… May very well be the most flourishingly amazing word in the language, the highest devised concept in the certainty/uncertainty of living, doing wonders for human motivation.
“Maybe” pushes things forward like nothing else and the sole fact of having to put in work for a chance of a reward afterwards is what we’re build for. It is necessary – this chance to fight for it, meet obstacles, overcome and triumph, to learn, relearn and adapt in order to MAYBE succeed. This is why instant gratification is toxic long-term and produces spoiled unfulfilled mutilated personalities, why reward without effort leads to disappointment, feelings of void nothingness, emptiness and inability to appreciate the end result without having lived through the journey leading toward it.
The study of motivation and dopamine reward systems hard wired into our brain chemistry show a strange unexpected thing. It was long believed that dopamine was only about the reward, that gratification of a desire released dopamine and made us feel all good, tingly and excited, but new studies have shown that dopamine release is as much about the anticipation of a reward – something the builders and attention engineers of Vegas knew very well experientially, although they might not have had the correct terminology or neurobiological fundaments to explain what was going on. The expectation of a potential reward makes you keep playing. The chance of one large success among infinite tries when you’re “putting-in-the-work” by pushing the buttons and pulling leavers makes you continue.
If you were rewarded each time just for doing the behavior it would lose its charm in a while and even the reward itself would feel empty because it is always at disposal. The chance to fail and introducing “maybe” into the mix is an atomic bomb of motivational energy. What if your team won each time, 100% of cases, you wore your lucky shirt. Well, that is what you’re hoping for in your magic thinking superstition behavior pattern, but the thing is you’re HOPING, there is a very real chance they won’t win and that makes you fan out like mad. The very real chance of losing, but wining despite this chance, is the magic of winning that brings the dopamine reward. The magic of life is the lurking chance of failing or succeeding, that “maybe” that peeks around the corner telling you that maybe, just maybe – you could win. Joy is not one blissful moment of ecstasy on the other side of getting the reward but a stretched out symphony of emotional rewards while going one step closer to the goal. No one would care if one team always won without exception and if they got the trophy just for showing up without playing and risking losing.
Maybe this will help with something you’ve got going on, maybe it won’t but the mere chance that it could give you some crucial piece of information and help guide you towards your reward is motivation enough to keep writing these little daily meditations on life, love and everything in between.