Pain vs. Pleasure
Don't worry, this isn't a blog post about S&M.
If any of you have read Tony Robbins' "Awaken The Giant Within", you will know that it talks about how humans live their lives with 2 innate purposes:
To avoid Pain, and to attract Pleasure.
Every decision we make boils down to either 'Is this going to bring me pleasure?' or 'Is this going to bring me pain?'.
As humans, with an inherent fear of pain, we tend to base more of our decisions in life on avoiding pain than we do on attracting pleasure.
For example, we might think 'I'll go to the gym because I don't want to feel like a slob.' We are only going to the gym to avoid the pain of how we feel if we don't. However, if we change the mentality to 'I'll go to the gym because I want to be fit and healthy', the action is the same, but we have now shifted our focus to attracting pleasure.
By living life in a mindset of attracting pleasure, the decisions we make will be out of true choice, rather than out of fear. We are far more likely to commit to these decisions and deal with potential setbacks when we know there is a greater reward. We are therefore more likely to continue regularly going to the gym with the reward of being fit and healthy, as opposed to the 'reward' of not feeling rubbish about ourselves.
Our determination to avoid pain also usually outweighs the desire to attract pleasure, and this fear of pain is what restricts our ability as humans to make 'risky' decisions.
Think of the phrase 'Same s***, different day'. Most of us have probably said or felt this at one point in our lives. So why do we continue in this pattern of monotony? Because we focus on avoiding the pain of what could come if we change it. What we have isn't amazing, but things could certainly be worse. So we continue in a cycle of things being just 'fine'.
But what if we instead decide to look at things from the perspective of attracting pleasure? What if we instead say 'Things are just fine. But they can be better'. Suddenly we think about the possibility that we don't actually have to keep going with the Same s***, Different Day mentality. We have the choice to change our lives for the better, to attract more pleasure.
Perhaps you have a stable job and are looking at buying a house soon, but have a really strong desire to go travelling and see the world. You probably think it's really risky leaving everything behind and contemplate the pain you could feel if you return home with no career or stability. And as Aunty Karen keeps telling you, you're not getting any younger - if you go travelling now, you'll come home at a point where you're approaching 30 and 'have nothing to show for yourself'.
Aunty Karen is right. You're not getting any younger and if travelling the world is a deep desire of yours, it's going to be far more difficult with a mortgage, kids and growing career; the pain of missing out on this experience could outweigh the pleasure you gained from not doing it.
The moment you view life from a perspective of attracting pleasure, as opposed to avoiding pain, you will open all sorts of doors you never knew existed and you will see the world in a whole new way.
You can never guarantee that an outcome will bring you pleasure or pain, but the reward is far greater from going after what brings you joy, as opposed to simply sailing through life trying to avoid what does not. There's no better time than the present to take the leap and go after what you want.
After all, you're not getting any younger.