The Twin ‘P’s

The frisbee flew far and wide. It was meant to land in the field but it ended up in the river instead. It had been raining for three days and the current is strong. Max, the three-year-old male Collie ran towards the river. He saw the frisbee being swept away by the white waters. His guardian called him back, fearing for his life. Max stood by the side of the river barking at his favourite toy. He stepped into the river and was visibly torn between risking his life or losing his prize. He glanced back at his guardian and took a leap of faith into the river.

The choices you make are usually an interpretation of Pain and Pleasure. You will do whatever you can to head towards pleasure and away from pain. Consider all the decisions you have made in the past, currently making, and in the future. This dichotomy controls your habits, choices, and actions, which ultimately determines your destiny.

Take dieting, for example, you know that eating that wrong food or excessive amount will bring pain in the long term. However, the instant pleasure you receive outweighs the pain so you make your choice accordingly. If you had linked more pain to eating that wrong food or amount, your choice would differ as it would have outweighed the pleasure.

Or difficult decisions like making that much-needed phone-call to someone you know you have to speak to but there is too much pain linked to it. Have you ever made that phone call anyway and felt relieved (pleasure) regardless of the outcome just because you made that call? Was there more pleasure than the pain that allowed you to make that call? Conversely, you may have felt so much pain after making the call, that it had really put you off making that call again for a very long time.

Why is it important to understand the concept of pain and pleasure? Once you understand that this is exactly how you make choices, decisions, and develop habits that lead to your life and destiny, you are now in charge.

You can learn to use pain and pleasure as leverage to make the right choices, decisions, and habits that will allow you to live your beautiful life. For every good habit you want to develop, you must link great pleasure to it. You must imagine the pleasure to be so great that it would be senseless not to pursue it. Once your mind is able to link immense pleasure in performing that habit, it would automatically gravitate towards it. For example, learning to keep your word. Some pleasures derived from that would include people trusting you more, allowing greater opportunities, better relationships, and being a great role model for your children. You may choose to apply minimising pain to this habit as well, like losing friends, being known as untrustworthy and your children not keeping their word as they are using you as a role model.

For every bad habit you want to get rid of, you must link great deep pain to it. You must imagine the pain be so intense, so excruciating so it is senseless to keep the habit. Once your mind is able to link a pain so deep in performing that habit, it would automatically avoid it. For example, if you have tried to quit smoking and failed, you have probably had a fight inside you trying to justify the pleasure gotten from smoking outweighing the pain it brings. You know inherently that smoking is bad for your health but you still continue because the pleasure derived is too great. If you are able to link excessive deep pain with smoking, like bad breath, nicotine stained teeth, cancer, ill health, lung damage, reduced vitality, addiction, and poor role model for your children and all around you, you may be able to stop the habit. If you fail, it is probably because you have not linked enough pain compared to pleasure. You have not obtained enough leverage to aspire to the choice of what you mentally know is right. On the same note, you may also choose to link pleasure with stopping the habit like fresh breath, greater lung space (more energy), and better health. However, it is more often that the stimulus to avoid pain is more pronounced than the want to approach pleasure.

Consider this concept in sales. If you are a buyer, is it not true that what you buy lies solely on the ability of the item being bought to lead you away from pain and towards pleasure? Understand your pain and pleasure will allow you to understand how you spend your time, energy, and money.

Conversely, if you were selling, consider that your prospect is not buying because her pain is not great enough or the pleasure of buying your service/product is not pleasurable enough. Focus more on what pain are you helping your customer to resolve or what pleasure are you giving to your customer.

Understanding this concept fully will allow you to know how to change your habits, your decisions, how to invest your vitality, and ultimately, shape your destiny. It will also allow you to communicate better with others for you know how they fundamentally think as well, exactly just like you, based on 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 are in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.

Max chose to jump into the river as he knew the pain of not getting his frisbee was too great, greater than his fear of the raging river and also greater than the pleasure of being safe by the river bank.

‘I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures.’ – Michel de Montaigne

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