Tony Dunne

Independent Business Owner, ACN Pacific,

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What motivates us more, avoiding pain or gaining pleasure?

Very interested in the views out there, maybe its not a simple answer...

I tend to think that pleasure is the stronger of the two.

Is there a simple proven answer or is it opinion?

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    Jul 26 2012: QUOTE: "Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other." -- Laurence Sterne
    I think pain is the better motivational speaker. Pleasure lulls one into a lapse of care and caution.
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    Jul 26 2012: If avoiding pain were the prime motivator then I don't think modern society would have the problem it does with drug use. The hangover always lasts longer than the high.
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    Jul 25 2012: Actually self-actualization is what motivates me. I want to be more and more what I already am.
    I believe I am love. Man is created in God's image and God is love. I am made out of love and I need to actualize myself, so I'll be the love that I already am.
    So self-actualization is both a goal and the way to the goal. And in my way of self-actualization I experience pains and pleasures as any other human. And in either pain or pleasure I keep actualizing myself; I keep loving myself. I support my beloved self; I listen to myself, I try to understand myself and I work on getting the needs of myself met; all the needs including the need of self-actualization.
    What I want to say, that if yourself is your beloved child, you'd like of course to make him happy and let him have fun and pleasures. You'd make your best to safe him from pain. But it's not all about avoiding pain and providing pleasure, it's about your love to your child because sometimes you'll have to accept hat your beloved child suffers or is deprived of some pleasures when you believe you are doing him something good as when you accept that your own child undergoes a painful medical procedure if he needed to.
    It' all about self love, that's what I want to say. Love yourself and your self will be supported in the time of pain.
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    Jul 25 2012: No Pain no gain. If we look out for easier options we can’t feel the real pleasure in end. I have experienced this is in so many situations. By profession I am a technical guy, sometimes I tried to take easier path and results are also not bad however I didn’t the pleasure in end. On the other hand if give all my best efforts and work really hard to get some result, I can feel the pleasure in end. It’s just one example where this no pain no gain situation come right. Try learning some new thing and if we try to take easier ways I am sure we can learn it however we miss some tricky points which in some or the other way hamper us. :)
  • Jul 26 2012: Make other people feel pleasure is a gift we can give and should not be used as recompense or as a motivator (in my opinion).
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    Jul 26 2012: Depends on the intensity and duration of each. Something we learn as children.
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    Jul 25 2012: I would say gaining pleasure motivates more; then the avoidance of pain; then the desire to avoid unfavourable change, and to remain in the comfort zone.

    But there are other motivations.
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    Jul 25 2012: I would say gaining pleasure motivates more; then the avoidance of pain; then the desire to avoid unfavourable change, and to remain in the comfort zone.

    But there are other motivations.
  • Jul 25 2012: To me, I would say that they both have a certain place. The thought of pleasure will motivate people to do things that are the "bigger" things. They will work years to start a company, study really hard to solve a problem, or be vulnerable in a relationship to a lover. This is a very strong motivation that does influence one's life.

    Avoiding pain seems like it is more common but involves the smaller aspects of life. Why do wash regularly? We enjoy feeling clean, but the main motivation is to not get sick or be avoided by people. The things that we do on a regular basis seem to be done more out of the "avoiding pain" instinct than the pleasure one.

    It seems both are important but for different reasons.
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    Jul 25 2012: Strangely, for me there is a third motivator - doing what I believe is right. I choose between to the left, to the right or doing what is right and the third wins every time.
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    Jul 25 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    Its gaining pleasure. Lets ask ourselves a simple questions how many of us have sacrificed sleep for days or participated in hikes or even broken few bones but today we cherish the memory. Its obvious to avoid pain but if we are to receive pleasure then we even feel comfortable enduring it.
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    Jul 25 2012: For me, the answer will be pleasure. And I can prove it by telling you my story.
    When my sister and I were primary school students, my parents paid more attention to my sister. I must admit that envied her very much at that time. In order to gain my parents attention, I study hard. Because the pleasure which comes from my parents made me feel upset. But we can't solve problems by avoiding them. If there is no such pleasure in my life, I am not sure if I can be what I am today!
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    Jul 25 2012: I regret that I do not remember the TED talks that address your question, but economic research typically finds that people are risk averse. This is to say, people are more focused naturally on avoiding the downside risk, which you might call pain-avoidance.
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    Jul 25 2012: It truly is a very interesting question and as you ask, there is no simple proven answer.
    It is quite circumstantial, in that the environment dictates why you do what you do.
    I was really good at school but at first was more of to avoid the caning as corporal punishment was still being observed. But later on I enjoyed the awards from school and joy in my parents eyes every time I went to pick the award. Hence more inclined to pleasure.
    In my opinion, if the environment will punish you, you will attempt to avoid pain but if there is no pain then you will do so out of pleasure.