In this article I am going to write about a theory which will explain lots of things about human behavior. It will explain two motivation factors that lead us to do everything we do in our life. It also explains why we avoid doing some acts.
I read about this theory first in Anthony Robbins’s book, but to my surprise this was already in existence from long time. It is very simple theory and after reading it you might not get surprise. This theory also helps in changing human behavior. It can be used to change bad habits, removing fears, achieving goals, etc.
So what is the theory after all? It has two aspects as mentioned below.
All human behavior is motivated by two things – seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
As I mentioned previously, you might be thinking that what is new in this. Even I thought the same way, but when I studied this theory in detail I realized that we can use it to change many areas of our life. This might not be very exciting, but detail study can uncover many interesting things.
Let me explain to you one situation which will give you more insight into theory. Most of us like eating Fast food. We all know that it is not good for us, but we still eat it because we have associated emotion of pleasure with it. Same is with cold drink. Even Companies who produce it are aware of this theory, therefore they do advertise in such a way that they try to associate pleasure with the product. You might have seen the slogan of Coco cola which says: “Open Happiness”. Even Mc Donald’s slogan is “I am loving it”. They will never tell you about the ingredients because they know how to attract customers.
Similarly we avoid many things to avoid pain. Do you remember the first time when you touched the fire? You instantly pulled your hand back. Now whenever you see the fire you try to stay away from it. You start thinking that you might get burned and that is why you have associated the emotion of pain to it. Some association might not be there because of direct experience. Like in childhood our parents tell us to stay away from strangers, which is good for us in childhood, but we carry the same association even in our adulthood as well.
So now you have understood the theory and you start asking how can I use it for my benefit? Let me tell you simple steps to follow.
- Identify the habit or fear you want to see changes in.
- Analyze what kind of emotion you have associated with it. Whether it is pleasure or pain.
- Through your imagination change the old emotion and associate the habit or fear with different emotion.
Let me explain you above steps with one exercise. I will again choose Physical exercises because I know that many of my friends are struggling to start it. Hopefully this exercise helps them.
Let us understand why a person avoids physical exercise. They have associated exercise with pain of tiredness. So whenever they think of exercise they imagine their own picture of tired and exhausted. They also see the pain of waking up early and going out for jogging or gym.
Now let’s start the mental exercise. We will use the power of imagination and for that we will need some pictures and stories to use. Go to internet and surf for the picture of fat and out of tone people. Read the stories of people who have successfully overcome it and are seeing the benefits of physical exercise.
Now close your eyes and see what you have associated with exercise. You might see yourself sleeping till late and happy that you do not have to wake up early or you might be seeing picture of yours as tired. Now see yourself as fat and lazy lying on bed. You are so fat that you cannot get up on yourself. Your friends are making fun of you and nobody wants to go out with you. It is very painful.
Now see yourself as doing the physical exercise. You are fit and you are looking beautiful. You do not have to go to doctor every other month. You feel fulfilled from inside. You feel energized whole day. You finish all your work and at the end of the day you are not exhausted. It feels so good.
Slowly open your eyes. You have now associated the pain with not doing the exercise and pleasure with doing it. Whenever you will think of physical exercise you will see the pictures of yourself enjoying the fitness and energy. Hopefully this will help you in starting exercise.
Similar exercise is mentioned in Anthony Robbins book “Awaken the giant within”. If you want to know more on above exercise, then I highly recommend reading the book. Let me end this article with Anthony’s quote.
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” -Anthony Robbins