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Understanding The Pain and Pleasure Principle

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Home Based Business
The pain and pleasure principle, also known as the pleasure principal, is universal. It guides us in virtually everything we do, whether we are aware of it or not. Simply put, the pleasure principle states that people are driven to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. In other words, we are willing to do things that will bring us pleasure and we are unwilling to do things that will cause us pain. Sounds pretty obvious doesn't it?

It seems however that the two forces are out of balance. The avoidance of pain often wins from the desire to seek pleasure. Perhaps in the case of physical pain this seems logical, at least to a certain extent. But in most cases we're not talking about physical pain. Most often people choose to do things, or rather not to do certain things, in order to avoid emotional pain. Some people go even further and simply state that people avoid pain, they don't seek pleasure. People may know very well that in order to achieve certain results they desire, something needs to be done. They may even have a high degree of certainty that doing that something will indeed produce the desired result. But if that something makes them feel bad or even slightly uncomfortable, they're out. Of course logically this doesn't make any sense. Rationally we know that we can get to C is we just put A and B together. But the fact is: we are not as rational as we sometimes claim to be. Human beings are mainly emotional creatures. We take decisions emotionally and then we try to back them up with logic.

Most people would agree that the drive to avoid pain is stronger than the drive to seek pleasure. One of the reasons why this drive is this strong is because it is built into our biological survival system. Physical pain will cause people to automatically withdraw from what they perceive to be the source of their pain. Rationally we know that physical and emotional pain are not the same, but since the human brain has difficulty distinguishing real pain from perceived pain, most people react to it in exactly the same way.

"So why is this relevant for my business? you might say. Well, first of all if this is true for most people, it's probably true for you too. You may not realize it, but you've probably fallen into this trap more than once. More importantly; if you remain unaware of this, you will continue to do so. And regardless of what business you're in, that will hurt your bottom line. If you're in a business where you're dealing with other people, you should be aware that they are subject to the same exact principle. As a network marketer you are dealing almost exclusively with people. Therefore understanding this principle and applying it will prove to be crucial to your business success. Some of you may be using it without even knowing it. If you have a successful upline that teaches you exactly what to do and what to say there is a good chance that this principle is, at least partially, embedded into their training systems.

Many times we try to move people into action by getting them to focus on the pleasure they can get when they reach success. Although this can be very successful, there are many times when your prospect just doesn't seem to get excited about the potential rewards. You may have banged your head against the wall a couple of times. Perhaps you have mentally labeled your prospect as one of those poor unfortunate folks that just don't get it. People that aren't the least bit interested in improving the quality of their life. Granted, over time you probably will run into a couple of those, but the majority of people you meet will not fall into that category. Most people really do want a better quality of life; they want more free time, more money, more respect and more success. What's holding them back is fear. They fear change and associate pain with taking the necessary actions to make it happen. Obviously they perceive taking action as more painful than staying where they're at right now. And thus, they choose not to take the necessary actions.

In order to successfully move people into action you will have to apply the pain and pleasure principle on at least two levels. First you must apply it on yourself. Look closely at the way you conduct your business and you will inevitably find that there are many things you should do or do differently. You know you should be prospecting, presenting and duplicating and you also know that you have to be strong to lead your people. But why aren't you? Simple answer: you associate pain with either one of those steps. In order to change this it will help if you start associating pain with not doing all those things. Think of how it will hurt you in the long run if you continue not taking action. You will find that when the pain of not doing it gets worse than the pain of doing it, you will decide to do whatever it is that needs to be done.

The second step is to apply this principle on your people. If you do this successfully you will find that you can actually make fear work for you. To illustrate this, picture yourself in a face to face encounter with a wild - and hungry - animal, for example a lion. If it is in front of you and you continue facing it, chances are the fear will paralyze you. And if you're fortunate enough to come to your senses before the lion gets to you, one thing is certain: moving forward will be the last thing on your mind. You can only move backwards and we all know how fast that goes. Instead, if you were to turn around and get the object of your fear behind you, you would discover just how fast you really can be. You would probably have little problems with some of the hurdles along your escape. In fact you would give many professional athletes a run for their money.

So how does this apply to you and the people in your business? Simple. Help them become aware that it is their fear and perception that is holding them back. Help them see that they are simply trying to avoid pain and that they obviously perceive taking action as painful. Then help them associate even more pain to not taking action and continue this up to the point where taking action becomes the only alternative. Then just strap in your seatbelts and watch 'em go.