Do you think that would be an incredible place to wake up every day?
And what would be your reaction if I told you that it is NOT exactly what you want?
Let me explain myself…
A few years ago, a group of adolescents committed a horrible crime.
Being 7 or 8 in the group, they randomly selected a woman who was walking in the park and, by brute force, they beat her and raped her.
Police investigations discovered these were not “trouble kids”.
No history of violence, family problems, nor drug use came into the kids’ realities.
These were kids from upper-middle class families who went to private schools and had a healthy environment surrounding them.
The crime did not come after an afternoon doing drugs nor because of racial motives.
There was one single reason for their crime: fun.
They even selected a new verb for what they were set out to do: “wilding.”
Not very far from that area, due to a very heavy and intense snowstorm, a plane crashed after a takeoff right into the Potomac Bridge, and at the height of peak hour.
The area became a complete chaos and paramedics, and officials were overwhelmed with their rescue efforts.
One man constantly passed the life preserver to others, and in doing so, he lost his own life.
By the time the helicopters came to rescue him it was too late, and his efforts to helping others didn’t stop him from continuing to do so, even at the expense of his own life.
I want you to think about this for a second: a man who gives up his own life to save the ones of others, people who were completely unknown to him.
What was the force that compelled him to place more value on other’s people lives than to his own?
What is the reason that makes a person who comes from a “good background” behave with so much cruelty and, on the other hand, makes a man behave like a true hero to society?
What is the force that drives a man or a woman to become a gangster, a social fighter, a humanitarian, a rockstar, or a monk?
I’ve devoted a good chunk of my life to discover this hidden force, for I believe that finding the root of things is what gives us the knowledge and power to change them (or change our attitude towards them).
We human beings are not people who go out doing things randomly just because “we feel like it” and that’s it.
There are a purpose and a driving force behind our actions, and I’m sure that when you read the next sentence, you’ll understand and agree.
We are in a constant and never ending purpose to FEEL pleasure and AVOID pain, at all costs.
Think about it…
When you go to have that coffee in the morning, do you do it because it makes you feel bad?
What about when you do things that harm you in some way?
For example, smokers certainly know that cigarettes harm their health, but they give them pleasure, damn it!
Everything we do, and I mean everything, comes from a deep basic and very rooted need to feel pleasure and avoid pain.
So when I say that that ideal picture I described at the beginning of this chapter is not what you actually want, what I really mean is that what you’re truly after is the feeling you think it will give you.
You think it will give you pleasure, and that’s the deep and root reason of desires, goals, and dreams.
This pleasure can be in the form of:
- Feeling loved
- Feeling comfort
- Feeling secure
- Feeling adventurous
- Feeling freedom
- And on and on and on…
It can vary from person to person but the verb stays the same for everyone: feeling good in some way or another.
I’ve seen and heard so many times people who desire some type of change in their lives but they just can’t get themselves to follow through.
They get caught up, or distracted, or they just basically quit.
And this brings a whole set of negative emotions into that person’s mind.
They know what they need to do and yet they seem unable to do it.
They are trying to change the wrong thing.
They are trying to change effect instead of the root.
They try to change their actions and behaviour, instead of changing what they link pain and pleasure to.
If someone has a never-ending struggle with sugar and chocolate, it’s not stopping to eat it the action that needs to be changed.
That’s the effect.
The main successful action is linking a lot of pain and displeasure to chocolate and sugar.
A person who absolutely loves sugar but wants to stop, her restraining actions have a date of expiry!
Because sugar gives her so much pleasure!
Why wouldn’t she indulge in it?
But let that person eat nothing but chocolate, non-stop, for 3-4 days, and just a little bit of water.
Literally nothing else.
She’ll feel sick to her stomach, and the feeling of pleasure will quickly be replaced by a massive feeling of dissatisfaction.
Most importantly, her brain will start to create neurological pathways that will create a deep-rooted painful feeling towards sugar and chocolate.
Whenever an intense emotional and physical experience happens to us, a strong link is created in the brain, a link that is very difficult to break.
It’s like those people who were pushed to the water when they didn’t know how to swim and live all their lives with intense fear towards swimming because of the fear the drowning feeling they experienced in the past.
In the chocolate example, let that person repeat that process several times over a course of three months (with the help of a doctor) and I can guarantee you she won’t be eating sugar and chocolate anymore.
Understanding and using the forces of pain and pleasure is one of the most efficient ways to change what we do and one of the things that allows us to create the changes and behaviours we want.
Using this principle allows us to live a life of action instead of reaction.
We are captains and not slaves of our behaviours.
Think about procrastination, another thing that most of us suffer at some time or another.
It’s the act of knowing we should do something yet we don’t do it.
At a deep level, doing the action means more pain to us than procrastinating.
Procrastinating actually feels better!
Why would we choose pain over pleasure?
And yet, have you ever procrastinated at something so much that eventually you felt a deep urge that you must do it now, that it cannot wait anymore?
What happened there?
The pain and pleasure balance changed.
At that moment procrastinating became more painful than taking action.
The secret of any type of success lies in using the principle of pain and pleasure in a way that it serves you.
Failure to do so puts you in the “slave seat”, where pain and pleasure are your masters.
We want the opposite in order to control our lives.
What you link pain and pleasure to shapes your own destiny so it’s of extreme importance to be aware of this principle and apply it to our benefit.
Our dreams and goals are sure to be nurtured.
By no means, I’m encouraging to give up on any of the beautiful visions you hold dear in your own mind.
At the same time, it is of utmost importance to understand the changing nature of this world.
Everything is in a constant and never-ending change, and so will our dreams and goals too.
Hence, why encourage you that, no matter where you want to head in life, no matter what your ambitions are in your life, always, always, always, remember that if we link incredible pain to any behaviour or action, we will stop doing it.
This will shape our actions towards becoming a free person, a person who is in charge of her actions and is not a victim of them.
And how do you do that?
How to link pain to something?
It may require for you to use a little bit of your imagination, but basically, any action/s that creates a strong emotional and/or physical impact do the work.
I was blessed to be born in a loving family who took great care in helping me link massive pain to drugs.
Apart from the typical dinner table talks about some close friends/relatives examples, my parents took me as a kid to neighbourhoods and places where the use of drugs (and their effects on people) was evident, and they did so several times.
As a kid, you can imagine what an impact this created on my mind.
From those trips, the only thing I saw was complete mental, emotional, and physical devastation.
Today, even though I’ve been exposed to it many times, I have never touched drugs in my life.
I’ve smoked some marijuana a few times, and that’s about it.
Never tried anything else, ever.
The effort my parents took to create a lasting emotional and mental effect towards drugs on me will last a lifetime, and you can apply the same principle to anything.
Use this principle to your advantage, the things that we want and desire are changing things.
Today you’re excited and thrilled about the new man you’re dating.
Tomorrow some things can happen (either from his end, yours, or both ends) and suddenly the excitement and thrill disappear, with a huge desire to dump his ass!
So what is it that you really want?
It is not that man or woman in particular… the deep-rooted desire is the experience of feeling loved and desired by a partner that makes you feel happy.
That’s the core dream, and what we’re really after.