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Monday, September 7, 2009

Pleasure and Pain in Human Behaviour

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Why do you do the things that you do? Why do you go to work, or relax in front of the television, or meet up with some friends?

What is the motivational factor that drives all human behaviour?

The answer is actually very simple. World renounded success coach Anthony Robbins in his book Awaken the Giant Within has the answer.

We do things in order to avoid pain, as well as to gain pleasure. Let me repeat that again. We do things to to avoid pain and/or to gain pleasure. That sounds so simple that it clouds the deep truth and profound wisdom in the answer.

This provides the answer as to why different people may do different things or have different values. Let me provide an example. Why do some people smoke, but others frown upon it?

This is because the people who smoke link tremendous pleasure to this activity, such as the feeling of being "cool" or "hip". However, other people may link tremendous pain to the activity, such as coughing, or getting lung cancer.

The point that i am trying to make is, all of us are driven by the need to gain pleasure, as well as the need to avoid pain.

Understanding this principle will allow you to become more understanding and empathetic to the actions and behaviors of other people. If can also help you to improve the quality of your own life by getting you to take action on the things that you know that you need to do.

For example, we all seek to improve our relationships with our loved ones, but not everybody makes the effort to spend time with them. We know that we seek to improve our relationships, because of the pleasure and good feelings that we get when our relationships are strong.

However, we do not act on this instinct as this feeling of pleasure is overwhelmed by the even greater feeling of immediate pleasure that playing a video game or watching some television may bring.

What we need to do is to try to strengthen our associations between pleasure and relationships, as well as to link some pain into not having strong relationships.

Think of what it might feel like to be distant to your loved ones, and you might find that this might motivate you to put in the necessary effort in your relationships or whatever you want to achieve in your life.

The pain and pleasure principle is extremely simple yet powerful. Understanding this principle and applying it in your daily life will not only allow you to change your behaviour, it will also allow you to improve the quality of your life.

If you are interested in reading more about Anthony Robbins, you might also enjoy some quotes by Anthony Robbins
If you are interesting in reading more about human needs, you might enjoy my post about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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