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Motivation – Pain vs Pleasure

Have you ever wondered what motivates you to change? What is that internal or maybe external force that gets you to either do something meaningful or avoid doing it?

What if I tell you that ultimately the controlling force in everything we do or not do is driven by our desire to avoid pain and gain pleasure.

And what if I tell you that the motivation to avoid pain is often stronger than the will to gain pleasure. This happens when pain associated with taking action is “perceived” to be bigger or more than the relief and pleasure it can bring by just doing it.

MotivationThere are many real life examples to illustrate this point e.g. have you ever needed to go to the doctor, dentist or have surgery and postponed going until the pain was unbearable and you had no choice but go and then getting the relief you wanted. Feeling so much better and wondering why you did not just go in the first place. Or maybe you are just avoiding completing a task due to the fear of being judged when it is done. Or maybe you are just not taking action e.g asking sombebody on a date, your boss for a raise or contacting a prospective client because of the “perceived” pain that you might be rejected. It is amazing how creative people sometimes can become in avoiding what can possibly bring them great success.

This is the one side of pain that takes you away from what you really want, however there is also another side to avoiding pain that sparks you into action.

What if I tell you that your avoidance to pain can also be used to your advantage. How often in life do see people that have suffered greatly, get up and overcome the pain to have success. Sport is a great example when you have an individual crying at the loss of an important game only to make a decision to never experience the pain of defeat. The avoidance from pain in this situation is the spark to take action to train harder to have more success.Motivation to move

Getting what you want is not without pain, pain is how you get there.

Ask yourself – “how not changing your behavior will be more painful than changing it”

How can you use this to your advantage? That’s right how can you use pain and pleasure instead of letting pain and pleasure use you!


5 Steps to help you TAKE ACTION for success.


  1. List 1 to 3 actions you know you should take now, that for some reason you have not done.
  2. Ask yourself, what is the pain you have associated with these actions that has kept you from following through
  3. List any pleasures you were able to get from not following through on these four actions.
  4. Describe in short what it will cost you if you don’t follow through. What will you miss out on? What will you lose?
  5. Lastly asked yourself: What are all the benefits you’ll gain by taking action now? How will it enhance your life?




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