I like to think I'm a simple kind of guy at the end of the day. I try to ask the basic questions especially when it comes to undertaking a task.
“What am I trying to do here?”
“What's the point in doing this?”
“Why do I have to do this?”
Now this might come across as lazy, obstructive or grumpy to some people but I am not meaning to be. My brain just likes to check what the basic ‘why’ is.
Well it turns out this ‘why’ is actually easier to answer than we might think. And in doing so might well lead to the only two things that matter in life.
What if I asked you to tell me the only two things that matter to you in life?
You might reply family and health? Or maybe relationships and money? You might even say a good mattress and a good pair of shoes (because you spend half your life in one and half in the other).
Well what if I told you that the only two things in life that matter are the exact same for every single person in the world?
Impossible? Not really. Because they are in fact incredibly simple if we stop to think.
Avoiding pain and gaining pleasure.
That's it. The only two things that matter.
The only two things that drive us on and the only things that hold us back. The only two things we really care about when we dig down to the foundations. It can all be boiled down to those two fundamental things.
Now sometimes both can happen at once. For example you might decide to grab a taxi to avoid walking 10 minutes in the rain (avoid pain) and to treat yourself (bring pleasure).
They seem obvious right?
But for some reason most of us seem to over complicate decision making and forget these basics more often than not. Temptation. Desperation. Cunning. Logic. Guesswork. Hope. These are all part of the decision making process yet they are not the drivers. We need to keep it simple.
Once we recognise this then we can have much more control over the outcomes of our decisions and, to a large extent, over the decisions everyone around us take. For if we consider the pleasure or pain basics before we ask others for help then we will already be positioning ourselves for a positive result.
So keep this in mind when you are next struggling to make a decision or worried about asking for a favour. Bring it down to its most basic level and go from there.
So what do you think? Does everything really boil down to just considering pleasure or pain?
Do let me know in the comments.
From selling shoes to avoiding bombs. An eye-opening and honest memoir of my time as a novice aid worker in war-torn Sudan at the turn of the millennium.
A simple yet stylish notebook for humanitarians and aid workers. This 150-page notebook is printed with cream coloured unlined pages with a daily quotation on each page to help inspire and motivate.