virgin islands scene

You miss 100% of the shots you never take.
-- Wayne Gretzky


Monday, March 3, 1997

The pain of not taking action

The two most powerful motivators are the desire to have pleasure and the desire to avoid pain. Of these two, the desire to avoid pain is usually strongest. Normally, we will do more to avoid pain than we will do to seek pleasure.

Is there something you know you need to do, that you have not done? Chances are, the reason you haven’t done it is because there is some kind of pain associated with it. Even though taking action could eventually bring you much pleasure, your desire to avoid pain is even stronger than your desire for pleasure. It prevents you from doing what needs to be done.

So how do you get around this? Instead of focusing on the pain of doing it, focus on the pain of NOT doing it. It is painful to quit smoking, or start an exercise program, or make cold calls, or learn a new skill, or to do anything that will improve your life. And yet it is even MORE painful to not do these things. Focus on that bigger, long term pain and it will motivate you to act.

The desire to avoid pain has a powerful effect on your life. Learn to control it instead of letting it control you. Remind yourself that the biggest pain is the pain of regret for not taking action.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1997 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.