A buxom associate of mine and I got closeted in the lift together the other day. After sizing me up for a few seconds, he congratulated me excitedly and enquired – “Masha Allah Ibrahim! You seem to have lost lot of weight. How did you pull this off? “Disciplined living…..My friend”, I replied. “It’s time you took this track as well…” I went on to suggest in a patronizing tone. Before stepping out at his floor, he blocked the elevator door and sadly complained “I have tried all sorts of diets and exercise regimes. Though I start with a lot of enthusiasm, I just can’t stay put and I end up worse than before. You need to tell me the secret of your “discipline” ”.
A close relative who came home for EID was berating the utter unwillingness of her teenage son to put in the required hours of learning. “He spends all his time working on his fancy electronic projects. How wonderful would it be if he showed the same interest towards his school work”, she wondered.
Both the above incidents are typical case studies of Motivation or lack of it. Why do we find it so hard to do some things that others do effortlessly and happily? Why do we readily start and sustain certain things that some others vouch as absolutely incorrigible?
All these questions will lead us to two little cupboard racks in the inner store rooms of our mind. One of them is labeled “Pain”. The other is labeled “Pleasure”. All the things that we have to do on a daily basis are dumped into either of these racks. Every behavior of ours depends on the location of its storage. If I have stored “Relishing of Cheese cake” under pleasure and “Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day” under pain, you can rest assured that I will never ever exercise and will not lose any opportunity to raid the fridge. On the other hand, a body building enthusiast will have stored away “eating dessert” under pain and “lifting weights” under pleasure. No wonder he looks and feels the way he does.
Every time, we have to do something, our minds ask us this question- “Will this give me pain or pleasure?” We are all by default programmed to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. So all our actions depend solely on the name of the rack we have filed it under. As long as they stay there, no amount of coercing or cajoling from outside can motivate us to move an inch. Period.
So how can we acquire the internal motivation to do something that we don’t want to do? Simple!!!!- Just re- file the action. And voila!!!! Your life changes for the best.
“Come on! It cannot be so easy and quick”….You may be saying. Trust me. It’s that simple. Let me illustrate.
A smoker who have never been able to quit, kicks the deadly habit the instant his doctor takes a long hard look at his x ray and says- “If you touch one more cigarette, you are dead, my friend”. His years of puffing notwithstanding, he would stay miles away from cigarettes simply because the very thought of lighting up would induce intense and intolerable pain in him and the very thought of having well laundered lungs and a healthy life would gives him bursts of delight. He has gone through permanent change in an instant.
How can we use Pain and Pleasure to change our lives?
As an illustration, Let me advice my Buxom elevator companion.
He has to simply keep doing the following….
Keep reading without fail about the potential hazards of overeating. Read accounts of obese youngsters succumbing to heart attacks. Imagine the pain of undergoing surgery. Create mental pictures of a life devoid of all the sweet and yummy delights of life. See one self being ridiculed by others for resembling a well endowed pop corn seed. See one self living a life of scarcity, deprived of good health and happiness.
At the same time, visualize oneself as fit and healthy. Create vivid and compelling pictures of being admired by one and all. Meet and socialize with people who have bodies to die for. Paste pictures of role models with well toned bodies around. Imagine a life of health and happiness. Imagine the impact this would make on your loved ones. See yourself living a life of abundance, peace and contentment.
By alternating these inputs to ones brain consciously and relentlessly, you sub consciously facilitate a storage shift. Without even realizing it, you will start exercising regularly and will be surprised to see yourself decline the extra helping of that extremely enticing dessert.
Trust me. You will be amazed at the change. And it will be permanent because your mental closet is finally in order. Go ahead and try it. If you need any help, please feel free to call me on 050 3423552.
(The Pain and Pleasure concept can be found in more detail in Anthony Robbin’s bestselling book- Awaken the Giant within). Get it here From Amazon