I’ve come to realize that when it comes to a choice between a carrot and a stick, I work better for carrots. In fact, if you give me the carrots, I’m pretty much guaranteed to respond to the bribe. Sticks, though, not so much. Do with me what you will. I won’t respond.
Today I’m writing this blog post from the JCC with a cup of their excellent coffee by my side. That’s the bribe to write: excellent coffee. So why am I doing this at the JCC? Because writing is my bribe to work out. I get an hour of writing with excellent coffee and in exchange I’ll do the workout. Because people like me give honest effort for the value exchanged.
Seth Godin of Akimbo and Permission Marketing fame talks about this powerful concept as “People like us, do things like this.” It’s everything.
Writers like me, do things like write. Healthy people like me do things like work out. So when I bribe myself with coffee, it’s because writers like me drink coffee. (Oh, I know that you don’t all drink coffee. But coffee is pretty much associated in my mind with writers.) When I bribe myself with writing, it’s because writers like me write, so it reinforces my preferred worldview.
Seth Godin says that everyone acts in accordance with their internal narrative, so to make change happen, you need to change the internal narrative.
I was once offered a bribe to give someone a library card without proper ID. It would have bought me groceries for a week, but I turned it down without a moment’s thought because “people like me don’t accept bribes.” I acted in accordance with that internal narrative and then spent the rest of the week wishing I had the money and fantasizing about what I would have done if I were someone else.
Each time I write, I reinforce my internal narrative that I am a writer. That’s why I do this blog each morning. Writers write. I am writing. I’m part of the tribe. It’s fun.
Whatever your internal narrative is, I hope you are feeding it the right food. Because people like you, do things like that.
Be well, friends!