to reach out and crush the one dishing it out. We may fully understand the problem but that stick seems intent on striking away until the end of time, making us acutely aware of the depths of our ineptitude and doing everything in it’s power to crush us beneath the righteous ire.
But that delightful carrot is so much better.
Being given the chance to receive a reward for completing a task is great. You know that when you reach the finish line you’re going to be basking in the knowledge of a job well done as well as accepting the carrot you were promised. Everyone wins.
So why would anyone use the stick over the carrot?
The carrot rewards good performance yet the stick punishes poor performance. If the only thing available is the reward when you do well, the worst you can expect is not doing what you should. The stick gives it balance.
The stick on it’s own just becomes a landscape of dour, crushing bleakness where you end up looking over your shoulder all of the time, waiting for the inevitable explosion. In this situation, the carrot becomes that blazing beacon that means that life could be so much more. Balance again.
We see it in life, and I’m trying to stitch it into the books I’m writing, where people become stuck on one or the other rather than keeping that balance. The carrot becomes the way the hero does things, the stick, the baddies. Big Brother of 1984 existed as the ultimate stick whereas Julia is the carrot, the gleaming hope of a better world for Winston Smith.
Stories mirror life in so many ways and making sure that there’s balance in the way people interact and how systems function create the reality that make the world believable.
We all need to have both aspects of motivation. Being treated with too much saccharine or with too much salt isn’t good for us so we all need to make sure we give the same consideration to everyone else.
Onwards to the best results.