Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Pain and Pleasure Principle

Every single human being is motivated 1 of 2 ways: move away from pain or go towards pleasure. For a very simplistic example, in most religions, there is the Heaven and Hell concept

People who are motivated by pleasure:

A person lives their life to go to Heaven. This means that the thought of going to Heaven (pleasure) motivates them to be a good person.

People who are motivated by pain:

A person lives their life to stay away from Hell. This means that the thought of going to Hell (pain) motivates them to be a good person.

Since many (not all)  religions use it asa type of leverage, this principle has been a deciding factor amongst people for a very long time. This is also why goals are a great thing to have, but don’t work for many people (away from pain people).

To find out if you or your the person you’re talking to is away from pain or towards pleasure, ask the following questions:

What do you want? (it doesn’t have to be materialistic)
What’s important to you about doing/having?
And what will that do?

People who are away from pain will answer with the following:

  • financially free
  • it will make life easier
  • make you stress free
  • prevent
  • avoid
  • remove

People who are toward pleasure will answer with the following:

  • feel good
  • make you happy
  • accomplish
  • attain
  • include
  • achieve

How to use it to be a persuasive communicator:

Self-motivation is a very powerful tool that unfortunately most people don’t have. Most people rely on external factors which won’t necessarily always be there.

People that are toward pleasure should always create goals and then find friend, family, co-workers etc. to hold them accountable to them. Doing so will allow them to keep them focus and help them be reminded and re-reminded of what they want to achieve.

Try this: Create a vision board. Cut out some pictures of the things you want and put them on piece of paper you can hang on a wall. It’s very simple and yes it works.

People who are away from pain must simply think about what they don’t want. For example, if you are thinking of not going into work today:

If I don’t go to work, I might get fired. If I get fired, I’ll have no money. If I have no money, then I can’t pay my mortgage. If I can’t pay my mortgage, I’ll have to live on the streets. I should probably just go to work.

Other ways this concept can work in your advantage

The concept obviously remains the same as if you were to do this to yourself. Scenarios of using the pain and pleasure principle on others would be:

  • Employees -reward employees for working hard or warn them about what happens if you don’t
  • Sales – have prospects buy your product/service for what it can do or have them buy to avoid what happens if they don’t
  • Kids – Tell your kids to clean up their room and do their homework so you can take them to get ice cream or if they don’t, you’ll take away their TV.

Surely you’re starting to realize the vast amount of leverage you’ll acquire by using the pain and pleasure principle.

It’s very simple to apply as long as you pay close attention to which direction the person you’re communicating with is going. Practice by writing down the words I listed above and listen for them when you talk with someone.