Ask Yourself The Question

At various points in life a person has to decide if the risk outweighs the reward or if the pleasure outweighs the pain.   

Exercise for instance.  For me, it is not something that feels particularly lovely while I’m doing it.  The fact is though, the pleasure I get in wearing smaller clothes, in feeling better and looking better far, FAR outweighs any discomfort that I may have while I’m doing it.  And let me tell you, some days are VERY discomfortable (yes, I know that’s not a word!)!  So the question is:  “Am I willing to only achieve a portion of my potential, just so I don’t feel any pain?”

How about smoking?  Does the irritation of craving a cigarette outweigh the reward you get for not smoking?  Does that temporary itchy feeling need to be scratched so badly that you put yourself back to square one?  You know that the feeling passes and you get back to normal.  You know that the itchies get fewer, farther between and less intense.  And yet in the moment it’s as though you will never feel normal again.  So the question is:  “Am I willing to experience temporary discomfort for permanent gain?”

How about weight loss and calorie control?  Does the desire for a piece of cheesecake mean more to you than the desire to drop extra weight?  Does the way your clothes fit make you happier than eating half a pizza?  One provides instant gratification and the other takes longer to realize, is harder work and possibly more uncomfortable, depending on your original reasons for wanting that pizza.  So the question is:   “Does the instant satisfaction of running wild have more value to me than the longer term satisfaction of achievment, control and discipline?”

How about your job?  Does the risk of laying your cards out on the table outweigh the reward of getting what you’ve wanted all along?  On the one hand you’re opening yourself up to be trampled on and to have your world shaken up.  On the other hand you are moving toward what you want and that is always respectable, no matter what the outcome.  So the question is:  “Does the pleasure of safety outweigh the pain of monotony?”

In all of the examples above, the same series of questions could have been used:   “Am I happy where I am or do I want more?  To get more, do I have to do more?  If doing more is uncomfortable or risky, am I willing to endure it for the end result?  Does the pleasure of my success outweigh any pain it took to get there?” 


  1. marieclaude said,

    March 4, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Oh gosh… thanks for the wake-up call!!! I’m going in a downward spiral at the moment and I don’t know how to get out of it.

    My version of question #3: “Does the instant satisfaction of running wild have more value to me than the longer term satisfaction of being able to begin IVF treatments, and ultimately cherish the child we want so badly for more than 6 years?”

    I’m going to write that question down and post-it all over the house…

  2. Bev said,

    March 4, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”
    – Virginia Satir

    I thought this quote (which just happened to be the one e-mailed to me yesterday) sort of fit with your post. The fact that you are questioning major portions of your life means you are not just going about things blindly. Often just the question is enough. It causes a person to look for the pros and cons and make informed decisions. You will usually know when the ‘right’ one is made.

  3. p4pretention said,

    March 7, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for this post Shanny. Lately, my desire to eat or be sloth-like has been usurping my goals. Pizza sure does not outweigh the awesomeness of dropping a size or two.

    ; )

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