I adopted a puppy a few weeks ago, but you’d already know that if you could smell my jacket.
I’m packing a pocket-load of those horrendously over-scented “bacon” treats to reward my furry guy every time he does something good — or to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do, like go to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s the positive reinforcement method of training — if he gets a yummy reward every time he does something he should, he’s more likely to do it.
So I smell like I doused myself in off-brand imitation-meat cologne (possible spokesperson for this fragrance: Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino?), but if the practice gets him to chew on one of his 7 million toys and not my running shoes, I figure it’s worth it.
My new signature scent got me thinking about the value of positive reinforcement when it comes to consumers and life insurance, too. We’ve been conditioned to expect that, when we give our hard-earned money away, we’ll receive a treat — a car repair, an iPod, a bag of groceries — in return. That’s the way it works.
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But when we purchase life insurance, we don’t get that treat right away. We fork over a large amount of money or make payment after payment after payment — only to be rewarded handsomely…when we’re dead. And what’s the fun in that?
Of course, when you purchase life insurance, you do receive the reward of peace of mind that your family is protected and, with many policies, living benefits that you can take advantage of eventually. Of course, we also receive a large number of logo’d calendars, pens and mouse pads from our insurance agents when we make a purchase, so that’s kind of a reward. And of course, humans are smarter than puppies — for one, we don’t eat everything we find on the ground (if it’s been there more than 5 seconds anyway).