The Secret of Using Pain and Pleasure For Motivation

The founder of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Richard Bandler, once said that the best form of “motivation” incorporated both pleasure and pain in a ratio of 2:1. The trick however, is in knowing what constitutes motivational pain and pleasure points for you, and then making certain to structure those thoughts in a way which will effectively move you towards your desired outcome.

Motivational Pleasures

The expected beneficial outcome of a behavior or event can be used to help define a motivational pleasure. With that in mind it turns our focus towards understanding personal expectations.

What you assume the end results will be from taking a particular course of action plays a significant role in determining whether or not you move towards that goal or not. If you perceive that there will be an experience during or immediately after the completion of an action, step or objective, even if it is positive in nature, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a motivational pleasure for you.

In order for you to relate to a positive outcome as a pleasure which will motivate you, it must have some level of significance in your personal beliefs and values. Unless you put a certain degree of importance on the results they won’t have any motivational pleasure for you.

In other words, for the motivational pleasures you choose to be most effective they must:

  • Be something you place significant personal value on,
  • Be something you believe is possible, and
  • Happen immediately upon completion or shortly after the completion of the action or behavior.

Motivational Pain Points

In the same way you have expected beneficial outcomes for things you do, there is also a sense of unpleasant consequences in place for NOT doing the action or behavior. Overall the potential consequences you perceive can range anywhere from insignificant to overwhelmingly terrifying.

The negative impact that you believe will result from not accomplishing the goal or objective can be used as a motivational pain point. In order to do this the consequential outcome must fit within your beliefs about how the world works. This means that it works best if you have some degree of personal experience with any expected negative outcome — either directly (you have experienced it) or indirectly (you know someone who has experienced it).

It is then that internal personal reference to the negative consequences of not doing what you want to do that really helps motivate you. By creating a mental experience of the consequential results you will be unconsciously motivated to avoid that “painful” outcome and feel driven to take whatever action is necessary.

So, if you want use the potential consequences of NOT doing what you need to as motivational pain points, it works best to:

  • Make sure you believe they will happen if you don’t do what you want to,
  • Mentally perceive them as somewhat unpleasant, but not overly frightening,
  • Imagine them clearly along with the negative feelings they would generate, and
  • Be certain that the only means of avoiding the “pain” is to do the behavior you want to be motivated to do.

Source by Daniel B. Scott

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