Researchers at Emory University have determined that people who win or inherit large amounts of money experience less satisfaction than those who earn rewards through hard work.
Participants in the study were asked to play an interactive game in which they either actively claimed prizes — or were given them. Those who had to take action to earn the rewards showed more brain activity representing the value of the reward, as well as the pleasure of receiving it.
Clearly, financial reward can be a major motivator. But it's also true that incentives such as dignity and purpose can also inspire people to perform at higher levels. In fact, even cashing in can lead some people to seek new ways to succeed.