Here’s a question for you. When was the last time you celebrated or simply acknowledged yourself for making the tiniest bit of progress—despite the difficulty?
Sadly, the answer for most will be ‘I can’t remember.’ Perhaps this is why so many struggle, in vain, to change.
Positive reinforcement—anything from patting yourself on the back to popping open the bubbly—works for one simple fact. Rewarding yourself feels good.
And any pleasant sensation triggers the release of pleasurable chemicals, like dopamine, encouraging the brain to keep repeating the behavior.
“It’s no secret that we derive pleasure from doing things we enjoy,” said neuroscientist Rui Costa, CEO of Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. “The brain learns which activity patterns lead to feel-good sensations and reshapes itself to more efficiently reproduce those patterns.”
It’s why teachers give kids gold stars and cute stickers to encourage behaviors that may not come naturally or feel good right away.
Rewiring for Wealth is anything but pleasurable in the beginning because it often requires delayed gratification. There’s no immediate reward for spending less, saving more, or investing wisely. But the feel-good payoff for dining out, buying a new pair of shoes, or traveling to Tahiti is instantaneous.