Saturday , 15 June 2024
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Ouch vs. Ahhhhh

OR How Pain Avoidance & Pleasure Seeking Can Change Your Life

Are you ready for something that can totally turn everything you’ve been doing to achieve your goals on its ear?

Listen carefully as this will turn everything you've been doing on it's ear!

This week I would like to share with you an interesting theory on human behavior and how NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) comes into the picture.

The theory states that all of human behavior is motivated by two simple principles: our desire to avoid pain and our desire to feel pleasure.

Now in and of itself this concept doesn’t sound all that earth shattering, as who in their right mind would want to feel pain and by the same token who doesn’t just la-la-la-love any opportunity to experience pleasure? The easy answer is, we all do.

Sounds too simple to be of real value in achieving our goals whether personal, health-wise or professional. But the truth is the more you can whittle down a theory to the essential, the easier it is to apply to your own life. Additionally by understanding this simple theory of human behavior we can re-train ourselves in order to be more successful in achievement of our goals.


[icon image=”arrow_right” align=”left”]So what is an example of the Pain Avoidance and Pleasure Seeking Principle in action?

When I was a kid I had a huge fear of needles, more specifically shots from the doctors office. This fear was largely derived from a single negative experience where a nurse had to stick me several times in a row to draw blood. She didn’t know what she was doing, and by the time she got my blood she realized she forgot to take more blood for another test and she had to get blood from my OTHER hand! This caused me quite a bit of discomfort, so from that moment on I was terrified that each successive trip to the doctor’s office would involve this kind of pain.

My fear was so intense that on one occasion I crawled into my toy box, cried, and refused to go to the doctor’s office.  But, of course, eventually I did have to go and receive my immunizations so I wouldn’t contract potentially harmful diseases and guess what? It barely hurt.  My Pain Avoidance motivation had blown everything completely out of proportion and all that anxiety and fear was completely in my mind. It was a product of my imagination, and not based in reality.


[icon image=”arrow_right” align=”left”]So how does this apply to you?

Here’s the thing we as people make almost all our decisions based on what we imagine we will experience in the future whether it’s PLEASURE or PAIN.  It is more based on our vivid IMAGINATIONS than it is on any kind of logic or reality.

Now, of course, there are occasions where this theory works great to protect us. For example if you have been told not to grab a hot plate at the restaurant that the waiter is placing in front of you, you listen because you don’t want to get burned. However, there are many more examples of how we as adults use the PAIN AVOIDANCE and PLEASURE SEEKING Principle to impair our success or to self-sabotage.

For example, I have a close friend who came from a broken home. Her Mom raised her as a single parent and never re-married after her father had abandoned them. Growing up her Mother would often remind her of how damaged she was by her father’s abandonment and reinforced the idea that all the problems of their life stemmed from her dad and by extension, relationships.

My friend grew up to be incredibly successful in every other area of her life: she was a tri-athlete, ran a successful business, had tons of friends but her love life was as they say, the pits.  She gave fully and was passionate about every area of her life, but because of what happened with her father, she never did the same in her relationships. The reason was – of course – to avoid the pain she IMAGINED she would experience! So she remained single or only in casual relationships.

She had to go through a serious journey to change that aspect of her life. She chose NLP and used Neuro Linguistic Programming to change the way she was programmed to thing, by her mother. After she worked on building positive associations with relationships with her NLP therapist, she wound up getting married to the most loving man you could imagine and she is happier than I’ve ever seen her.


[icon image=”star” align=”left”] Changing our PAIN AVOIDANCE and PLEASURE SEEKING associations is EASY!

Yes, you read that right, it’s EASY if only we know HOW!

There are areas of our lives we want to improve in order to succeed and live fulfilling lives, but we know this requires change. Oftentimes the PAIN AVOIDANCE and perceived hassle of change win out and thus we sit on our tooshies and do nothing. Or worse, we are forced into taking action only when things have hit a rock bottom and there is no other option. As in perhaps you’ve eaten horribly your entire life and put off making healthy eating choices and then one day your body collapses! It happened to me a few years ago where I had a little ‘heart' warning! Yes, my heart started beating so fast and I had to go to the doctor's office who called an ambulance to take me to the emergency room! I had atrial fibrillation because of the way I lived my life!!! That was a warning call that made me realize that I literally MUST CHANGE what I was eating and my whole lifestyle or I'll be sick and die.

We want to get healthy or fit, we want to quit smoking or drinking, we want to get our project off the ground, we want to build a happier and more passionate relationship with our partner but we aren’t really 100% committed. If you want something to work you must commit! You must decide that this problem has gone on far too long, causing far too many problems and you’re going to COMMIT to changing it NOW! Today!  

A fat person who wants to lose weight, KNOWS what they need to do in order to lose weight. They know that if they keep eating all this junk and not exercising at all – they'll stay fat!

A smoker who wants to quit smoking, KNOWS what they need to do in order to stop smoking. They simply have to fight that urge to put these cigarettes in their mouths!

You see, we KNOW what we NEED TO DO, but we need the motivation and commitment to actually do it.

You also have to make the reward of changing your PAIN AVOIDANCE and PLEASURE SEEKING associations totally worth it! You have to get FIRED UP!

Evolution dictates that PAIN AVOIDANCE will beat PLEASURE SEEKING any ole day. For example, you are about to nosh on the most delicious slice of Chocolate Cake you’ve ever seen but then a T-REX shows up wanting to eat YOU! What do you do? YOU RUN!!!!

Let NLP help you. I'm sure you're already a student in my Mentalizers program so you probably know a few things about NLP. What must be done, right now, to rid you of your negative associations is to create such a strong picture for the PAIN this association, pattern or habit will cause you so you are not remotely tempted to do it again.


[icon image=”arrow_right” align=”left”]How to Associate PLEASURE and PAIN with the RIGHT THINGS!

I used to be a smoker but I quit. I knew I needed to stop smoking because of the health problem I shared with you above but I didn’t at first know how I would approach such a massive change in lifestyle.

What I did was this: I forced myself to watch all the videos I could find in YouTube of heavy smokers and what their teeth looks like. I listened to people who could barely speak because their lungs were completely messed up. I inundated myself with the negative imagery and emotions of seeing the horrendous conditions and outcome of smoking (and I'm sorry I'm sharing this with you, but you must understand what I did to make my decision come to life):

Quit smoking TODAY!
Quit smoking TODAY!

I stopped smoking cigarettes that very day and haven’t looked back once.

I also began to focus on all the benefits of making these changes on my overall appearance and health from white teeth and the taste that came back to the food I was eating and all the way to improvements to my fitness routine as my breathing became easier! I got excited about it! I got FIRED UP!

Another great tactic to use is what I call “WHERE WILL I BE IN 1O YEARS?” Tool

Ask yourself these two questions:

  • Where will I be in 10 years if I don’t change this?
  • Where will I be in 10 years when I do change this?

Then take a moment to actually write down all the behaviors you would like to change, the PAIN AVOIDANCE behaviors that have slowed or stopped you from having certain things in your life.  Write down all the pain you associate now and anticipate in the future in addition to all the pleasure the newfound changes would bring to your life. The key is not to just gloss over these questions but REALLY IMAGINE and VISUALIZE and FEEL. Take 5 minutes with a pad of paper and write down everything that comes to mind for each of these questions. 10 minutes total.

I hope this helps and I hope the PAIN AVOIDANCE and PLEASURE SEEKING principle will be one that you will use to your advantage to achieve success and happiness in all areas of your life!

To obligate to this process and start getting fired up – SHARE with us RIGHT NOW what you're about to change in your life starting… NOW (use the comment section below):

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