I started a dance class this week. For as long as remembered I've always wanted to dance.
But I could never pull the trigger and sign up for a class.
I always had a reason - too busy, too expensive, not the right class…but the real reason was a belief that I wasn't going to be good enough.
My mother tells this story about how I was always two beats behind everyone in a pre-school dance class. Her point --- that I'm not particularly gifted at dance stuck to me like glue. It cemented this fear that...
"The best idea I've ever heard in psychology is this. People's behavior is driven primarily by two main, external forces. Driving forces and restraining forces. If you want to change people's behavior, there is a good and a bad way to do it. The good way is to diminish restraining forces, not by increasing driving forces. That turns out to be profoundly non-intuitive."
-- Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and Nobel Laureate citing Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist who developed many ideas cen...
"There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment." -- Ursula Le Guin
From the essay, Dogs, Cats, and Dancers: Thoughts about Beauty.
Lately, I've become very aware of the ways we punish ourselves to achieve our goals.
It's not surprising that most of us use punishment as fuel for our dreams. There's an entire body of research on negative reinforcement. Heck, there's a website called Stickk.com that punishes you if you don't achieve your goals....