Day 223, Motivating with The Four Points of Pleasure
I am feeling better this morning. For four days now, I have been taking SAMe, and it is working. I have also been reviewing Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins.
The Four Points of Pleasure
How to use pleasure and pain for motivation I have never fully understood. I have avoided many pleasurable things in the past because they can lead to pain later. However, if I always put off pleasure, life is not very pleasurable. How can I do things that are a pleasure to anticipate, a pleasure to do, a pleasure after completion, and a pleasure down the road? These four things are what I call The Four Points of Pleasure.
Last night I was hungry and instead of indulging in sugar, I ate some plain, frozen, organic strawberries. They were not as sweet plain as they are for instance in a Neapolitan shake, but they were a pleasure to eat. I ate them while they were still frozen, which was partially pleasurable but partly a pain. Perhaps I could let them sit out a few minutes and let them soften before consuming them. That would increase the pleasure.
I could microwave them briefly, but I steer away from microwaving because microwaving destroys some of the nutritional content of the food. Loss of nutritional content would be a pain down the road. I was able to eliminate this morning, which was a pleasure. The strawberries also fit into my calorie budget yesterday, which was a pleasure, even though I ate quite a few of them. I ate fewer than 55 grams of sugar for the day, which was a pleasure to see in Cronometer. They were just sweet enough to excite the tongue, which was a pleasure. Then I lost weight this morning. Seeing that on the scales was a pure pleasure.
I thought of the importance of doing things mindfully. If we rush through our daily tasks, trying to get them done as fast as possible, we may not take pleasure in doing them. This is especially true if we have accidents along the way because we are not paying attention. Accidents are a pain. Haste makes waste is probably a truism. Waste is no pleasure either.
So what can we do that will give us pleasure on all four points? Tony Robbins says that we are motivated not so much by what gives us pleasure or pain, but what we believe will give us pleasure or pain. For instance, to one person, smoking is a pleasure. To another smoking is a pain. If we associate pleasure to things that are going to be beneficial to us down the road, we can motivate us to do what it takes to get there, as long as we believe the path we are choosing will actually get us there and that we can follow it. Sometimes we need to increase our belief in that.
To strengthen beliefs, think of a belief as a table top. You can even draw one on a piece of paper. Then draw legs under the table that support it. Label the legs with references, which are experiences or facts or even other beliefs that support the belief. The more legs and the stronger they are, the stronger our belief is supported. We sometimes have beliefs that are not supportable. If we examine them, we can get rid of limiting beliefs. Other beliefs, which are empowering rather than limiting, we can support by remembering supporting references or by having additional supporting experiences.
I have developed the belief that I would not succeed if I were to go back to work. I have some supporting references for that. However, it is just a belief, which is mostly supported by fears and could possibly be disproved. However, there is another possibility. I may have a better option right now than returning to work. Right now, I am fully engaged in caring for my husband and writing this blog. I went through Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
and mind mapped several possibilities for my life. I used the principles in the book to prune a possible path for myself. Perhaps blogging is the most advantageous path to my future. I certainly have a lot of pleasure in doing my writing.
Recently, I have struggled with my bipolar and the medication I take for it. What I need is to give this struggle meaning. People that suffered in concentration camps during World War II created a useful life for themselves afterwards if they were able to assign an empowering meaning to the horrendous experience they went through. I have not been through anything as horrible as a concentration camp. However, mental health treatment in Utah has its horrible aspects: side effects of the medication, ambulance rides, emergency room visits, electroshock treatments, seclusion rooms, being handcuffed to the bed, being locked up for weeks at a time, not being taken seriously, hospital food that puts a lot of fat on you, not really being listened to, being unable to refuse treatment, the expense of it all. What empowering meaning can I give to my experience and what I have become as a result of it?
I think one thing it has given me is my writing. According to work done by Kay Redfield Jamison, bipolar disorder is associated with creativity. Of course, many people with bipolar are so disordered by their illness they cannot produce much with their creativity. That is where treatment can help. It sometimes feels like treatment sucks creativity out of you, when in fact, it stabilizes you enough that you can be productive. Ideas can come faster to the racing, manic mind, but they are fleeting and often cannot be harnessed in any way. Once I settled down with lithium back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I was able to produce novels for the first time.
Treatment helped me settle down enough to actually write. When I got manic in 2016, my writing stopped. All of my projects stopped. After I was treated again, I was able to settle down and get the JV Life Tracker app I had written published. Later, I was able to write again. I have not yet published Joyful Vibrance: Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood! on Amazon, but it is available right here, if you would like it for free.
I spent some more time with Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins this afternoon. I probably should not build a belief “table” with supporting legs, to prove I am not able to work a job again. I do have some references, i.e. supporting experiences, but Tony Robbins says that we should only work on supporting beliefs that empower us. He contrasted optimistic and depressed people by saying an optimistic person does not form the belief he is powerless no matter how many references he has to the contrary. Tony also says to remember that we should have the belief that the past does not equal the future. We are not limited by what happened in the past, even though it seems like we may be.
I want to consider The Four Points of Pleasure in relation to my writing. First of all, I discovered that writing is a highly engaging activity for me. I like it better than playing the piano, programming, or cooking. I can literally spend all day writing: morning, afternoon, and evening (and sometimes all night too). Writing itself is more pleasurable than anticipating the activity, so I just need to actually get started. Once a project is completed, I feel pleasure. Down the road, when I have items on the Internet, I feel an even greater sense of pleasure. I would like to have even more of my work online, and anticipating that is a great source of pleasure.
Another item I scored very high on in my Work Energy and Engagement log was keeping Cronometer. That is something I am committing myself to more deeply now that I understand what a true decision is. A true decision leads to action and it should not be re-evaluated over and over every day. I have decided the benefits of keeping Cronometer outweigh the drawbacks.
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.