Article Details

Pain and Pleasure Motivators

What you will get: A reminder of the key drivers to take action.


Too much pain is not good for you…


Yet still I see the “pain” approach dominate in many organisations.


So what am I talking about?




You see…


There are 2 key drivers that motivate you to take action in your life – pain and pleasure.


For example, did you buy a new car because you love the new model (pleasure) or because your old car broke down (pain)?


Did you start eating healthy food because you love the taste and energy it gives you (pleasure) or because your health was in a bad way and you were forced to change your diet (pain)?


Did you write the report because you love writing reports (pleasure) or because your boss will fire you if you don’t (pain)?


(And yes, there are a few people out there who do like writing reports!)


And of course…


Often it is a combination of both pleasure and pain that drives us to take action. So maybe you do enjoy a healthy salad and, at the same time, you know you have to lose weight.


Problem is…


Like I said, too many people and organisations rely predominantly on pain as a motivator.


And contrary to the popular saying…


No pain no gain…


A more accurate saying is…


Too much pain again and again will give no gain at all!


Here’s an example…


I have recently been taking my 6 month old puppy, Odi, to dog training.


The first trainer I saw used a pure pain approach to try to motivate me to take action.


Things like…


If you don’t train your dog to come back it could hurt or scare someone and that’s irresponsible as a dog owner.


If you don’t stop him biting now you will have problems later on.


After a while, I got tired of these pain motivators and went to another trainer.


And she said something like…


“It’s normal for a puppy to want to play so make coming back to you fun by always having a toy for him to play with”




“Puppies like to bite so when he does give him something he can bite and play with, and reward him when he does.”


Big difference, right?


So how can you use this?


Well first, think about how you motivate yourself to make changes in your life.


Do you wait until things are really bad before you take action?
Or do you focus more on the gains you will get when you succeed in making the changes you want to make?


And then, of course…


There’s your communication culture at work.


Focus more on the benefits people will get in achieving their purposeful goals, and less on the consequences and drawbacks if they don’t.


And it is true…


That both pleasure and pain are motivators to take action.


But I find a balance of mostly pleasure with the occasional reminder of pain works best.


How about you?


To your success







Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


P.S. Great news, my brand new True Success online webinar programme will give you all the tools and guidance you need to make 2016 your most successful year ever. Details to follow soon…


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High-Performance Leadership

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