Have you ever wondered why you do what you do, or what you don’t do? How someone can achieve so much coming from nothing, yet you struggle to make ends meet coming from a loving family home. How someone can Cheat on someone they love and couldn’t live without. What controls these behaviours What Drives You To Do What You Do?
Concisely you might not be aware of it but theirs a single driving force that controls All Human Behaviour. This Force is controlling you even now, It controls your finances, your relationships & Your Brain and Body.
Everything you and I do is to avoid or gain from it this driving force is Pain & Pleasure – Tony Robbins
All the time I hear people say what they are going to do and fail to go through with it (Yes even me.) Whether its a change to their health, their job or relationship something is stopping them from making that change. They put off fixing that leaky roof, Getting that report done, Starting that business, Asking that girl out (or boy) Going to the gym ect.
They Procrastinate on making that change
‘Procrastination (from Latin’s “procrastinare”, that translates in to: the prefix pro-, ‘forward’, and the suffix -crastinus, ’till next day’ from cras, ‘tomorrow’)’ – Wikipedia
They feel frustrated that they didn’t take action when they knew they should. So Why do we keep procrastinating then, Well the answer is simple – Putting off doing whatever it is we need to do is less Painful than actually doing the work.
Until that pain becomes so unbearable that your forced to make a change, Yeah the leaky roof wasn’t so bad until the roof caved in. Skipping the gym to sit on the sofa eating Doritos wasn’t so bad until you realise that your out of breath walking up the stairs.
What happened? You changed what you linked pain and pleasure to, Now not taking action became more painful than putting it off.
Back to one day in 2016 I was working 70-80 hours a week the Pleasure of the Paycheck outweighed the feeling of tiredness and fatigue ‘It wasn’t that bad’ until October 16 when I realised I was out of breath sat down now I associated working with the pain of my health decline and new it was time to change.
I used to drink about 2-3 cans of Relentless or Redbull a day, The pleasure of an Ice cold caffeine fix far outweighed the all the negatives Coach was always telling me to quit but I was having none of it Why – Because I associated it with pleasure
Until some point in July 17, When I experience the most excruciating pain of my life and thought I was going to die (No im not even exaggerating here) My right kidney fucked up, The worst part I was on a night shift alone in the middle of nowhere – took the ambulance like 3 hours to get to me.
Guess what.. I no longer drink energy drinks anymore The pain outweighs the pleasure.
People choose short term pleasure to try and forget the long term pain they’re in, They spend the 15 minute break stood outside in the freeing cold to get that quick stress relief from their cigarette.They sit in the cold because the smoke is far more pleasurable than the pain of the cold.
People choose to order the takeaway because the taste is far more pleasurable than whatever was on their diet plan.
People scrape through the month and spend what little they have (Sometimes more) on new clothes or a new TV because they think they deserve it because they managed to scrape through the Pain and rewarded it with instant short term pleasure.
Tell them same people to save what they have left so they can invest it in the near future for monthly cash flow and they’ll look at you the same way Superman looks at Kryptonite. The Short term instant pleasure is better than a couple of months of pain in exchange for life long pleasure.
Its why people who have a great business Idea sit on it for years and do nothing with it, Why risk job security for something that might fail, Why start a diet and ‘starve yourself’ if you might gain that weight back, Why ask that crush out if you might get rejected, What stops you from making you life exactly how you want it?
You know your life is going to be more beneficial for doing it but in that moment you associate more Pain to doing what’s necessary than missing the opportunity.
The Fear of Loss is much greater than the desire to Gain.
Only humans can change what they associate with pain and turn it into pleasure (& Vice versa) We can take raw experiences in our lives and adapt and transform from them to produce something more pleasing. We can relate our experiences to other experiences to create meaning that’s different to anyone else on the planet.
Take a bodybuilder or physique competitor for example they push themselves through the pain of extreme diets and training regimes to get to their peak condition for one show, That’s a lot of heavy gym sessions, A lot of calories (In off season) a lot of calories deficits it’s a lot of pain.
Or Muhammad Ali – He hated training, Training was painful for him but the pleasure of being a Champion that was something else.
So why do they go through all this because they have associated Pleasure with the pain, The discomfort of discipline with Personal growth, The Pleasure of becoming a champion with the pain of training.
When we fail to direct our associations of pain and pleasure we are living no better than animals and machines waiting to react to circumstances as they happen letting them control the direction and quality of our lives.
When my car broke and cost me a grand within a week of payday leaving what was left to just cover my bills I could of easily took money from my savings to cover the cost of food and probably some short term ‘Pleasure Fixes’ like a few takeouts and maybe a book or two, but I didn’t touch it I went hungry for a month eating the bare minimum from my tiny budget or scraping off my mother why because I knew that money was for an investment which I recently used for a deposit on a mentorship program, I associated the Pleasure with the pain, Being hungry today so I can feast tomorrow – I wasn’t even consciously aware I was doing this at the time.
If I had reacted to the situation emotionally and took the money out of my savings I would not have secured my place on the mentorship programme, The situation would of controlled my future till I could save that back up.
What You Link Pain & Pleasure to Will Shape Your Destiny – Tony Robbins
We think emotionally not intellectually..
Whether we want to admit it or not we don’t think intellectually we are driven by emotion and Pain and Pleasure are the drivers its one of the reasons why people cheat even though they love their partner, even though they swear against cheating and they would be lost without their wife and kids. They are driven by the Pleasure of Uncertainty/Variety (One of the 6 basic human needs) of their sexual partner because they are emotionally detached from them and its just raw sexual energy. Even if the long term pain means losing their family the short term Pleasure outweighs it.
Intellectually we know that cheating is bad, we know the consequences but we don’t take action on what we know we should do but what our emotions, the sensations that we link our thoughts to – That’s what drives us.
That’s why diets don’t work – The pain (Of how you look and feel) has become unbearable so you take action and go on the diet, you’ve solve the problem for the short term. But going on a diet with pure willpower alone will never last because its still painful to give up the food you love (or the amount of food you love to consume.) So you haven’t eliminated the cause of the problem. In order for change to last you have to associate pain with the old behaviour and pleasure with the new behaviour and condition it until it becomes consistent.
My gym habits become so consistent week in week out that sometimes when Im driving a similar route I start heading towards the gym and catch myself before I turn off the exit like ‘Noppe not going there right now.’
We will do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure so associate your old habits with pain – Like me and the energy drinks.
Back to the diet example you need to link pain to the amount of food you’re consuming, How it makes you feel long term, How do you look, What made you go on the diet in the first place, Then link pleasure to your new habits, to the food that nourishes you and how that makes you feel long term.
We can learn to condition our minds bodies and emotions to link to pain and pleasure to whatever we choose. By linking Pain and Pleasure to whatever we choose we will instantly change our behaviours.
Also Read Lasting Change you could say it’s Part 1 to this post
Inspired by Tony Robbins – Awaken the Giant within.