There Will be Pain - Pleasure Comes at a Price

We are brought into this world, crying, most of the time absolutely screaming as our body’s transition from a nice warm, cozy, safe place where all of our needs are met to a pressure, a force, then pulling and more pressure, an unfathomable squeezing of our once contented bodies to blinding lights, something pulling us, cutting us off from our safe space to a hard surface where things are poking and prodding and just plain irritating us. It is a total change from what we once knew and we’ll never be able to return again. This life will bring pain. That’s a fact. That’s the bad news. The good news is, we have free will and the ability to choose from the different pains after that.

This life will bring pain.

As we grow, we learn, sometimes quickly and sometimes, for those of us that are strong willed, more slowly. We learn how to manipulate parents and caregivers. By crying we let them know we need something. We want comfort or pleasure and comfort comes in many forms...a dry diaper, a warm blanket, food in our bellies, something to stop the gas pains in our bellies, a snuggle, no matter what “comfort” we want, the bottom line is we want to be comforted. We want relief from the pain.  

By the time we’re young adults, we have learned how to manipulate the world to bring us comfort or pleasure. What we may have lost in the journey is the knowledge that pleasure comes at a price and that short term pleasure most often brings long term pain. We want what we want and we want it now. It reminds me of the J.G. Wentworth commercial - It’s my money and I need it now! Forget the fact that to get that money right now you’re going to have to pay a hefty fee or percentage, meaning you lose the full amount of your money that’s “yours” because you had to have it now. Or the new Grub Hub ad about wanting it all and wanting it now. We are a society fixated on immediate pleasure. We want everything at the touch of a screen or a command to Alexia.

With immediate gratification we lose the full gratification of working towards something

The problem with this is we lose the full gratification of working towards something, of the long lasting pleasure you get from waiting and consistently putting forth the effort for what you want. Here in the United States, most people live well above poverty level and if you’re reading this from a smart phone or computer, you better be living above the poverty level. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs paints a vivid picture of the psychology of human needs. It theorizes that once our physiological needs, our safety needs, our love and belonging needs and esteem needs are met the greatest source of pleasure comes from self-actualization.

I don’t remember where the quote comes from, but it’s so true...DON’T GIVE UP WHAT YOU TRULY WANT FOR WHAT YOU WANT RIGHT NOW. That mindshift from wanting those doughnuts someone brought into work (still warm and oh so sweet), that immediate pleasure, to focusing on what you really want, to lose 15 pounds and fit into that new dress or pair of pants that are calling your name takes time and practice. You have to start somewhere denying yourself of that immediate pleasure to get that lasting and oh, so much more fulfilling long-term pleasure.

The short term pleasure from those doughnuts leaves you feeling guilty, further away from your goal and quite frankly, as much as they taste good going in, they usually make you feel a little nauseated from all of the sugar( at least that’s now how I feel, so for me, they are much less gratifying than they once were). How do you make that mindshift from wanting that immediate pleasure, that pure pleasure, that delightful sense of joy to true joy, real long lasting pleasure, delight and triumph? I recommend you start with a simple step, a positive move in the right direction, followed by an immediate reward...equal to the triumph.

Newton’s First Law of Movement: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

It sounds pretty easy and I assure you, the act is, once you’ve started. It’s the starting that is so difficult. It is a classic example of Newton’s First Law of Movement: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. So, let’s focus on the starting. I believe it is Anthony Robbins who coined the phrase “The pain of same has got to be greater than the pain of change.” To get you to shift from the current status quo to moving in the direction of your dreams, you’ve got to take the first step. There are a million books and opinions on creating new habits. There is also a plethora of research that has gone into the paradox of this oh so simple task. The science behind it is astounding and exhausting. But the bottom line is, you have to find the method that works for you.

If this has got you thinking about it, I’m going to throw a few ideas out there. A next step might be to start listening to, reading and filling your mind with positive images about health and wellness. There are several great bloggers out there that can help keep you focused on accurate, positive healthy living;, are two of my favorites.

Another relatively easy first step may be

  • walking for five minutes a day

  • drinking a glass of water when you first wake up

  • getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep each night

  • making a doctors appointment

The thing is, any step in the right direction is better than no step at all.

If you like to listen to podcasts there are several good ones out there to help you. I can tell you that eating for how good it makes you feel is better than using it as punishment for poor eating choices (or you can listen to the MuscleMind Podcast to find out more on this). I can tell you that you should make half of your plate vegetables or that you should drink a glass of water before every meal (or you can check out Lindsey House’s Podcast Direction Not Perfection). I can tell you exactly what to do to get the healthiest body possible, but we both know what you know is not the problem. The application is real issue.

In Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive he explains “the way to reward someone is not with a carrot on a stick so to speak, but to give them a purpose as we have a deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.” So find your motivation, knowing that their will be pain with any choice. What is the pain you are willing to tolerate? Then take your first step in the direction of where you want to go. This reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book: “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, but start applying what you know now. The first step is the hardest, but it’s worth it!