The carrot and the stick

Above all, people are driven to avoid pain and increase pleasure. Thus, Freud’s findings. Although people weigh the impact of the pain-pleasure principle on both the long- and short term, short term effect prevails. No surprise here! The dishes will still need to be washed tomorrow, but the immediate pleasure of watching Netflix wins…  

In this context pain is (obviously) not a physical engagement. Missing out on your bonus hurts, as does a bad performance review. Here the underlying question is how great the enjoyment of putting off or delaying executing tasks has been.

Unknown does make unloved. The fear of what is not familiair is perceived by the human brain as pain; often a reason why an unhappy employee does not leave his or her job. No matter how bad the current situation is, the prospect of engaging a recruiting process and possibly be rejected is worse. Let alone, leaving the company and failing in a new surrounding.

The pain-pleasure principle is indifferent for each individual. Circumstances naturally play a significanct role in deciding on your options. “Can I afford to be out of a job for while?” As is the perseverance to go the extra mile to get a nice bonus along the line.

This theory does not solve big challenges but it can help to make up your mind, and get a clear sight on the reasons why you would or wouldn’t take action. Make it list of all the plusses and minusses, including the pain-pleasure linked to it and when the effect of your action is to be expected.