When I was in the Naval Academy Prep School one of the big lessons that I learned was that harsh punishments work.
I don’t think every outcome should have a devastating result attached to it but I think a fine balance between positive reinforcement and memorable punishments can be incredibly effective.
Most of those were instances were fun.
NAPs was not……
This is just one of about 100 stories of me being reprimanded for making mistakes
When we left our rooms it was expected that everything was tidy, bed was made and lights were turned off.
The room was clean, corners on the bed were squared, and off I went…..
When I returned apparently I had done the equivalent of exposing Top Secret information.
I received a pretty thorough “talking to” about remembering to turn the lights off and forgetting stuff like this was how people got killed in war.
After they were tired of “talking” to me they decided I needed a little practice in case I just wasn’t sure how to turn the lights off.
I was instructed to stand in front of the light switch and turn the lights on and off while saying:
“flick flick, the light goes on, flick flick the light goes off”
I have no idea how long I did that (we weren’t allowed to ever now what time it was) but they left and didn’t come back for a long time.
It was like being stuck in a rave, but there are no drugs and no-one is having a good time.
I drive my wife nuts because I almost never leave a room without turning the lights off and locking the door. (I lock her out of the house regularly)
Sometimes the lesson should be painful.
We remember pain.
This pain can be used to build good habits or change bad ones.
It’s isn’t about inflicting pain, but attention to detail is important.
We tend to shy away from scenarios where the outcome can be harsh and painful.
Maybe we should teach ourselves a lesson every once in a while.
I don’t know many good electricians that shock themselves on a regular basis.
Where are we not paying attention to detail?
What are we avoiding because not succeeding would be painful?
How long would that pain last?
What would be the result of that pain?
It’s ok if the lesson is harsh, pain doesn’t last forever.
And if a little pain gets us to the desired end state then there is strong argument that it was worth it.
Did you turn the lights off when you left?
(but I may have left the water running)