Rewards or Punishment?

“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments – there are consequences”. Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899)

For everything we do in life, there are consequences – not punishments, not rewards, but plain and simple….consequences.

These results may not be what we expect. How often have you heard these words…or possibly spoken them yourself? ……”I didn’t mean for it to turn out like this”, “It wasn’t my fault”, “I wanted so much more for my life” Our life’s outcomes are the consequences of the decisions made on a daily basis.

If we eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis, chances are that as we progress in life, we will have significant health issues. Type 2 diabetes is on the increase around the world and is the consequence of unhealthy choices in the food we eat.

You see a brand new outfit in the shop window, and just have to have it, even though you have bills to pay and you are already a bit short with this months budget. Never mind your inner voice may say….I can cut back on other expenses and everything will be fine. But what happens when you have an unexpected medical bill to pay or you have car problems that just have to be fixed….you have just added another few dollars to an already overused credit card.  The consequences………your cards are maxed out, you are paying more interest than you can afford, and the vicious cycle of debt, loan repayments and debt collectors commence.

This is not a post about making bad choices,and berating you for doing so……we have all made choices that in hindsight wish we hadn’t made. No, it is a wake up call that in all we do, in all we say, in all we feel…there are consequences.

These consequences can also be extremely positive.

By prioritizing and choosing to spend time with your loved ones building a loving, positive relationship at the expense of doing other things can build a platform of mutual trust and admiration. A pretty good consequence I believe! By choosing to eat healthy “real” foods rather than over-processed packaged empty calories, we increase the chances of living a relatively healthy lifestyle.

Which brings me to the most important part of this post, Whatever choices we make and whatever we do, know that there are consequences and own your choice. Take full responsibility for those consequences of that choice. If you choose to work towards a desired outcome rather than spend your time on other pursuits,  own that too – don’t kick yourself, or let others kick you, for your commitment.

Our lives do not come with an Instruction Manual – this is something which we need to write ourselves – our own choices, our own decisions and ultimately our own consequences!

I find this extremely liberating – knowing that my choices will bring about my consequences – even when I have made choices that, in hindsight, were not my best. We cannot continue to keep behaving and acting in the same way, and expect different consequences!

Choose your behavior and choose your outcome! Understanding that you can make new choices, and new actions which will bring about new consequences……very empowering. No matter what you do, remember: the choice is yours to make.

Enjoy your consequences!


About Brenda

Read more about Brenda on the About Brenda Freeman page.
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18 Responses to Rewards or Punishment?

  1. Belinda says:

    I visit your site regularly to read your posts, and this is one of your best.

    I like the thought of my actions, my consequences 🙂

  2. Hi Brenda,

    What a refreshing post! I don’t believe in the “punishment” theory. It only takes away responsibility of our own choices. However, consequences are things that we experience when we do something like the examples above. The main thing is that we learn from our experience. We cannot should have on ourselves. That only makes us stagnant. Instead, take responsibility, learn from it. and change what you have done that brought you down in some way.
    Thanks again,

  3. Amanda says:

    Hi. I have missed your great posts. you hadn’t posted anything for a while – glad to see you back on track – I missed you 🙂

  4. Katybeth says:

    All good points. We do have to choose and live with the consequences of those choices-however I also think the good news is when we make a poor choice, the wrong choice or an undesirable choice we can use the consequences as motivation to make a different choice next time.
    Hope all is well!

    • Brenda says:

      Yes Katybeth, consequences can be a fantastic motivation to make different choices.
      “If we keep doing what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always got”
      All is wonderful here – thank you. Sending best wishes your way too 🙂 Brenda

  5. Hey Brenda landed here from Donna’s page and m glad to be here as I was missing something very important and useful. Yeah I am talking about your writing. I completely agree when you say that there is nothing like rewards or punishments, its all about consequences but then why sometimes consequences are not perfectly accurate.
    Can nature ever make a mistake?
    Just for a small example when we do some good deed, the consequence not always come as good, it also turns into something bad at times. So is that nature’s mistake or what.

    • Brenda says:

      Welcome to Mind Recipes Shiwangi.

      Regarding your question – when you say you have “done a good deed”, it sounds like there was an expectation of a certain outcome which “should” have resulted from your actions.

      We only ever have control over our actions and reactions and other people don’t always “run the same program” or see our expected outcomes we expect (and neither they should). Knowing in your heart that you have done “good deeds” is enough. The other person has the decision what to do with that deed.

      I will look forward to reading your comments again soon. 🙂

  6. Robyn Scanlan says:

    This is exactly what we tell our children. We don’t say “good” or “bad”, we discuss outcomes and ask them to think of the outcome they want in order to guide their decision making. Great article. It puts us back in control

  7. Edmundo says:

    Enjoyed reading this – thank you

  8. Maria says:

    I’m a writer from Herrenhof, Switzerland – thanx for spending some time to write about this issue here on your site.

  9. Rosario says:

    I only want some post to post them in Facebook.

    If there is a problem with not able to find a password can you help me with that?



  10. marian says:

    Hi there! I’m definitely glad I found this site and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  11. Penelope says:

    Nice post. I am impressed!
    Extremely useful information. Thanks and best of luck.

  12. Fredericka says:

    I see a lot of interesting articles on your blog. Really enjoyed reading them

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