All the things we do in life are governed by 2 main criteria; Pain and Pleasure that we receive from doing that particular action. In other words, we all do things to either Gain Pleasure or to Avoid Pain. It all sound quite simplistic doesn't it? If that is the case, how do you account for the number of people into taking drugs, smoking, binge drinking when they know very well that all these actions and activities are going to make them feel the Pain in the near future.
Well, the real truth is that we have to add the Time factor into the Pain and Pleasure equation as well. Like all creatures with feelings, most people would give first priority to the things that would remove the Pain quickly and give instant relief or Pleasure. Let me illustrate this with an example. Why do people take drugs or drink excessive alcohol knowing that these are bad for their health and will cause Pain in the long run? The reason is because taking drugs and excessive alcohol will almost instantly remove any Pain they have and give them almost immediate pleasure.
Most of the things we do in life can be placed into one of 4 quadrants as follows :
1. Things that does not feel good and are not good for you eg
2. Things that does not feel good but are good for you
3. Things that feels good and are good for you
4. Things that feels good but are bad for you
The problem why many people are not successful in life, is because we misuse this Pain-Pleasure-Time principle. In other words, many people tend to have a lot of activities in quadrant one, where we do a lot of activities that feel good, but are not necessarily good for us! We give the Time factor too much priority. We want instant gratification!
So, what is one secret to success; a small secret with a potentially very big result? The secret is to identify and replace the things you do in quadrant four with those in quadrant two; things that does not feel so good, but are generally good for you. Some of the activities in Quadrant Four includes smoking, excessive alcohol, sleeping too much, watching too much tv, gossiping, eating too much etc... Activities in Quadrant Two includes exercising, studying and learning, waking up early etc...
What about Quadrant One and Three? We are not focusing on Quadrant One and Three because these two quadrants are usually quite obvious. In other words, very few people will actually do the things that make them feel bad and are generally bad for them and most will actually do a lot of the things that makes them feel good and are good for them.
What's really interesting is that many of activities, especially with regard to the area of feeling good, are interchangeable, depending on who you are? For example, while some healthy sports makes some people feel really good participating in them and are generally good for them, it may not necessarily feel good to everyone. Cycling is generally a healthy sport and some may feel good doing it while some may not. Nobody likes to smoke first time around but over time, they grow to enjoy it.
Identifying the activities in Quadrant Four and replacing them with activities in Quadrant Two is easy. The difficulty is keeping it consistent because most people will find it really difficult to continue to do the things that do not feel good, even though they know it is good for them. There's some good news for most people here. The good news is that while most people may not feel good initially doing the activities in Quadrant Two, they tend to develop a good feeling for the activity for it once they begin to see results. Let's take exercise as an example. Nobody likes to exercise if they can help it. However, once they see what exercise can do for them (as in looking and feeling good), they will begin to enjoy the activity more and more. Sometimes an activity that may be downright boring when performed alone, can become really interesting if performed in a group or with like minded people.
So, while the first secret to success in most things you do is to identify the activities in Quadrant Four and replace them with activities in Quadrant Two, the ability to keep doing the things in Quadrant Two is to slowing move them to Quadrant Three by slowly developing a "taste" for doing them or finding a way to do them so that they become enjoyable!
About Cher Hung Seet
C.H. has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. He spent a large part of his career working for large multinationals such as Hewlett Packard and Rockwell Automation. C.H. now heads a German multinational in SE Asia and is the author of the blog http://www.ezinspirations.com focusing on Success in Life!
In his free time, C.H. indulge in hobbies like Fishing, Cycling, Motorbiking, Photography. He has another blog at http://www.fishinghorizon.com focusing on his fishing adventures throughout the world!
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