LISTEN: Use the Reinforcement Principle, Part 3 (Get Things Done! #47 with Daniel Whyte III)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Ephesians 5:15-16 says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Our quote for today is from Thomas A. Edison. He said: “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 3 of Step 8: “Use the Reinforcement Principle”.

Q: Why does self-reinforcement work?

A: First, procrastination is a very subjective thing. The line between goofing off and legitimate delay is often a fine one, and nobody is in as good a position as you to serve as a judge.

Second, if you plan to reinforce many small steps, instead of just earning a reward for a major achievement, the process becomes a nuisance for the other person and therefore tends not to work over a prolonged period. Remember, that other person isn’t nearly as motivated as you are to see that the program is followed.

Third, and most important of all, it’s a shame to put control of your behavior into the hands of someone else, thereby acknowledging and reinforcing your own weakness, immaturity, and lack of self-discipline. The more independent you become of other people—including friends, co-workers, and family—the more self-esteem you build. You were not put on this earth to curry the approval of others. Your foremost goal should be to earn the respect of the person you see in the mirror every day; all else is secondary.

You see, what we’re talking about here concerns attitudes rather than logic. It’s true that with self-reinforcement you aren’t earning your reward in the same sense as a worker is earning a paycheck; you have it within your power to obtain it simply by cheating, or by changing the rules, or by “forgetting,” so it’s not a true contingency. But the mind doesn’t make that distinction; it merely links the unpleasant task with the pleasant consequence, and from then on the task becomes a little less formidable, a little more palatable. And procrastination becomes a little less likely.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

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