We all know that positive re-enforcement works better than punishment. The punishment for failure or wrong behavior may appear to correct the behavior for a short-term however this is only an illusion. The absence of symptoms does not mean the cause is gone. Only when there is a reflection, an acceptance of mistakes, learning, and a corrected action will things truly improve. Dispensing harsher punishment decreases the guilt that people will feel about the mistake they made. In their mind, “I paid for my mistake” or “I more than paid for my mistake”. Internally they have cleared their conscience of any wrongdoing and have erased the incorrect behavior from their mind. They will avoid making the same mistake, not due to an understanding of what went wrong and the understanding that there is a better way of doing it but just because they avoid it out of fear.
When we give positive re-enforcement, no punishment for mistakes except a dialogue to reflect and learn and a reward for success, people are interested in learning and doing better. This is what we want. People being motivated to try, learn and do better because they want to.
We all know how many times a toddler falls before they walk steadily. We don’t punish them every time they fall. When they make steady steps, we cheer and celebrate. Somehow when people grow up, we don’t apply the same logic. We expect them to make steady steps even for things they are trying for the first time. We punish them for failure and take success for granted. Every time you expect someone to try something new, please apply the ‘toddler’s walking practice’ approach. Celebrate the success and be sympathetic to mistakes and failures. We learn faster and better.