“The reward is in the doing.” Charles Schulz

We are much like Pavlov’s dog: almost everything we do is because of the reward.

While we did not reach our goal we salivate with anticipation, savoring the victory before it has come.

This is excellent.

You’ll savor the reward while persuting it and that keeps you focused, motivated and active.

After all we are not so different from a dog, and I bet he never attended any motivational speeches, nor was he taught methods of high mental performance techniques and much less gradual gratification.

Simply desire takes over.

The world disappears, the focus is total and complete.

Have you ever heard that “you will conquer everything you desire, if you wish hard enough”? No? Well, now you have.

The dog, like me and you, responds to a stimulus. It is a reflex that has conditioned the brain in order to perform an automatic response, even though the stimulus itself has nothing to do originally with our response.

An example that you might recognize (I recognize it well): You have a bankrupt company. Creditors want to receive the money they are entitled to. You want to pay everyone, but the money is not enough. The phone rings: a creditor asking for money. The postman rings the door: a letter from a lawyer, the phone rings again, new anguish, new creditors, more letters come in the mail.

Shortly whenever the phone rings you start to sweat, the door bell rings and you stay in a panic again. What does the bell have to do with adrenaline and fear? In itself, nothing, but your brain has been conditioned to respond that way because it has been associated with negative and threatening things enough times .

The same goes for your boss, for example. If he treats everyone badly, when you hear footsteps in the hallway everybody is just silent and afraid. After all it was the cleaning lady, but the stress has risen to the neck and the adrenaline will take a good few minutes or hours to stabilize.

The difference between you and the dog

(If there is any eheheh, forgive my sense of humor)

is that you can choose to change the stimulus, initiating a process of inner healing.

If the sight of the postman causes you distress do something that makes it rewarding.

For example, whenever you see him say “money, he’s the guy that brings me money” and imagine that he brings checks for you, coming from somewhere. After that, create this “somewhere”. Do something that allows people to send you checks. Write a book, teach, sell something on the internet, take what you know to do best and turn it into a business online.

Create the corridor through which people can send you money by mail.

You’ll see that soon the postman will be associated with positive emotion.

Do the same with the phone, or with a particular person that you avoid, or something else.

Whatever it is you’re conditioned the mind to respond with negative emotions you can change this by changing the associations you do in your mind.

And, to change these associations, you have to act, to do something, be creative.

That is why, even in very difficult circumstances, some people always have a comeback:  they change the negative into positive, the disadvantage into an advantage, instead of sucking on the lemon and make faces, make lemonade, quench thirst and still sell the rest, with good profit.

After all there are differences between us and a dog, and thankfully, I say.

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