Carrot or Stick! What Works for You?
If a list of mankind's greatest achievement is drawn up then the humble book must surely be near the top. Just under the internal combustion engine and anesthetics probably.
On a slow Saturday afternoon with the children yelling at each other and my wife's internal barometer dropping fast to stormy I decided to bundle the lot into the car and head off to Bargain Books. This made everyone very happy. On arrival we all split up and went on our individual treasure hunt looking for that special book.
As I wandered through the aisles I passed that curious section called Esoterica. There are all sorts of books about spiritual wellness. Tai chi, meditation, mystical beliefs and other practices that would have had you tied to a stake a few centuries ago. What stood out after a bit of browsing were the box sets. These attractively packaged sets offer peace, tranquility and enlightenment if you listen to the CD and read the little book that comes with it. Seven steps to nirvana. Find your inner joy in 14 days. All have one thing in common. They emphasise the good things that will happen to you. The carrot that makes us reach for the credit card.
Unfortunately these happy events are too vague to keep us going. What is peace, inner joy and tranquility? It is no wonder that these books and CDs end up in the second hand bookshop practically untouched.
What is it that gets us to do the work that brings us benefits later? Could it be the nasty consequences if we don't crack on with it? Perhaps we would follow the meditation course if the book was titled "Meditate or die Prematurely". There are probably studies on this.
The art section has similar promises of quick results. If you want to learn how to draw quickly and easily then you are spoilt for choice. Some books come with pencils and sketch books too, which will save you time on your journey to drawing excellence. I suggested to my wife that she try one of these drawing books, but she replied that she could already draw like Picasso then started laughing. She can be funny that way.
The world needs more artists, but there is just not enough stick to make it worthwhile for most. You see most folks go to work because if they don't they get fired and then there is no money. This makes the children unhappy. Most of us can endure miserable jobs on this system. But what if our work promised joy, peace and fulfilment. Imagine if we could do the work that made us happy. What if it was all carrot and we did not have to worry about the stick anymore. Oh there would still be things to buy and bills to pay, but instead of making these things central to our system we could focus on what we are passionate about. The obligations would still be met. We would have less debt certainly, because we would not feel the need to fill up our empty lives with junk on credit. This might just work.
I will let you know once I have finished listening to my CD.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa