WHAT ARE MY ACTUAL, REAL REWARDS?
WHAT ARE MY BELIEVED REWARDS THAT AREN'T REWARDS?
THE PROMISE - AND THE REALITY
Reward: A satisfying return or result; profit.
If this is the definition of reward, then there are some things with very little reward or with a negative net return.
A process that does not provide a true reward, but where one does the process in anticipation of a reward is called a "racket" - which is perpetrated by yourself upon yourself (and possibly others). Trying to be "right" (and making others wrong) is a racket that appears to give a reward (being "right" is confused with trying to look sufficiently competent to be allowed to stay in the tribe and not be kicked out in the jungle). Trying to convince, persuade, or correct can be a no payoff behavior. An adult being dependent is largely a racket (of still being a child).
THE FAUX REWARDS
A "faux" reward is one that appears to have a positive return but actually does not.
Some will argue that "getting relief" via consuming a stimulant or numbing substance or unhealthy food or from "spacing out" or "distracting oneself" are, in fact, rewards.
I would argue otherwise, if we take a moment to step back and look at the total picture.
In one view, these all have harmful physical/psychological effects and/or take away from doing something else of greater value.
It seems that we perpetuate the idea that these actions provide a satisfying return, so we keep doing them - operating in what I call a "Duh!" (unsmart) mode.
But one can "get relief" in much better more direct ways, such as deep breathing, exercising, taking a nap, referring to or recalling a comforting statement, doing something comforting in a positive way or doing something constructive - instead of going into a mildly depressive state after watching a 1/2 hour of TV, or going into a sugar surge and then feeling bad with the inevitable crash, or being out of the life loop by going into a lethargic state where nothing beneficial is engaged in, or feeling bad about your behavior, criticizing yourself (or later feeling bad about not doing something that would have benefited you).
Spending energy on trying to control others (ineffectively) or to impress others is a poor payoff (or negative payoff activity when compared with what else you could have done with your efforts).