Tag Archives: Focus

Pleasure with Pain

If you break motivation down into it’s simplest form, we are motivated to either seek pleasure or avoid pain.  Now I know many of you are rejecting that, saying that you are much more complex than that but stick with me for a minute.  Pleasure can include everything from a taste of a delicious juicy hamburger with tempura fried bacon on it (yes, tempura fried bacon exists, I’ve had it and I’m obsessed) to love.  Pleasure includes security and peace.  Pleasure can also include spirituality.  Pain on the other hand isn’t just limited to physical pain.  It can include fear, embarrassment, social rejection, insecurity, hungry, loneliness, etc.  The list can go on quite a while.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t so simple as that.  How do you stack up pleasure that will happen six months from now vs. pain happening today, for example dieting and exercising for six months so that you can look good for the upcoming high school reunion?  How do trade off one pain vs. another, for example my back hurts right now and I know 30 minutes of stretching will help…..but I don’t really like the stretching either?  How do you exchange one pleasure for one pain, for example spending on a big celebration when money is tight?

It is ok to allow our subconsciousness to handle these decisions of which pleasure to seek and which pain to avoid as long as we are ok with the outcomes.  Really, your subconscious is making hundreds of decisions a day and you don’t want to get stuck in trying to analyze each and everyone.  When you are not happy with your situation, whether it be financial, relationship, health, etc., stop and consider which decisions are leading you in the wrong direction and why you are making that decision.  It might be helpful to try to frame those decisions in a trade off between pleasures and pain.  You might have to ask yourself “why” a few times because most people are slow to admit what is really going on in their decision making.  Once you understand the tradeoffs, then work to enhance different pleasures, minimize different pains and (frequently) work to pull future pleasure into the moment.

Examples help.  I was telling the truth, my back is killing me right now.  It is a chronic issue that comes back a few times a year.  This one is as bad as it has gotten in probably the last five years.  Nothing to do but stretches.  My wife has a yoga video that does wonders for my back…….but I really don’t enjoy it.  So I have a literal pain, my back.  Seems like I should be able to jump up and fire up that video.  Why aren’t I?  Well, I know from experience the yoga tape won’t make my back feel better right away.  So the pain avoidance isn’t really an immediate pay off.  I find yoga to be pretty boring.  I know my yoga loving friends tell me I’m not doing it right if I’m not loving it but I don’t love it.  There is a certain level of mental pain that comes along with doing yoga for me.

So how do I motivate myself to go do those stretches, well in this case I brought in another pain, social embarrassment.  By writing and posting this, I sort of have to go do the yoga.  If I don’t, I’ll be a bit embarrassed that I let my laziness and procrastination let me sit here in pain.  Alright.  I’m going to go do some downward dogs.

Comment if you need some help affecting change.  Please share.  Imagine the pleasure you’ll get if this helps someone you know.

That’s a way?

Years ago my wife and I were walking on a trail. We just happened to be walking near a couple of women when the trail ended because of several fallen logs. They had fallen long ago and were overgrown. I could see the trail start again on the other side. My wife and I started climbing over the logs. One of the women pointed into the bushes to a trail that was so overgrown that we hadn’t even seen it. She said to her friend, “Lets go that way.”

Her exclaimed, “That’s a way?”

We lost sight of them as we climbed logs and they went into the overgrowth. A mile down the trail they came out of the woods about the same time and place as we did.

Their trail showed them different sights and gave them different challenges than our trail did. In the end we all had great experiences and reached similar destinations.

Don’t judge the trail others have taken, even if you couldn’t even see it in the beginning.  Don’t doubt that you are seeing a trail. Don’t doubt that you are on your right trail even when others take different paths.

Achieving goals is like building a bridge

Achieving goals being like building a bridge is a metaphor that works on a couple of levels.  First, on one side of the chasm is where you are.  On the other, where you want to be.  Building the bridge is the planning and hard work necessary to allow you to cross from your current life to the life you choose.

On another level this metaphor works because of the process of building a bridge.  Think through the steps.  First, someone figures out a need for a bridge.  There wasn’t a bridge there before after all.  So why is a bridge necessary and why necessarily here.  Making these decisions, need for a bridge and where that bridge is needed, helps clarify and solidify the goal and motivation in a person.

Second, they plan out what type of bridge is needed and the resources required.  Engineering studies are done and blueprints are chosen.  Is it a quick rope bridge or an 8 lane highway?  Does it need to be a temporary bridge or a permanent structure?  Will it take days or years to build?  How much will it cost?  This step helps a person start building their plan and marshaling their resources.

Third, materials are purchased, employees are hired and work begins.  This is were the first actions of reaching a goal can be seen.  Most of what has happened to this point is simply talking, researching and planning.  Even though the first two steps are probably more important, now others can start to see work getting done.

Fourth, while the bridge is being made the work is continually inspected and modified.  There are supervisors who are constantly on the job making sure the work is being done according to the blue prints.  Frequently, inspectors come out to assess the work.  Inspectors are also looking to ensure that reality – the depth of the river, the quality of the soil, etc. – are what were expected.  If not, the plans will change to accommodate reality.  On a less frequent basis, higher level employees and engineers will also monitor rate of production to completion, cost, material consumption, etc.  When a person is trying to reach a goal, they should frequently monitory their progress.  Are they making the progress at a rate they are happy with?  Have they correctly identified all obstacles and opportunities in the first two stages or do adjustments need to be made?


A proud moment

I just got off the phone with a client I have been working with for a couple of months.  While I have known her for years, this is the first time we’ve worked together.  She is an amazing women, a great entrepreneur and a strong business women.  There have been a number of changes in her life and business over the last couple of years and she decided it was time to refocus on her business and increase her earnings by 40% (or more).

Today she told me that someone in her networking group had noticed the change in my client over the last month.  She’s more focused and effective.  She’s more open and her asks are more on point and specific.

I’m very proud of my client.  It doesn’t matter what I do as a coach.  It is the client that makes the change and this client has really risen to the challenge.  She was ready to change and grow and grow she has.  I’m very excited to continue to work with her.