Away from Pain. Towards Pleasure.

At the most basic level, why do we do anything? What is the most fundamental element of motivation? What is the first principle of action?

In the most simple terms, everything we do is either to move away from pain, or move towards pleasure.


Check this little guy out.


This is a one celled creature illustrating the first principle of motivation quite nicely. One of the simplest life forms on the planet, and amoeba, is moving towards food — pleasure. If you were to add a drop of sulfuric acid to its environment, it would quickly move away from certain death — pain.

It blew my mind to realize motivation is as simple as an amoeba’s thought process.

Before you say, “But, I’m a much higher life form than a little ol’ amoeba!” think about everything you’ve decided to do, and why you did it.

You’ll realize, sooner or later, that you either did it to avoid pain, or to enhance pleasure.

Here’s where it gets tricky, though.

Being a higher life form means we get to add a twist to the process.

You move away from what you believe is painful, and you move towards what you believe is pleasurable.

Most of our beliefs are constructed from what we can remember about past experiences; both pleasurable and painful. The problem is, we sometimes don’t remember things quite right. Our memory is demonstrably abysmal.

It stands to reason if you’re not remembering something right, the belief it supports is fundamentally flawed, too.

If you want to create real, lasting change, you must first examine your beliefs that are sabotaging your progress from the inside.

Your values are born out of your beliefs, so if you’re not motivated to create the change needed to achieve the goals you’ve set, you have to examine the beliefs you’re keeping that are preventing movement in the right direction.

This takes us back to Value from the Motivation Triangle. If your beliefs are draining your motivation, your values are in need of reprioritizing.

Rooting out your beliefs is a very difficult process. Many of your beliefs exists below the surface, without your conscious awareness, so it changing your beliefs isn’t something that happens overnight. No one can do it for you, it depends on your own initiative and work.

Get started identifying the limiting beliefs that stand between you and your goals!

Have questions? Suggestions? Feel free to email me here, or connect with me on my Google+ profile. We’d love to hear from you!

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