I have realized that people seek joy, have positive values. Honor, trust, and I find these qualities more important than ability, though ability and talent must be there, these attributes are less important than honor, doing the right thing and trust.

I had a senior level employee who professed that he valued trust and honor above all else. In conversations with him he seemed very congruent with these, and other similar qualities. So I hired him and put him in a responsible position. I monitored him for a while to be sure he was a good fit. Things seemed fine.

After a few months I began noticing some "shortages" I found that an employee under him had been stealing from me. I had enough evidence to fire him and press charges. I then confronted the senior level employee and asked how did he let this happen? He had high values including trust, yet he knew, but did not seem to participate in the theft.

I learned a valuable lesson that was worth more than the theft. The senior employee told me, then, that while trust, responsibility and honor were at the top of his value scale, he would do ANYTHING to avoid confrontation and conflict. He knew if he implicated the thief that he would face strife from the thief, so he did not say anything. Of course I had to let him go also.

But I realized that while he had positive values, he also had negative values. Things that he would avoid at all costs! Even at the expense of his positive values! When it came to trust, avoiding conflict won out.

As always I took this into consideration of my personal life. What things would I avoid? How would these stack up against the positive values I hold?

Anyone have any thoughts about how much the Joy/Avoidance of Pain principle enters into our lives as a motivating and determining factor?

asked 30 Apr '12, 10:00

Dollar%20Bill's gravatar image

Dollar Bill

Good question.

(04 May '12, 02:05) Paulina 1
showing 0 of 1 show 1 more comments

I had a simple answer awaken within me when I read the question.

Then as I read the explanation behind the question my answer tried to satisfy this complexity.

Then I began reading Wade's answer and the answer tried very hard to incorporate all these possibilities within it.

So I stopped reading everybody's answers & went back to the simple response that awakened within me.

It is this.

There is no difference between avoiding pain and seeking joy.

They are both attractions that reflect the nature of that attraction.

When you try to avoid pain you continuously attract painful situations so that you can again and again participate in the experience of avoiding them.

When you seek joy you continuously attract joyful situations just beyond your reach, so that you can again and again participate in the "seeking" of this experience within which you do not exist yet.

Seeking Joy and being joyful are two completely different things.

Being in joy means right now there is joy.

Seeking joy means right now there is no joy (that's why you are seeking it).

I realize that my answer doesn't answer the question at hand, and Wade's answer is much more appropriate for the question asked.


answered 02 May '12, 14:04

The%20Traveller's gravatar image

The Traveller

Love, love, love your answer. It is apropriate and answers the question beautifully. Thank you.

(04 May '12, 02:20) Paulina 1

Thank you Paulina.

(07 May '12, 09:26) The Traveller

This is a very good story and lesson for us all. I understand it quite well because it is an area I need to work at overthrowing within myself. My karate students are top of the line I make sure they are accurate and fast in defending themselves. I am a good instructor but when someone new calls to ask about karate I feel challenged right away, I have to prove myself to this person that I am good enough or even more the best choice around. That is one thing I hate is being put on the spot like that. To my Sensei I was corrected up to the point of when he retired, no matter what I did he would show me I could do it better. Here I am many years latter still feeling no matter what I do I can do better, it needs improving, more power, more focus, stronger stances, stronger techniques, stronger blocks, more accuracy. So when I feel challenged by being asked about karate I still feel like I could be better in everything myself always striving for excellence at every moment.

So this places a paradox of value vs self worth, being the best you can be and at the same time feeling not as good as the one that taught you. So when confronted with a inquiry about karate lessons I need to prove my worth to others but at the same time in the back of my mind is "You may be real good but you know your Sensei was better." Of course he was the one that noticed every nuance of mine, if something needed to be corrected even a millimeter he noticed just as I now notice with my students every tinny nuance that needs correcting.

So really as I look at this the challenge thrown down every time someone calls me to inquire about lessons it is a challenge in myself. The battle I feel in those times is a self battle within myself saying, "Are you good enough yet?" My answer is always like, "No, I need to improve this or that first." Usually all they want to know is what I teach, how much for lessons and where to go to get to my school. I volunteer other information like how many years I have been in karate, I started in 1975 etc...

I was filming all of my Katas for reference, putting everything I had into each and I ended up redoing every kata maybe as much as 30 to 40 times trying to get it absolutely perfect for the filming. Jai asked if I was trying to kill myself working that many hours on my kata for perfection 23 Kata performed up to 40 times each for one perfect shot each. If anything was slightly off I redid the entire kata to get it satisfying. I still look at those tapes and feel I could do them even better.

I only had one student that wanted me to prove myself to him because he went to other schools and was not impressed. I impressed him and the funny thing was not because I wanted to but enjoyed getting tested. He would try grabbing me in a hold which I would reverse on him and use against him. He saw how I punch and generated my power from my hips that he never saw from any of the other schools he went to. So actually through this he had a great deal of respect for me and is a friend of mine to this day. He went into the army and traveled the world learning around the world. He used to constantly challenge me and try to get the best but I wouldn't let that happen, other schools he told me he did get the best of their instructors, I always had the upper hand and he greatly respected that.

I remember another student when my father was still Sensei he came to our school because he tried all the other schools around and none impressed him. He had a green belt from his old school, he had just moved to the area to find another school as good as where he came from. All the other schools where impressed with him and wanted to instantly promote him to Black Belt. One instructor even said to him, "Whoa teach me that kick you do!" He was shocked here is a Sensei wanting to learn from him and he is only a green belt! He said he beat all the other schools black belts. Then he came to us, my Sensei put me against him to spar him to find out where he fit in our school. He did have impressive feet but his hands were poor I spared him and cleaned up the floor with him scoring all over him and blocking everything he had. We got done sparing and my father asked me where would you say he fits in. I thought a bit and said he is better than our white belts but not as good as our orange belts I would put him at Purple(Now that rank is Gold) 7th kyu. Sensei agreed and said I was right, next we put him against one of our orange belts and he was again beat. He had the highest respect for us and thanked us saying that he had found a real karate school worthy of training with. He stayed with us a few years but never made it to green belt with us just high orange (5th kyu) but we remain proud of him and his achievements to this day.

So it seems when it comes to confrontations we really are looking at ourselves and saying "Am I worthy?" and sadly most of us feel (not yet) but I am working at being my best. It is like the man of honor you spoke of, he probably feels it is an ongoing thing and if he has to face that guy it is a conflict of his loyalty and honor because on one hand is his honor and loyalty to you and the other to the man under him. Example he confronts the man and fires him, now he has to think this man may have a family and now because I fired him they may have to be evicted because he can't make payment. On the good hand is the company that is being ripped off if he doesn't fire him the company may go bankrupt and then he is responsible for everyone losing their jobs! So in the in between place he feels trapped, he will have to hurt someone he will have to be the good guy and bad guy. To one he would be the hero, to the other villain. The only way through this is loyalty in rank you are the boss, his priority even over friendship should be loyalty to you. That seems harsh but it is correct, honor and respect has to have rank of importance just like the days of the Samurai if the Shogun said to you kill your best friend because he stole from the Shogun it was done with no questions or pleading because the highest priority of honor and respect belonged to Shogun not even fellow Samurai that is best friend. That is the hardest thing to do what is right when you know it will hurt someone that is wrong even if it is a friend you know is doing something wrong like stealing.

In reflection on this, this is not even correct because it could be a crime boss, then the honor is not even to the boss but what is right and honorable. A good example of this was a movie I saw where a boss wanted to promote a guy. The boss said to him when you put 30 shipments in the warehouse only mark down 25. The guy did not like that and said that doesn't seem right. They gave him the day to think of this and said his job was on the line. He came back the next day and respectfully declined even knowing it would cost him his job. He got the promotion, the boss was looking for someone honorable and trustworthy. The boss said everyone else he told that to jumped at the chance of saying no problem I'll mark 25 even though I have 30.


answered 01 May '12, 10:38

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 05 May '12, 14:45

Jaianniah's gravatar image



Wade you are better than most but there will always be someone better or worse than we are somewhere in the world. Acept yourself and if you do well than good and if not than so what simply accept we cant always be perfect.

(04 May '12, 02:16) Paulina 1

Or shoudl I rather say we are perfect just the way we are.

(04 May '12, 02:17) Paulina 1

We always have contrast.I like that you continue to improve your skills. To master your art and teaching.

Many years ago I studied Tae Kwon Do. I liked it for reflex training, peace, conditioning and exercise. We only had four ranks. White, blue, brown and black belts. We studied no contact. The forms were everything. It was particularly difficult to maintain form when someone lost their temper and began landing blows.

My teacher taught that we should fight with passion, but never with anger.

(05 May '12, 20:30) Dollar Bill

I was racing motorcycles at that time. When I quit racing I quit studying karate. I wanted to learn more about Aikido. I saw a fascinating film of an Aikido master with a pro football team. The Akido master, an old man. His goal was to walk from one end of a basketball court to the other. The football players were there to stop him.

He casually walked and they attacked, but it seemed like no one could touch him. They went flying in all directions and he never changed pace, nor stopped walking.

(05 May '12, 20:37) Dollar Bill
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments

besides being specific of
what to each individual,
fear guiding avoidance is
a passive behavior

while actively seeking
whatever is closer to
aggression to obtain
that which is so sought after


answered 01 May '12, 16:47

fred's gravatar image


Hi Dollar Bill, The Travellers answer is amazingly insightfull and yes he is right.
Seeking is just seeking and will allways remain that. On the other hand being Joy or Being pain is something totaly different. Everyone wants to be Joy and no one wants to be pain (at least not the majority but you do get the odd ball) but to experiance joy you have to be joy and to be joy you have to live joy. To do this you have to fake it in the beginning if you are not in joy at the moment. The reason Jesus said when you paray, pray as if you already have what you seek and you shall have it.

It is difficult to find joy when you are in pain. Pain anywhere in the body or emotional pain kidnaps the mind and all you can think about is the pain you are experiancing. You first have to get out of pain to experiance joy or you have to consciously replace pain with Joy. It is not easy but like all else practise makes perfect. Fake it and soon it will become easier.


answered 04 May '12, 02:34

Paulina%201's gravatar image

Paulina 1

All very good answers!

In my counseling work I have, in the past, used a technique to have clients face and compound pain until they reach deep within to make changes. In my present understanding of seeking joy, of contrast, I now wonder about this technique.

I will outline it here for your consideration. I believe that too many people come to the end of their lives failing to have the joy they could have had if they made some changes, now. Humans are willing to put up with small amounts of daily pain, avoiding or not focusing on the behavioral changes that could bring them greater joy.

While I feel it is improper for me to decide what they should do to improve their lives because I think it is an interference with their lives for me to decide from my vantage point what they should do (Judgement), I feel it is appropriate and proper when someone seeks me out for help to use whatever methods I know to help them achieve the goals they say they want.

The goals they say they want was my justification to bring out their pain if they don't change. I have tried positive reinforcement and found it less effective.

Let me say, in an aside, that I no longer actively seek to counsel people. I realized that I was attracting people with problems and that I no longer want these problem people in my world.

I had found that moving toward positive sometimes took a stick behind as well as a carrot in front. So if you like, follow along a real life example of pushing pain buttons for positive change.

A man came to me seeking help. He had been a top salesman because he had a great ability to sell people based on making cold calls. "Cold calls" is making contact with people you don't otherwise know and selling them your product.

For some reason he had lost his ability to make cold calls. He was not selling. As I have mentioned before, I do not care in the slightest trying to find the reasons why people have behavioral problems. Personally I have found more direct methods of effective lasting change by getting the person's subconscious (and my own) to make these changes.

One of the ways of getting the subconscious mind's attention is pain.

I asked his permission to use what might be emotional hurt to help him achieve dramatic change. I asked his wife to be present. I had privately instructed her not to interfere, to be silent, no matter what happened. She agreed. He also had an eight year old daughter whom I asked NOT to be present. His wife was pregnant with another child.

I like asking questions. It helps focus and brings into play the person's own processes, so I began with the past.

"What has it cost you in the past not to make cold calls?" pause, I don't need to record his answers here as they only helped me focus my questions. Io many of my questions he had no external answers, but I could tell these questions were impacting him like arrows from my bow. I did not care what his conscious mind responded, I was talking to his subconscious mind and getting it to seek less painful options.

Continuing, "What has it cost you in terms of your presonal respect?"

"How do you feel about your pregnant wife being your total financial support? Has her income been able to provide the lifestyle you want for your family?" I could see it was inadequate.

"How do you feel about your lifestyle, now, today? When you look in the bathroom mirror, do you see a man you respect? Do you see a man you like" Do you see a MAN?" All because you did not make cold calls?

"What kind of role model are you for your daughter? For your wife? For yourself? Who are your friends? Are they they people of quality? Do you still have friends of quality?" In earlier conversations I had found some of his hot buttons.

"What about you? Are you able to afford the (status) clothing you once wore when you were making cold calls?" Does your family have the financial benefits they had when you were making cold calls? Are you able to see differences in where you were and where you are? How do those differences magnify? Lets have a look at your current future!"

"Is your pregnant wife your family's sole support? Your PREGNANT wife! How is that meager support going to continue when she has your second child? What will be your lifestyle then? What person will your children see when they look at you? What kind of person will your wife see when she looks at you? What person will you see when you look at yourself? A person who will not make cold calls?

"Lets take this five years in the future. Today you are 35. Lets make you forty years old. What will you see, if you don't make cold calls, who will you see in the mirror? What will you look like? Who will still be your friends? What role model will you then be displaying to your children, to your wife? If you don't make cold calls?

Have your children had the benefits of good schooling? Of the music lessons your daughter loves? What will your children, your wife look like? Will they be well dressed? Happy? If you continue to not make cold calls?

"Lets take this ten years in the future. You are now forty-five years old! You are still not making cold calls! What do your chlidren, now 18 year old daughter and ten year old child think about their dad? What does your wife feel about you? Is she still with you, ten years in the future? IS SHE STILL WITH YOU? Or has she taken the children and left you? Is another man now their "father" all bacause you did not make cold calls?

I asked similar questions making him 60 years old and continuing to use embedded commands, the most obvious was "make cold calls." This is what he said he wanted to do.

By this point he was sobbing and completly unable to respond. His wife sitting sliently in a corner of my office.

I told him to get up, shake himself, walk around. Move. Now sit back down. "Lets say you began to make cold calls again. What impact would that make on your life? The Life of your familiy? The quality of life for them and yourself?

"What kind of role model would you be, then, now that you make your cold calls? Who do you see in the mirror?" I asked the exact same questions, but coming from a standpoint of him making cold calls."

"You are now 40, you have been making cold calls, what is your life like?

"You are now 45, you have been making cold calls, what is your life like?

"You are now 60, you have been making cold calls, what is your life like?

"You have two paths in front of you. You can continue to not make cold calls and you have an idea of what your life will be like, or you can, TODAY, begin to make make cold calls and have a different path. It is your choice.

What do you, dear IQ reader, think he did? I compounded his likely pain, using his own inner processes to a breaking point. I showed him, through his own eyes, the consequences - his perceived consequences of his not making cold calls

If you want, replace make cold calls with a behavior pattern you presently find disuseful, are you putting off your joy? Is there someone you love that you have not told them you feel this way? A job? A vacation? A lifestyle change? Some "something" that you are procrastinating about?

How will this impact you, carried forward into the future? What will that be like?

We may tell ourselves we want to move toward Joy, toward Pleasure, but it seems to me that pain avoidance can be a very, very powerful motivator.


answered 05 May '12, 06:09

Dollar%20Bill's gravatar image

Dollar Bill

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