Pain and Pleasure

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I first heard the pain and pleasure model being quoted years ago by a coach that was using it on the theory of motivation. To summarize, to be able to motivate yourself,  you are either moving away from pain or moving towards pleasure. I copied and pasted the article and saved it to a word document as it interested me at the time but again, I didn’t really take it all on board until recently. 
Over the last few years I heard people talking more about peoples pain, it is used a lot in the world of NLP and now in the world of sales. It is often talked about as finding your clients pain and giving them a solution. You see it in a lot in marketing material especially when you’re aware of them using it. An example would be on the lines of this:

  • Do you find yourself loosing weight only to put it all back on again?
  • Have you tried loads of different diets and fitness fads only to give them up after a week?
  • Fed up with all the different ads saying we have found that one secret to weight lose? 

Well, I was just like you, I tried everything until I discovered Blah Blah Blah!

Now Blah Blah Blah is not an actual product or service, I made it up if you didn’t notice but I think you get the point, find the pain, and let them know how you struggled and give them the solution. This sort of marketing has worked for years and still does but I’d like to discuss how we all use this pain and Pleasure theory all the time without knowing about it and ways in which you can use it to your advantage. 


If you go back to when you were a toddler and you were learning to walk, you tried so hard to learn, you fell over 1000’s of times, you probably hurt yourself too but you didn’t give up! Why? because the pain of crawling around and not getting what you want before your parent picked it up was so unbearable for you that you worked hard until you had the strength to walk yourself.  The same with learning to talk, you might not of known it but you had a lot of emotional pain involved when you were learning to speak and people couldn’t grasp what you were saying. It motivated you to speak clearly instead of baby talk.

For the most part of my job and to do it well I have to motivate people, if I didn’t, then I’m not going to have many students training. I’ve never really thought of myself as a motivator until the pandemic happened, I do most of it unconsciously. 


So what makes some of us more motivated than others, we’ve all been there, when we have a fuck it day and have lost that go go feeling. We can’t find the motivation!  As I often say, how careless, have you looked under the settee?  You can’t lose motivation, its already in you, you are just having a bad day and your mind has said, Fuck this, I can’t be bothered anymore today. All that has happened is that it is easier to just put on the Tv, or to open a bottle of wine (Pleasure) than to get into the exercise routine or the housework (pain) done.  Now take it from another angle, you’re having another fuck it day again, your house is a mess but you have your mother popping round for tea and worries about you not looking after yourself (Pain) You manage to relocate the motivation from under the settee and you sort the house out, your mother comes round and has a really nice evening and compliments how organised you are (Pleasure) 
Another common one is you may of had too many fuck it moments and you step on the scales one morning and you have put on a stone! (Pain) You get into a fitness regime (also pain),

Now, the reason why most people don’t actually shift that extra weight they have put on is because the pleasure bit is quite a distance. In that instance it would be a picture of you back to your desired weight and feeling good about yourself (Pleasure) Whether that pleasure is a strong enough desire to get to is dependent on how much you don’t want to be in the emotional pain and getting overweight. I have used this method all my life but in a positive way. I don’t enjoy being fat, yes I know that most people would say that, but I link being fat with my depression and being bullied as a young child which is something I don’t want to feel again so as soon as I feel like I am putting on a belly, I will always up my own training. 


Another example, just to make my point better understood and also relates to my own life. I only recently had a conversation with my partner Bryony the other day. She is not an early riser, Bryony does not moan much, but I have often heard her say something when she has work on a Monday morning and has to set her alarm at 6.50 am, she rarely does get up at that time thou, its normally after the final snooze button when she knows if she doesn’t get up now she will over sleep.   Bryony hates letting people down and obviously likes to keep her job so she can get paid every month. So her pain is to get up for work, her pleasure is that she looks good in her bosses eyes and she gets paid. 

If you are struggling to keep motivated in your training, look back at why you started in the first place, there will be a pain or pleasure thing involved. I guarantee it. 


Once you start to understand this happening, you can start to play around with things and change your habits that you no longer desire or are holding you back. 

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