What's The Direction Of Your Motivation? Toward Pleasure Or Away From Pain?

in #life4 years ago (edited)

Have you ever asked yourself what motivates you? is it what you want in life (pleasure) or is it what you want to avoid (pain). We all have those things programmed deep in our mind and they run our everyday behaviour.


Motivation Direction

Let's say you want to be financially independent, you are sick of being poor... or you want to be rich... whats the difference right? Well, there is a difference!
The difference is what motivates you, if you are thinking to your self "I don't wanna be poor" then what motivates you is avoiding being poor (Pain). If you are thinking "I wanna be rich!" then what motivates you is the idea of being rich (Pleasure).

Poor = Pain

Rich = Pleasure

This is just one example but you could take it anywhere:

" I don't want to be fat" vs "I want to be healthy",

"I have to be strong" vs " I can't be weak",

"I have to succeed" vs "I can't fail".

Sometimes the reward (pleasure) is big enough so we move toward the goal or the consequences (pain) are bad enough to make us move away from something. But sometimes it's a matter of thinking patterns.


The Reptile Brain

Our brain is made of three sections: outer brain which is the youngest and responsible for calculating, language, and another complex thinking. The middle section which is responsible for feeling and emotions. And the one which is important for this post the reptilian brain which is the oldest part of the brain and responsible for survival and instincts.

The reptile brain has one main focus, avoid pain and get pleasure.If this is not enough, the reptile brain also controlling autonomic bodily functions like beating rate of the heart, breathing rate and body temperature regulation.

Its only natural that this part of the brain has the biggest influence on our decision making. Still, its the most primitive part of the brain and sometimes irrational!
Sometimes you are confronted with a situation that triggers this part of the brain and the rational thinking usually won't have an effect. For example, why we rather sit here and have fun on steemit reading cool stuff instead of working on the post we planned to do for a long time? "Work = pain"(If you look at scientific research boredom and physical pain are very similar in the brain). And of course, our reptilian brain tries to avoid pain!

No wonder its soo hard to start and keep working out, working, a diet maybe, doing the stuff you wanted to do for soo long! It's hard when our own brain tries to avoid pain unconsciously! So... we cant do nothing about it?

Yes, we can! we can use the pleasure and pain system to our advantage. It's hard to start training, but what if we focus on the goal? or in other words the pleasure? think about how fit and healthy you can be! You can also avoid the pain of not being in shape and being unhealthy to your advantage but in my opinion, it's less effective.

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Thinking patterns


Aside from the influence of the reptile brain on our decision, there is also thinking patterns that are programmed into our brain. Each of us has certain Thinking patterns that differ from person to person.

Goal Setting - Toward Pleasure Motivation


People who have this kind of thinking patter usually move toward what they want to get and what they focus on, they will visualize the future and think of all the possibilities. This is the kind of people who will think "I want to succeed" and not "I don't want to fail".

Even though they are focused on their goals and always think of the positive side, sometimes, they won't recognize treats or obstacles they should avoid.

Avoiding - Away From Pain Motivation


People who have this kind of thinking patter usually tend to avoid possible pain. They will move away from what they don't want and that makes them good problem solvers. They get motivated by consequences and deadlines. Those are the kind of people who will think "I don't want to fail" instead of "I want to succeed"

The downside here is more clear, as they usually focus on the crisis or the problem, they will lose sight of their goals. This kind of thinking can be an obstacle as they try to manage their ambitions and do what they want.

Having The Balance

Yes... we have those patterns that already programmed into our brain. But it doesn't mean you have reframe the way you think and create new thinking patterns that could be productive for you!

The best thing you could have is the balance, be able to do both. Having your mind set to certain goals you want to archive but at the same time avoid harmful stuff and deal with problems in time.

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There is no such thing as "no"


What if I will tell you don't think about a pink elephant with wings, no matter what you do, don't think about a pink elephant with wings!
What are you not thinking about?

This is right, your unconscious mind does not know what "no" is. That means when you tell yourself don't think about something you are actually thinking about it. But this also means that sometimes when we try to avoid negative thoughts we actually think negative thoughts.

So if you tell yourself, "I can't be a loser! I have to do something with my life...", what your unconscious mind actually hear is "I am a loser". I think we can agree that a negative belief such as thinking you are a loser won't be productive and helpful in getting what you want.

Therefore, the smart way to approach the situation won't be thinking "I can't be a loser", but to think "I am a winner that's why I'm going to do X" or "I will do X in order to become successful".

Your mind tends to give you what you think about. I'm not speaking about "the law of attraction" but simply the way the brain works. We should feed our brain with positive thoughts in order for us to produce positive behaviours.


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🙂Thank you for reading!🙂

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Interesting article and it makes absolute sense. I generally have an away from motivation and tend to be risk averse in things in life. I am also a qualified accountant which proves the analysis. I work with an entrepreneur who often comes up with ideas that I have to point out the flaws in. He might think I'm negative but I provide a valuable yin to his yang!

You cannot give what you do not have. Those who understate the significance of success are either deceiving themselves or have abandoned their quest for it. You must understand that success is an important aspect of everyone's life, despite differences in culture, religion, financial status, social status and race. Most people would concur that success is critical and crucial to the wellbeing of every individual, be it in the aspect of their career, academics, investment, finance, business, family. Success is not the destination or the end goal, but a journey. The principles of success should not be treated as something that is not of importance. Nothing gives more confidence, happiness, fulfillment, and security like a successful life. The ability to contribute positively to your society or the environment is traceable to success. Also, success is contagious. When you are successful, those around you will naturally strive to be like you. They might unknowingly start adopting habits of yours that would lead them to achieving the same results you did. You have to be successful to aid in the development of your society. No nation can be termed developed if its people are not living comfortably. Success, no matter how small, is as important as life itself.
Thanks @paps

I wholeheartedly agree. The language we use affects us much more than most people know or understand. To constantly use the negatives programs our brains in that way and instead of actually avoiding that which we hope to avoid, we tend to attract even more of it. It does take a lot of work but if you practice enough focusing on the positive aspect of motivation over the negative aspect, things will fall into place eventually because you are reprogramming your brain towards a more positive goal-oriented mindset that instead of focusing on fear of failure, focuses on hope for success.

Great post, as usual, @paps! Thank you for sharing it with us all.

This is a damn fine post sir and it deserves more attention that it has currently received. i will resteem this( assuming i remember) in a couple hours :)

Also i think i managed to avoid thinking about the pink elephant until i just typed pink elephant. but i speed read so maybe my mind couldnt keep up :)
good advice though and ill definetly be trying to use pleasure over pain as motivation.

Thank you :D
I'm sure you did not think about ... ahhh I forgot :P

i remembered and resteemed for you man :P
although i must admit i did almost forget haha

I spoke about the pink elephant XD
But thank you brother ♥

I spoke about the pink elephant XD
But thank you brother ♥

love this topic, we should remind ourselves always what we think and say to us and others, for example:

"I don't want this job anymore!"

or

"I wanna found my own company!"

In the first case you end up unemployed and broke, unhappy with no real goals. Maybe you get your next bad job and after that the same.. forever. In the second case you work for your dream and find new opportunities each day driven by that big long term goal in your subconscious. Success is not guaranteed but your way is more towards fulfilment and the chances for a happy life are much greater than in the first case.

You are right brother!
Be careful with what you ask and specific with your goals is another thing I should have touched here.
Thank you:)

Upvoted!
Another Great article.
Thanks for sharing! :-)

I remember reading in Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow that the desire to avoid pain is naturally stronger than the desire to attain pleasure. Changing that takes practice, but some of us are more inclined toward achieving pleasure than avoiding pain.

It changes from person to person, you can see a lot of people engaging in destructive behaviour for pleasure (like gambling) even tho the pain is very clear in those situations.

Our mindset and outlook certainly make all of the difference from my perspective. Nice post!

I don't tend to fit into any particular pattern that I've found as I change my mind a lot. One moment it may be for pleasure, and the next it may be pain avoidance. It may also be for pleasure or pain avoidance of someone else. I change my mind quite a bit, so pinning down one way I think or approach things is difficult to do. Solving puzzles while avoiding boxes. That motivates me quite a bit.

It's possible to be balanced or to be away\toward in certain situations. It's also possible to change the way we think :)
Thank you for the comment!

I don't tend to fit into any particular pattern that I've found as I change my mind a lot. One moment it may be for pleasure, and the next it may be pain avoidance. It may also be for pleasure or pain avoidance of someone else. I change my mind quite a bit, so pinning down one way I think or approach things is difficult to do. Solving puzzles while avoiding boxes. That motivates me quite a bit.

My frame of mind at the time can make a big difference too. I view my mind almost like something with different gears. Depending which gear I am in the way I think tends to differ.

It's possible to be balanced or to be away\toward in certain situations. It's also possible to change the way we think :)
Thank you for the comment!

Nevertheless we all have thinking patterns whether we are aware of them or not :)

Good food for thought and very well composed , keep it up @paps

Thank you :)

I would rather seek pleasure than avoid pain

Good Idea :)

Haha, "Sometimes when we try to avoid negative thoughts we actually think negative thoughts " TBH this happens to me a lot as well. Thanks for the advice brother. I think it's very important that we build our mentality in a positive way. Always occupy the mind with positiveness.

Thank you for a great comment brother :)

As a follower of @followforupvotes this post has been randomly selected and upvoted! Enjoy your upvote and have a great day!

One truly Brilliant Post! Upped !

Thank you :)

Interesting Insight, Thanks for Sharing !

My pleasure!

Great information ! a very informative post :)

Thank you :)

Great post @paps . Loved reading it. Please PM me on discord chat. Could not find u. Upvoted and following u as always.
Regards Nainaz
#thealliance

Thank you as always :)
I will try finding you on discord.

i strongly believes that human are made to thrive almost everything here on earth and motivation is one of their 'in-born' talent. Just in somehow others dont know how let them out. Its those bad times that keep us from getting those goals we want in life :) VERY NICE POST!

Thank you!!!

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Interesting read @paps

I like what you said about having balance.

To add to that, I'd like to share a quote from Jim Rohn:

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

To put this into perspective, a person with discipline will seek help and keep on going when things get tough. I'd rather have the pain of discipline that the pain of regret - that is quitting when things get hard.

Thank you for sharing.

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