The Payoff


Hi there.

I’m not sure what happened, but I fell off the earth yesterday.  All I know is that I had to attend a meeting and somehow and somewhere the blog fell out of my head.  I think it has to do with the Law of Displacement thing I talked about a couple of blogs ago.

Sorry about the delay… my bad.

Last Thursday I talked about the difficulty of giving up negative things in our lives.  I ended by saying that there is a payoff for keeping negative things in our life.

I tend to believe that we don’t do anything (positive or negative) without some kind of payoff.

In many ways we are just like animals.  We do things for a reward.

With animals it’s pretty simple.  They concentrate on food, sex and sleep.  For our animal friends, food is usually the greatest motivator, except for maybe a couple of times during the year… if you catch my drift.

Humans are more complex.  We are able to think, reason, analyze, and logically sort through options.  We can create things out of the abstract, and to top it off we have a conscious.  We delineate between right and wrong, and good and bad.  All of this makes things much more complicated.

The good things about these amazing gifts are we can rise above our baser nature.  We are not relegated to a stimulus response life where we are doomed to function solely by our instincts.  These gifts provide freedom to choose.

But like any good thing there is some negative fall-out.

As I said earlier, these gifts make us much more complicated.  Because of these capabilities we can fall into the trap of taking abstract bits of information and form totally erroneous assumptions and act on those faulty beliefs.

Yes, life is simpler with animals.  They just eat, sleep, have sex and occasionally fight if threatened.  Interestingly, animals don’t have the emotional baggage or hang-ups we humans have.   They have no concept of a low or high self esteem.

Now what does this mean in respect to having a payoff for our actions (or inaction)?  What is the payoff for people to hang on to negative things?

This topic is far more complex than a quick blog entry can remedy.  But the intent of the blog is not to provide easy solutions but to us think.


For illustration and to make this real world I need you to identify something negative that has been pestering you for a while.  Ok, have something identified?  I will throw out some payoffs for you to consider.

Immediate Gratification: This is the most obvious of the payoffs.  This is the one that taps in to our most base nature.  The payoff is the immediate presence of pleasure or the elimination of pain.  The focus is primarily on what I want NOW… pleasure or relief.

Immediate gratification quickly translates in not addressing the hard issue with your spouse; taking the drink for pleasure or escape; buying something for yourself when bills are piling up; eating the cupcake; or going out when you need to study or work.

Immediate gratification was the easy one.  Now we get into the more subtle and insidious payoffs.

Validation: This is hanging on to something negative in your life because it validates a faulty belief about yourself.   These are beliefs such as, I’m a failure; I will never overcome this issue; I can’t handle this; I’m no good; I don’t deserve better; etc.

Pride: This is the twisted notion of hanging on to something negative because changing announces that you were wrong.  Or even worse, you are weak and not in control of your life.

I do not wish to over simplify very complex issues.   Nor do I believe my few blog paragraphs will be the “silver bullet” of change in a person’s life.  But hopefully I have increased your awareness and made you think.

See you Thursday… yes Thursday, not Friday.


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