All set to go to the reception of my gentleman neighbour’s daughter’s reception party, when a long lost friend walks in with his family, a surprise. In the excitement , I forget, I was going somewhere. He reminds me, going some place ? Well now that we are here, you are not going anywhere. I said OK and we were into our old ways of talking and guffawing. After an hour, when the excitement subsided, a guilty feeling of not going for the party surfaced. The program was at the back of my mind, the whole day, I told my friend, stay back tonight , I will make a quick trip to a reception and be back.
“How important is it and where the hell ?”
“Its at the Taj, MG Road”
“Forget it, you are not going to make it”
“ Its quarter past seven, You have no idea when you are going to reach there, the traffic is exceptional , with an IPL cricket match on, it took ages for me to reach here”
“ I will call an OLA or uber”
“You can try, you may not get one at this hour, tell me how important is it for you to attend ?”
“He is my next door, we do not talk or meet everyday, however we respect each other, I would like to be with him and share a few of his joyous moments”
“ Listen, whether you go or not, the event will happen, he may not even miss you, call him and tell him you cannot come”
“I cannot call him, he will be busy attending his guests”
“ leave a message, whatsapp”.
I moved out of the scene, to be with myself for a few minutes. Myriads of thoughts, what difference will it make if I do not go, or go ?
If I do not go, what will he think of me ? That I did not give him importance nor honour his invitation ? or when I call him for any celebration, he will not turn up, a tit for tat ? Or will he understand I did not attend the function , due to some unavoidable reason ? or he may not think any thing at all.
If I go, he will be happy to see me and make me feel good, make our bond stronger.
Anthony Robbins, author of awaken the giant within, says everything you and I do , we do either out of need to avoid pain or our desire to gain pleasure
Here the pain point is the traffic, the stress and the uncertainty of reaching the destination before the close of the event.
The pleasure point is happy feeling, strengthening of bonds, a good neighbour, socialising and so on.
Here the avoidance of pain scored over pleasure. I did not go. Shame.
However, the pain of regret, guilt, a loss of face took over.
What if it was my sister’s daughter’s wedding ? I would have used the pleasure factor and gone for the event. Why ?
Excuses are required for not doing or going.
The pain and pleasure factor can influence our behaviour.
The pain of poverty can propel people to work for a living, in some cases it can make him a criminal. And then the negative side of crime can make him give up and change to better ways.
A decision to jog or not in the morning can be influenced by the pain factor of getting out of bed, changing into a track suit, the shoes, the weather, the lethargy, go it alone or the pleasure factor of being trim, healthy, active, swift, productive, confident, feel good, role model.
During my smoking days, I was always focussed on the pleasure I got from it. A silly reasons that it reduces tension, the feel nice after a smoke, and a special bond with other smoking mates kept me at it. There were enough advertisements and gruesome stories doing the rounds telling me how harmful it was. I had my well wishers pleading me to give it up. It had no effect.
One night after dinner when I wanted to smoke, cigarettes out of stock!!!. The desire increased and I went out in search of an open shop, at that time of the night. I was not finding any, when I stopped and realised that a cigarette has made me a slave and the agony it is causing. One way to avoid it is to give up smoking and told the cigarettes of the world, hence forth i will decide whether to smoke or not, I am not going to be dictated by you.. I have not smoked since then. Today when i see someone smoking, I pity them, poor victims of some false belief. They all start in style and end up stuck.
There is a reason for every behaviour. Deal with the cause behind it, procrastination, new business, financial investment, extra marital affairs, strong unwanted habits, to quote Robins by “understanding and utilising the forces of pain and pleasure will allow you once and for all to create the lasting changes and improvements you desire for yourself and those you care about.”
Here is an inspiring case born out of pain of boredom and a pleasure desire to help the revival of handloom weaving art and put life back into a community who were giving it up. My sister Indu menon and her daughter Chitra’s enterprise https://www.karaweaves.com/pages/about-us