I’ve been listening and Re-Listening to Day 2 of Tony Robbins’ ‘Personal Power’ audio series based on pain and pleasure, and the fundamentals are starting to sink it.
Essentially, the idea of achievement being a fight “against” pain is a harmful myth for people who want real success in their lives. Our physiology is hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If we are trying to make ourselves do something that we continually envision will be painful, our brain will fight like crazy to avoid it. Bargaining, avoidance-reasoning, justifying, elastic goalposts – there is no end to the creative strategies the mind will go to to avoid future pain.
More often than not people will do more to avoid pain than bring pleasure (people wont fight as hard to gain $1,000 than they will to keep from losing $1,000), but pain and pleasure can be used as mechanisms to get you to what you want, instead of keeping you where you are. Whatever you focus on, you’re going to feel, whether it’s true or not, so if you are consistently focusing on the pleasure of what taking action will bring you (willpower, confidence, financial freedom, self-respect, strength), you will make that goal a “get to” and not a “have to”.
If, on the other hand, the mind continually falls into patterns of visualizing future pain, instead of “fighting” with that emotion, direct that pain-feeling towards the idea of NOT taking action. You are feeling anxious, and fearful about what is going to happen? Immediately visualize and invoke feelings about not taking action (what is the ultimate price for not doing this? self loathing, regret, shame, despair etc). In this way you are hardwiring freely available feeling energy, which will propel you AWAY from pain and into the goal you really want.