Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
We all have the potential for perfection.
It's just that we don't always find the right incentive.
Or, at least, that's what the two self-help books I've ever scanned told me.
It may be, though, that for some things the right incentive doesn't exist. A realistic incentive, that is.
What would it take, for example, to get you to go regularly to the gym?
Images of perfect bodies? The lure of a louche, but impossibly attractive lover?
Or, perhaps, cold, hard lucre?
I ask because some large-brained researchers thought they'd try to bribe people into going to the gym more often.
As the Washington Post reports, the various incentives offered were $30, $60 or a gift worth $30.
To get one of these rewards, all the human guinea pigs had to do was go 9 times to the gym in a six-week period.
That's nothing, right? It's barely more than once a week. Everyone can do that. If they're paid, that is.
The study was performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research and entitled Can You Bribe People To Be Less Blubbery? -- I'm sorry, I meant Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits?
Naturally, you'd imagine that at the mere hint of financial incentives, the participants -- who were already gym members - leaped to the task. After all, $60 can buy you at least four glasses of mediocre Chardonnay in many bars.
I fear your imagination needs exercise.
"These incentive programs did increase slightly how often people went, but only by about one visit, and then it really has no lasting impact," said Justin Sydnor, a risk-management and insurance professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and co-author of the report.
I worry about research.
I feel sure that if you'd offered these people, say, $500, they would have fulfilled the challenge and even organized a celebratory party in order to spend the $500.
Sydnor doesn't believe this to be the case.
He said that there was simply not enough difference between the results when people were offered $30 and $60.
The linear nature of this logic pains me so much that I'll have to foreswear the gym for at least the rest of the week.
I'm not entirely convinced that everyone has a price. I suspect it's more to do with "a price for what exactly?"
But I'm blissfully convinced that a large sum of money would have done the trick here.
Not that anyone would ever offer that much, of course.
On the other hand, doesn't Mark Zuckerberg want us to have a universal basic income? Why not a universal fitness income -- to be taken back if you don't go to the gym?
Please, though, let me vent about gyms and incentives. (He said, performing an exaggerated finger-stretch.)
One vast problem with gyms is that personal trainers cost so much. Many gyms might not have vast monthly fees, but goodness does personal attention require a penny much prettier than my current abs.
The Post mentions group dynamics and -- Lord save my sinews -- apps as being potentially able to drive you gymward.
I wish to rise above these notions.
Please, therefore, sponsor my quest to go to the gym more often by offering a minimum of $500.
It's for two good causes. My body and my bank account.