Thursday, October 08, 2009
Bet on your grades
While hanging out together one Sunday afternoon, I mentioned to my friend Steven Wolf that I had an exam the following day and that if I were to study I was sure to get an A. (At the time, I was a student at University of Pennsylvania.) But I was enjoying my Sunday afternoon, and I told Steven that I had no intention of studying. That's when, in order to provide me with motivation, we made the following agreement: If I got an A on the exam, he would give me $100, and if I didn't get an A, I would give him $20. Steven and I quickly realized that lots of other students might like this kind of motivation. To that end, we began developing what is now Ultrinsic Motivator Inc.They'll also let you hedge your grade risk by buying grade insurance. I love that you can now but insurance against my grading practices.
You can work really hard to get the right GPA and leadership and all the other stuff that big money scholarships require but there's no guarantee you'll get it, you still have to beat everyone else.
Personally, with distant, difficult to attain and uncertain rewards (like getting a big $20,000 scholarship), I lose motivation. The light at the end of the tunnel is too far away!
But instant, guaranteed rewards, even if they are much smaller ($100), are much better motivators for me.
Maybe I would have eaten the marshmallow too quickly.
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