In NLP we often use two words ‘Pain’ and ‘Pleasure’. All our actions are governed by them e.g. pleasure for eating junk food and pain for exercising. Pleasure for watching TV and pain for reading a book. Pleasure in chatting with colleagues and pain for doing the job.
We connect it to our thoughts and emotions as well, and since emotion governs the motion. These 2P’s form our entire lifestyle. A recent observation on this came to me during Zumba. It’s a form of exercise through rigorous dancing and can take a while to get used to. Often, I see a newbie walking in with all the excitement and enthusiasm only to be seen panting by the end!
Now, whether this person will come for the next class or not depends on how they perceive the experience. Whether they associate it to pain ‘Omg, it’s too difficult!’ or pleasure ‘Wow! It was challenging, let’s continue!‘ If they feel miserable and associate it with ‘Pain’, they will wallow in their own self-pity, rationalise it by giving excuses and decide to quit. On the contrary, if they link it to ‘Pleasure’, the experience will be exhilarating, and they will be excited to work twice as hard next time.
Think about it, so many times we have given up on learning something new just coz it was difficult and involved change and we often associate ‘Pain’ to change and difficulty.
What stops us linking to it with pleasure?
After all, everything is difficult before it becomes easy. A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. Take inspiration from a child who’s learning how to walk. He walks a few steps, falls, cries but never gives up. He has associated walking to pleasure and independence. Soon, he learns not to just walk but run! So why don’t we take it as a challenge and get excited to reach the finish line.
Here’s where Linguistics and Perceptions play crucial role. Your choice of words will fuel either pain or pleasure and our words are largely determined by our perceptions. Saying ‘people on roads are careless and driving is dangerous’ or ‘saving money means letting go of fun’ will weigh us down and program our subconscious never to learn to drive or invest. On the contrary, saying that ‘driving will make me independent or ‘saving money now will help in a rainy day’ will associate it with pleasure and motivate us towards it.
Your brain is like a powerful computer eagerly awaiting your command. Whether you command it for pain or pleasure, is your decision. When we are exhausted, quitting sounds good but there is pleasure in endurance. So, before you give up next time, think of whether you are giving up coz of ‘pain’ or ‘pleasure’. Here’s a suggestion, if you are thinking to quit coz of ‘pain’.
Practice it for 21 days. This is when knowledge transitions to skill and your brain will perceive it as pleasure. If, at all your perception doesn’t change even then, discontinue.
Fritz Kreisler was once asked ‘How do you play so well, are you lucky?’
He replied ‘It’s practice, if I don’t practice for a month, my audience can tell the difference, if I don’t practice for a month, my wife can tell the difference. If I don’t practice for a day, I can tell the difference.’
Remember, being aware of your linguistics and perception, gives you all the control to condition your brain and change its outlook from Exhaustion to Excitement.