Real Life Story Written By Scott Vejar
Although I didn’t come up with this title on my own, it resonated with my life on more than one occasion. While attending a Tony Robbins event, he spoke on the topic of pain versus pleasure. He said that people do things to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. He gave us an exercise to do to help overcome hurdles, challenges, or setbacks. We would pick out a ‘challenge’ in our lives that we had a difficult time accomplishing or completing (even though it was necessary to do to make our lives better).
We would make two columns and write the word ‘Pain’ as a header for the left side column, and then write the word ‘Pleasure’ as a header for the right-hand column. What Tony stated was that ‘pain’ could be emotional pain, embarrassment, inconvenience, fear, lack of money, loss of a loved one or anything you would lose for not accomplishing what needs to be done. Then we would come up with a list of the ‘pain’ of not doing what needs to be done versus the ‘pleasure’ we would get from doing said tasks. For example, one of my ‘needs to get done’ was to practice public speaking. The ‘pain’ for me was being embarrassed of making a fool of myself, speaking of something that people were not interested. Another ‘pain’ was feeling uncomfortable speaking in front of people because I did not have self-confidence. I was very self-conscience of my looks because people would make fun of me when I was a kid.
This assignment was tough for me because it opened up some emotional wounds. It made me think about things that were hidden deep inside. They kept me from doing things because of lack of self-confidence, being self-conscience of how people thought of me, and being afraid to speak in front of an audience. The ‘pleasure’ I would get out of public speaking would be helping other people, gaining confidence, making friends, conquering my fear of public speaking, making a career change, making money, and furthering my knowledge on the subjects I wanted to speak on. The ‘pleasure’ list outweighed the ‘pain’ list. It was there that I decided to join Toastmasters (https://www.toastmasters.org/).
It all started when I was a kid. I was the youngest of four boys. One of the main issues I had was that I was fat. My brothers would pick on me a lot, and that made me self-conscience of my looks. To save money, my dad would shave our heads during the summer. My brothers would get on their knees and start bowing and chanting praise to ‘Buddha’. This made me upset and caused further emotional trauma. Also, we would fight a lot. Brother number one was older and a lot bigger than I was, there were times when he got in his moods, and he would beat me up. Brother number two had issues himself, he would beat me up more than brother number one. Brother number three, who was almost a year older than I was, would beat me up more than the others. So there I was, getting picked on and beaten up for the most part of my childhood.
Not only was I picked on at home, but I was also picked on in elementary school too. Because I was born late in the year, my parents had a choice to either put me in school early (which made me almost a year younger than everyone else) or wait and put me in school later (which would have made me a little older than the other classmates). My parents decided to put me in school early. There were a few classmates who used to bully me
either verbally or physically. I used to get into a lot of fights; I lost most of them. There was one classmate I had to deal with who would make fun of me all the time because I was fat. The problem with that was he was my cousin, so I was being made fun of at school, but also at family events. He would make fun of me in front of the classmates all during recess, and during lunch, he was relentless. Getting picked on at school by the school bullies and my cousin made me completely withdrawn and depressed. It got to the point where I hated not only hated school, but also life itself. When I hear people say, “I hate that” or, “I hate this,” I joke around and say “hate is a strong word.” But for a long time when I was a kid, I really used to hate life. It got to the point where I hated every day of my life. The sayings, “Time goes by fast when you are having fun,” and “a watched pot never boils” meant a lot to me. I didn’t want to go to school so much that on the weekends I would stare at the clock so time would go by slow. If I went out and played, time would go by fast, and then school would come around quicker than I liked. I was one mixed up kid.
I met someone on Facebook who is a public speaker. I was interested in the possibility of overcoming my fear, so I met him. He asked me about my life. It is hard for me to say this, but there was a time in fourth grade when I used to think about killing myself. There were times I used to stand on the street corner and think about running in front of a car, just to end it all. I still remember four different occasions when I was so close. I couldn’t get any closer without actually going through with it. I just wanted to get it over with.
Then one day, something happened that changed my life. One of my brother’s classmate’s father committed suicide on the next block in between a store and a house. The kids in the neighborhood started making fun of the man, calling him crazy, a looney toon, and a psycho. As weird as this sounds, this was one confusing time for me. I wanted to kill myself because I was tired of being bullied and picked on. But since the kids were making fun of the man who killed himself, I didn’t want people to make fun of me because I killed myself (as crazy as that sounds). So now I was stuck. Do I kill myself because I don’t want people to make fun of me, or do I not kill myself because I don’t want people to make fun of me? Obviously, I didn’t kill myself, but it made life unpleasant for a long time. I conditioned myself to hate life, be very negative, not enjoy things I should have enjoyed, and not appreciate my accomplishments.
Which brings me to the title of this story, Pain versus Pleasure. Looking back at what Tony Robbins said, people do things to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. So in my case, it was more painful to have people make fun of me for killing myself than it was for people making fun of me for being fat. I am glad I made the decision I made; I now enjoy life.
I use the ‘Pain versus Pleasure’ exercise whenever I want or need to do something that will make my life better. I used it to join Toastmasters, which for me, was one big step in life. I am no longer afraid of public speaking. I still need to work on the art of public speaking, but I overcame my fear.
I feel the ‘Pain versus Pleasure’ could be effective for anyone. If there is anything you want or need to do that you are hesitant to do, this exercise will help you find your calling.
Thank you so much for reading, much love
“Scott Vejar is an entreprenuer at heart. His goal is to assist small businesses with administrative tasks as well as marketing. He started “Your Community Internet TV” to help small businesses gain exposure and help them grow to their potential. He loves helping others and strices to make a difference with the community and the community’s businesses.