Richard G. Petty, MD

Making the Effort


Today’s comment may seem a bit stern and unappealing, but he is really saying something very important. Most of us do well if we are presented with effort-based rewards: you do something well, or you go the extra mile and you get some kind of payoff.

On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that one of the problems that we face has to do with unearned rewards: people getting accolades and awards – free stuff – without doing anything much to deserve it or them. And unearned rewards can actually have some quite negative effects on personal development.

“The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”          

–Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (French Historian, Educator and, as Founder of the International Olympic Committee, Considered the Father of the Modern Olympic Games, 1863-1937)   

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