How to “Achieve the Impossible” by
Putting the Pain/Pleasure Principle
to Work for You

This week, Kyle Maynard turns 23.

And already, Kyle’s accomplished what takes most people a lifetime …

He’s an in-demand motivational speaker, a New York Times best-selling author, and has appeared as a guest on Oprah, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America. Plus, he’s in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, having won 36 varsity matches as a high-school senior against top opponents. He also owns a fitness center.

These accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, when you consider what makes Kyle truly unique …

He was born with a condition known as congenital amputation. His arms end at the elbows, and his legs end at the knees. Despite this, he lives a pretty normal life.

He can type up to 50 words per minute, eat without help, write, and even drive. To most people, Kyle’s achievements seem impossible, given his circumstances …

But Kyle found a way.

Many times, our circumstances can make our goals seem impossible to achieve.

Perhaps you’re so deep into debt, getting out of it seems like a far-fetched dream …

Maybe you’ve been hit hard in this economy and you think you’ll never be able to retire …

Or maybe you think making a full-time living doing what you love is just not possible, because it’s too hard to do.

The good news is, you can achieve the seemingly “impossible.” You just have to tap into your personal power, just like Kyle did.

Personal development guru Tony Robbins says one of the major keys to tapping into your personal power is understanding the concept of pain and pleasure.

Every choice you’ve made – and will make – is based on avoiding pain and seeking pleasure.

The key, then, to “achieving the impossible” is to make the emotional power behind your pain/pleasure motivations strong enough to accomplish your goal.

In his e-book, Need to Know, business-building expert Paul Myers puts it this way …

“Make the pleasures that you get and the pain you avoid when you achieve your goal as strong as you can. Then make the pleasure you get and the pain you avoid by NOT getting it as weak as possible.

“When the emotional attachment you make to things that move you toward it are stronger than those of the things that keep you from it, you will have effectively put the car in drive. You will automatically move in the direction of those desires.”

This is exactly how Kyle Maynard has been able to achieve so many “impossible” things.

For him, the pain of not achieving his dreams is huge. And the pleasure of gaining them is even bigger. This is what’s helped him bulldoze past any obstacles life throws his way.

So how do you put this pain/pleasure principle to work for you?

Here’s how:

  1. Figure out what you want. What is the “impossible” goal you’d love to accomplish? Is it to finally get in shape and stay that way? Is it to quit your job and start your own business, doing what you love? Or, maybe you’d love to have a passive online income.

    For example, Shaun Fawcett’s job with an international training company disappeared, when their largest customer – the government – pulled their funding. Unemployed and wondering what to do next, he decided to strike out on his own.

    For a couple of years, he consulted and did some copywriting. But what he really wanted was to make a living online. He soon determined the best way was to build a content-rich, theme-based website. Today he’s bringing in over six figures a year.

  2. Do a pain/pleasure inventory. Let’s say, like Shaun, your “impossible” goal is to create a passive online income. Here’s what you do next, to give yourself the best possible chance of achieving that goal.

    Grab two sheets of paper. Draw a line down the middle of each one. At the top of the left-hand column, write “Pain I Avoid.” At the top of the right-hand column, write “Pleasure I Gain.”

    On the first sheet of paper, you’re going to identify the pain you avoid and the pleasure you gain, by NOT taking action to create a passive online income. For example:

    By NOT TAKING ACTION to Create a Passive Online Income:

    Pain I Avoid

    Pleasure I Gain

    Potential failure Safety in knowing I’m not risking anything
    Having to give up some of my free time to make my goal happen Being able to spend my free time doing things that are fun and pleasurable in the moment
    Criticism from family and friends for trying to do something that seems “impossible” Approval of others, because I’m playing it safe and not making any waves

    On the second sheet, write down the pain you avoid and the pleasure you gain by actually achieving your goal of creating a passive online income:

    By TAKING ACTION to Create a Passive Online Income:

    Pain I Avoid

    Pleasure I Gain

    Regret and a feeling of “what if?” Satisfaction and security, knowing I have enough money for all my needs
    Retiring without financial security Being able to work from home and have less stress, by avoiding long commutes and having to deal with unreasonable bosses and office politics
    Not being able to do and have the things I want A better quality of life for me and my family, such as being able to take more vacations, live in a nicer house, have plenty of money for retirement, etc.

    Now that you’ve done your pain/pleasure inventory, now it’s time to …

  3. Tip the scales in your favor. Now that you’ve filled out your pain/pleasure lists, it’s time to get some emotional power behind wanting to achieve your goal of creating a passive online income. Make the “Taking Action” pain avoided and pleasure gained so great, that they completely outweigh the pain and pleasure of NOT taking action.

    To do this, take the “NOT Taking Action” list (the first sheet in step #2 above) and minimize both the pain avoided and the pleasure gained.

    For example, for the pain of potential failure, make that pain less severe by rationalizing it. Realize that as long as you create a detailed action plan and account for any pitfalls along the way, your chances of failure are minimal. Plus, as long as you keep at it, you haven’t failed. You only fail when you give up.

    Now, for the pleasure of, say, being able to spend your free time watching television instead of working on your goal, you can minimize it by realizing the pleasure is only temporary. It won’t give you lasting fulfillment. Think how, in five years, your life won’t be any better because of the hours spent watching those sitcoms.

    After doing this for each item on your “NOT Taking Action” list, the emotional power behind the pain avoided and pleasure gained by not taking action will be zapped.

  4. Visualize the specific results of taking action. Go through your “Taking Action” pain/pleasure list (the second sheet in step #2 above), and think about what you’ve written.

    For instance, if the pain avoided by taking action is not having enough money for retirement, get specific. What exactly would you not have money for? Would that mean you’d have to move out of your house and into a small apartment? Would you have to ask your family for help?

    Then, do the same thing with your “Taking Action” pleasure list. If the pleasure gained is financial freedom, be specific. Does that mean you’ll finally get to visit the Egyptian pyramids? Take that cruise to St. Martin you’ve always wanted? Help a certain charity?

    There is power in specificity. That’s because it’s easier to visualize going on a skiing vacation to the Swiss Alps, than it is to visualize the abstract of “financial freedom.”

This is how you’ll build emotional power and motivation to automatically start achieving your goals. And soon enough, you’ll regularly be “achieving the impossible,” just like Kyle.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 4.6
Published: March 27, 2009

1 Response to “How to “Achieve the Impossible” by Putting the Pain/Pleasure Principle to Work for You”

  1. Most educating and inspiring practical article for me. As if written for me, because i was looking for this only. Must read and follow.

    Guest (Dattatraya Deore)May 24, 2013 at 7:25 am


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)