Pain or Pleasure, Why Should I Care?

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Pain or Pleasure, Why Should I Care?

The pain or pleasure principle – made famous in recent times by Tony Robbins –actually dates back to 1895 and Freud. In his project for scientific psychology, Freud put forth the idea that the mind seeks pleasure and avoids pain.

Business and personal development coach, Tony Robbins, states one of the major keys to tapping into your personal power is understanding the concept of how our brains deal with pain and pleasure.

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” ~ Tony Robbins

Think about this concept for a moment. The assertion here is that every choice you and I make is based on avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. And since we don’t all like and dislike the same things pain and pleasure are unique to each of us.

Consider our human nature, the present is more urgent and immediate than some future event. Current events are more real to us. For example, someone who is overweight might choose the pleasure of potato chips right now vs. the carrot sticks that have longer-term benefits. Many of us simply don’t think about the future pain those potato chips will cause because that pain isn’t demanding our focus or happening right now.

So, the logical next question is, what can we do about it? Pain hack #1:

Shift the current balance of pleasure and pain.

Our potato chip eater really wants to eat carrot sticks, yet the savory salty snack is too pleasurable right now vs. the pain associated with the weight gain. He can put that off until tomorrow. The pain of extra weight in the future is not real in the present moment. When you make that pain real in the present moment, magic happens.

Said another way, when you shift the balance of pleasure and pain and focus on the pain those potato chips will cause you right now a breakthrough begins.

Now all bets are off if you do not truly desire the change.

The suggestion here is to combine your desire to change and making yourself see and feel the pain right now. As an example, eating those potato chips now means instead of a 30-minute workout today I’ll need to complete a 60-minute workout.

Consider this four-step process to making this concept come alive. Think of a goal or a decision you need to make. For example, losing weight or prospecting for new business, or connecting with your sphere of influence more often.

  • Get a sheet of paper list the goal and then draw a line down the middle. On one side write pain and on the other pleasure.
  • List all the reasons why it would be painful not to achieve your goal.
  • Next, write down the pleasure of achieving your goal.
  • Visualize achieving your goal and feel the pain now of not achieving your goal.

Without a better understanding of the pain and pleasure principle, we are at the whim of our emotions and thoughts even when they are illogical. Yet now that you know more about how this process works you can make choices that work for you rather than against you.


PS: At JPAR we have created a white paper for real estate sales professionals on the art and science of goal setting, to get your copy simpy email and check out my blog on the 5 words that kill more dreams than any other

About the Author
Mark is the host of "Success Superstars," a weekly show that highlights the blueprint of success, the co-founder of CoRecruit, and the Chief Executive Officer of JP & Associates REALTORS®, a rapidly growing full-service transaction-based real estate brokerage. He has invested nearly 25 years in understanding the inner workings of high performing real estate agents, teams, managers, and leaders in major markets across the world. Mark has served as a business coach in progressive leadership capacities for the 5th largest US-based real estate brokerage firm, in sales and customer marketing leadership capacities for a major consumer goods company, and served a stint in the US Army. He was later recalled to active duty during the desert storm campaign. Mark is a father of 3, a lifelong learner, Spartan, and adventure athlete. He earned his MBA from California State University and a Behavioral Change Certification from the National Association of Sports Medicine.