We all know firsthand that life continually requires us to make choices, and that those choices have consequences that can be either positive or negative. We make decisions continuously, every day, sometimes without even realizing how and when we do it. Way too often, we don’t even question why we do what we do. However, the quality of our future depends on the choices we make TODAY, precisely, it depends on 4 classes of experience.
Understanding these 4 classes of experiences is crucial if you want to make sure you live a fulfilling and successful existence. No longer will you be at the mercy of your choices and decisions. Instead, you will fully understand and come to appreciate the short and long-term consequences that are tied to your daily decisions.
The more we understand human behavior, the more we understand how to motivate and influence ourselves to take the kind of action responsible for living our best life.
“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow”. - B.J. Neblett
THE PAIN AND PLEASURE PRINCIPLE
English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, once said,
“Nature has placed mankind under the dominion of two supreme masters: pain and pleasure. They are the ones who indicate what we should do and determine what we will do. Pain and pleasure govern us in everything we do, in everything we say, in everything we think”.
The pain-pleasure principle lies at the core of everything we do, and of everything we are.
The decisions we make, the actions we take, and the habits we indulge in, are all based on this principle.
As humans, we tend to make decisions that gravitate toward pleasure while seeking to avoid pain.
All decisions we make have an impact on short-term pain, short-term pleasure, long-term pain, and long-term pleasure.
The level of comfort or discomfort and the level of pain or pleasure are the driving force behind each decision.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the 4 classes of experiences that shape our life and future to better understand how the pain and pleasure principle works and how to take advantage of it.
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you”. - Tony Robbins
THE 4 CLASSES OF EXPERIENCES REVEAL WHAT YOUR FUTURE WILL BE LIKE
CLASS 1 EXPERIENCE
It is typically characterized by actions that lead to both short and long-term pleasure concurrently.
These classes of experience
- feel good,
- are good for you,
- are good for others,
- serve the greater good.
Self-sacrifice and the act of giving love to another person both fall into a class 1 type of experience.
There is no pain associated with this kind of experience.
Instead, you are rewarded with short and long-term pleasure as a result of your actions. The decision you take therefore feels good, it is good for you, it’s good for others because you are helping add value to their life, and it serves the greater good of all concerned.
This is essentially how we would typically want to spend most of our time.
However, life doesn’t work that way. We are not living in a utopian society.
As such, we will need to also work through the remaining three classes of experiences at one point or another.
CLASS 2 EXPERIENCE
It is typically characterized by short-term pain leading to long-term pleasure.
These classes of experience:
- don’t feel good,
- are good for you,
- are good for others,
- serve the greater good.
Working hard on a project in order to gain long-term rewards is an example of a class 2 experience. Also exercise is another example of a class 2 experience. When you exercise you experience short-term pain, however, the exercise seems worthwhile because you will inevitably experience long-term pleasure resulting in weight loss, muscle growth, self-esteem improvement, and much more.
Class 2 experiences don't feel good in the short-term. In fact, you will experience a lot of pain.
However, the pain is always worthwhile because it serves the greater good and helps you gain long-term pleasure.
It’s therefore good for you (at least in the long run). It’s also good for others because it doesn’t hurt them.
On the contrary, through your action, you may inspire the people around you to invest in long-term rewards rather than in instant gratification, which doesn’t lead anywhere but to regrets.
CLASS 3 EXPERIENCE
It is typically characterized by short-term pleasure that often results in long-term pain.
This is a self-sabotaging experience that
- feels good,
- is not good for you,
- is not good for others,
- does not serve the greater good.
Overeating, binge drinking, excessive television watching, and procrastination all fall into this category of experience.
All these experiences feel good and pleasant in the short-term while you’re indulging in them.
However, they have painful long-term consequences that you are going to experience in the future.
When you’re overeating you are seeking to gain short-term pleasure.
Yet, overeating can make you feel sick, can lead to weight gain, and possibly result in future health problems.
This might make you feel good, however, it’s certainly not good for you, not good for others, and does not serve the greater good.
In the future, you will experience so much pain that you will regret overeating in the first place.
You were seduced by short-term pleasure, and now you must suffer the consequences of long-term pain.
CLASS 4 EXPERIENCE
It is typically characterized by short and long-term pain. This is another self-sabotaging experience that
- does not feel good.
- is not good for you.
- is not good for others.
- does not serve the greater good.
The emotions of stress, worry, and anger are all typical examples that fall into this category.
Staying in a bad relationship or career are two decisions that also fall into this class of experience.
All of these examples do not feel good, they are not good for you, they are not good for others, and they certainly don’t serve the greater good of all concerned.
Indulging in a class 4 experience means that you are choosing short-term pain that will lead to even more long-term pain in the future.
Does that make any sense?
For example, when you’re angry, you are hurting yourself by losing your temper.
Not only does this put you on edge emotionally, but it can also damage your relationships with other people and hurt your health in the long-run.
This obviously doesn’t make any rational sense, however, it’s a typical daily experience that we tend to indulge in more times than we are ready to admit.
Now that you are consciously aware of the 4 classes of experience you go through daily, you can decide which ones you are going to indulge in the most.
Depending on the decision you make your future will be either mediocre or abundant.
The 4 classes of experience I have shared with you came from my passion in, and ongoing study of Tony Robbins’ philosophy of life, from which I gleaned most of my sharing today.
You can learn more about his work and how to master any area of your life on his website http://www.tonyrobbins.com
DECISIONS DETERMINE OUR FATE
Let's think for a moment about where we were five years ago, what we thought, what we achieved, and what decisions we made at that time.
Whatever we did, it has inevitably led us to what we are today.
We are the fruit of the decisions we made in the past, and if that's true, it's good to look carefully at where we are today.
Have we achieved what we wanted or are we still on our way?
Have we set goals?
Have we achieved them with satisfaction?
A sailor never sets out to sea without knowing where he is going.
Every good sailor knows the route he must follow, otherwise, he would not set out to sea.
In the same way, we can say that, if people travel in the sea of life without having a route, it means they let themselves be guided by the currents.
What happens to these people after some time?
Surely they get somewhere, but most likely it's not the place they intended to go.
We are the result of the 4 classes of experience we go through daily, and if we want to get to where we want to be, it is good to start making the appropriate decisions immediately.
It’s naive to expect to achieve a certain goal or become the better version of ourselves relying on chance, a stroke of luck, or hoping someone else will do it for us.
Let’s take responsibility for our lives by being more conscious of the classes of experience we decide to indulge in the most.
If you are anything like me, you are a go-getter; you have goals you would like to achieve.
However, to achieve our goals, we need to do something that makes us feel uncomfortable - whether it is going to the gym 5 days a week or investing a lot of hours in mastering new skills.
We will need to do something that leads us to experience some pain.
Then we think about the decision for a moment and weigh up the consequences of taking or not taking action.
We have goals that will bring us a great deal of pleasure.
But, in order to experience the pleasure that comes from pursuing and achieving goals we must do something that will bring a great deal of pain.
Therefore, we have now a dilemma on our hands.
We want to experience the pleasure of pursuing and achieving our goals, but we don’t want to go through the pain that pursuing and achieving goals requires.
What are you going to do?
Will you let short-term pain prevent you from long-term pleasure or, on the contrary, will you embrace some pain today to experience great pleasure at some point in the future?
Let me know in the comments below, what your choice is, what your goals are, and what kinds of pain you are willing to go through to achieve your goal.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
“One cannot grow without pain. One cannot improve without it. Suffering drives us to achieve great things”. - Joe Abercrombie, Best Served Cold
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