Will You Do More to Avoid Pain than to Gain Pleasure?

I finally figured out how life works about 20 years ago when I was in my 30’s.  What I figured out were two things; first, I should listen to my parents more in the future than I had in the past. Secondly, to be successful in life, I should try to copy “successful people.”  By the sheer number of lumps on my head and business failures on the books, it was obvious, at the tender age of 32, that I never paid much attention to these two life lessons.

But then along came a guy named Tony Robbins who has been one of those individuals that has made a positive influence in my life and has taught me many things.  But this one lesson in particular is very true and is in play every day with all of us:

We Will Do More to Avoid ‘Pain’ than to ‘Gain’ Pleasure?

Yes the almighty and powerful BRAIN takes over and at the same split second that fear or challenge is perceived, we move from homeostasis, (balance), to the full “fight or flight” syndrome of stress.  I also find it interestingly ironic that those two words in the previous sentence, “pain” and “gain,” although they have total opposite meanings, are very much related and usually come hand in hand with anything worth achieving!

Isn’t that true ladies and gentlemen?  Haven’t we all tried to cut corners and to do things our “modified” way so we can avoid the true sacrifice, and ease around the pain threshold as we try to progress forward?  Absolutely we all have-and about 68% of Americans who are overweight / obese presently are caught up in this dichotomy of “pain and pleasure” every day of their lives.  So much so that they become Pavlovian while watching a 3 am infomercial promising us a Zeus-like physique in just 7 minutes a day.

Like many things in life, there are the right ways to do things and the wrong ways to do things with a lot of grey in between.  My 30+ years of experience with health & fitness, my studies and my knowledge both personally and through the results, or lack thereof, of hundreds of clients over the years, tell me that there are no corners to cut and or quick fix fads worth even talking about when it comes to optimal health.

Often when we are trying to lose weight and firm up our bodies, many of us look for that magic pill to take, don’t we?  Very few of us want to put the time in to knock off the weight that we so steadily and with such focus, packed on our skeletal structures.  I always say, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!” Seriously, why eat all those empty food calories if they are going to store as fat because you are sedentary and not active enough to consume such calories?

Are You Addicted to Food?

Why?  Did you ever consider that maybe you are addicted to food?  Most likely if you are 30-60 plus pounds overweight in this country, according to both the CDC and U.S. Surgeon General, you certainly are!

If you’re 60+ pounds over-weight, you are morbidly obese, which actually means if you don’t adjust your eating and activity levels, you are going to possibly eat your way to DEATH.  It’s happening right now to thousands of people every day in America, the land of plenty!

So let me wrap this blog up by saying something really straight to you: check your weight and see where you are at with your BMI (body mass index) and fitness levels.

Get Out of Denial

Be real, get out of denial if you need to, and take some serious action every day to make a difference in the other direction towards better health, and you will start to feel better instantly– I promise. Even if it is 10-20 minutes each day, something is better than nothing.

Stop believing that you can look like a fitness model.  Those are fitness models in those commercials if you haven’t figured it out yet, they workout and eat right all day so they can be in fitness commercials!!  Get it? Stop looking to avoid the pain associated with weight management and regular exercise–give yourself more credit.  Hit it hard and steady for 30 days for 20-30 minutes to form new habit.  Then it will become easier in time.  When you avoid pain for too long to gain instant pleasure, you will ultimately end up in more pain than you bargained for.

Jack Lalanne always said how much he hated exercising for two hours each day, which he did for more than 77 years. He said, “I did it for how it made me feel afterwards.”

A little bit of pain can go a long way toward gaining some pleasure!

Check out my website, michaelsena.com, for more great articles to keep you healthy!


Michael has been presenting his passion and knowledge of wellness to the world for more than three decades now; motivating millions of individuals to take action and make positive changes in their lives every day. As a top selling book author of “Lean Mom, Fit Family” (Rodale 2005), and writer of published and featured articles and columns, Michael’s expertise has appeared on the pages of The Wall Street Journal; USA Today; Prevention Magazine; Hemisphere’s Magazine; Chicago Tribune; Chicago Sun-times and on the airwaves of CNN; Fox News; Headline News; MSNBC; ABC; and on NBC-5, and WGN-9 in Chicago where he hosted live weekly fitness segments for more than 8 years. Michael was also the Health & Fitness consultant to UNITED Airlines reaching more than 4 million flyers each month with healthy travel tips. As an I.F.B.B. official, Michael has addressed audiences of thousands at international wellness conventions in Helsinki, Finland, Rimini, Italy, and here in the United States from coast to coast.

One thought on “Will You Do More to Avoid Pain than to Gain Pleasure?

  • August 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Great article!!! I love how it gets to the root of what’s really holding us back from reaching our goals. Very inspiring! I look forward to reading more articles from you!


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