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The Trophy Dilemma -- How Rewards Kill Potential

Updated: Jul 3

A flaming design.

The Double-Edged Trophy: Recognition vs. Motivation

Let's put the cards on the table: who wouldn't want a trophy for their efforts? Not just any trophy, mind you, but something grand and prestigious, a tangible symbol of your hard work and dedication. But pause for a moment, because this symbol comes with a hidden price tag: the cost of complacency.

Accepting the trophy might sound seductive, but consider its potential downside. With your achievements recognized, the fire of motivation that once fueled your journey could flicker and fade into oblivion. After all, if you've reached the summit, what mountain remains to climb?

Here's the paradox: you've conquered the challenge, reaped the rewards, and carved your name in the histories of success. Congratulations! You've achieved recognition, and it's yours to cherish forever.

But now, a crucial question arises, especially for one with ambitions worthy of a world-conquering villain: what's next? If the world bows at your feet, why should one work further to seize their potential? If you've reached the endgame, what purpose lies in repeating the same play when the curtain has already fallen, at least in your eyes? Would you prefer living a post-purpose life, when you can still do more?

That is how a life of accomplishment can make you weak: When it prevents you from honing your strength towards new and even greater goals.

My first accomplishment as a public author at Fiftanray Publication is only a problem if I allow it to be. Should I be too complecent, I will insult my vast potential of contributing to you. And I have no desire for that. I assume that neither do you.

There's beauty in defying convention, and here's where rejecting the trophy becomes an intriguing option for the long term. By avoiding rewards and their celebrations, you might sacrifice some visibility, but you can gain greater fuel for your engine. The fire of curiosity, the itch to explore new possibilities, the hunger for new challenges – they remain undimmed, urging you forward.

Never underestimate the power of delayed gratification. Gratify yourself too early and too frequently, and you will weaken your mind, making it dependent, if not addicted, to fun.

But the question looms again: to what end? Work until retirement? Until your final breath? Does your work lose its meaning if it's devoid of external validation? What drives you if not the promise of recognition? Be surprised, but some elderly folk still choose to work even after retirement, despite the fact they technically don't have to work. For some it is very important to work so they could stay active (physically and/or mentally), or because they still want to contribute to a cause they support.

Either way, these are the questions that dance at the crossroads of accomplishment and ambition. The trophy beckons with its alluring shine, but its embrace might hold the seductive whisper of idleness, which could, on the long run, deteriorate your mental health. While rejecting reward might mean navigating a path less celebrated, that path less traveled can be ablazed with the excitement of what we're truly capable of -- beyond our assumptions of ourselves.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Will you bask in the glow of past victories, or embrace the uncertainty of uncharted horizons? It's a decision worth pondering, for the answer lies not in the trophy itself, but in the fire that burns brightest within you.

From Victim to Pourer: Battling Past and Relent, One Article at a Time

I was once told by someone that I should rest because I did more than enough, and another told me I accomplished much despite my young age. These feedbacks left me questioning – was I on a rampage of content creation, or just dreaming of productivity that was only sufficent in my mind? A life of rest wouldn't boost my productivity, but pushing too hard hurt my well-being, in the form of overwork.

It all hinged on one burning desire: Proving my nemesis from the past wrong. She may not hear my words now, but I dream of the day recognition amplifies my name, echoing a sound "No, I am relevant."

For she broke me inside, only to build an empire-builder who is always hungry for more, who chooses to be unhappy so he could build even more. My hunger for expanding and improving my article empire remains absolute, invincible. For I thought I was already relevant, only to realize how wrong I was. And as such I refuse accepting my current relevancy as sufficent.

And I don't care about what I feel. It is through work that I liberate myself from my condition as a social minority, in a world that disregards the autistic and the mentally ill as liabilities, too unworthy to be hired for work, too unworthy to be loved than neurotypical people with no mental ailments.

"Although researchers have largely debunked the myth that autistic people tend not to be interested in romantic relationships, they have found that autistic people are more likely than neurotypical people to be single.
For instance, research from 2017 found that 50% of autistic participants were in relationships compared to 70% of neurotypical participants.
A 2019 study also found that autistic people’s relationships tend to last for shorter periods. They worry more about their future relationships, including how to meet prospective romantic partners, compared with neurotypical individuals."

I refuse being weak. Through the acceptance of agony, my chains are broken, and my thirst for power will liberate me from being discarded often, when I can do so much good in the world, as I want to, and can.

So, I choose to write. Not just because I can, but because I won't let past doubts or the fear of burnout define me. I choose this path not for recognition alone, but because the fire to write burns bright, for I know how fear limits us under its control. At twenty six, I've accomplished much, and retiring even after half a century wouldn't feel like fulfillment, but an insult to my relentless spirit, honed by ruthlessness. How could I forgive myself for silencing the writer within, when he can even a thousand times more than thus far?

Thus, I became a Rain, a Pourer of Articles. For in every word, I vanquish doubt, defy limitations, and prove my nemesis, and even my own doubts, wrong. This is my battle cry against the hand I was dealt with, with the pages of Philosocom, my lifelong battlefield. And I will write, not until I'm heard, but until my voice roars like thunder, drowning out the echoes of the past, and until I won't be able to write anymore.

With every article, I release myself from the chains of petty victimhood. I become a voice, a force, a storm. Learn from me, and see what you're truly capable of.

Nathan Lasher's Feedback

The idea is to not use trophies as an endgame reward but learning to use them as milestones and step stones to help you reach your next goal. 
How can your current goal help you reach your next goal? Do not look at them as endgames. Rather see the result of a goal as a first step towards your next one.
Those trophies should be reminders of self assurance that you are on the correct path.
No endgame should ever be in someone's mind. Only goals you’d like to reach while trying to accomplish something. Remember there are always new things out there you can learn which will better aim to help you help people. That should be the goal of “endgames”, to act as symbols that you have reached a good level of understanding on a subject. Your goal at the end of life should be to be the best person that you can be. This involves never stopping improving yourself. There will always be some area where you can improve. Your goal should not be to be a pseudo intellect and think that just because you got good at one thing that you are going to be super smart about everything  in the end. Life’s purpose is to gain as much knowledge as you can to help you do the most good.
If you think you have collected enough trophies simply go get yourself a bigger trophy case and keep at it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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