I love metaphors. Understanding the impact they can have on our lives can be very profound. Especially if we're not achieving what we want. Understanding the metaphors we're using to make sense of the world can help us identify what's stopping us from taking the appropriate action to get what we want.
Metaphors come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and I've uploaded images on my Pinterest boards to help identify some general metaphors we use, landscapes I use with clients, and even gardening as a metaphor for purchasing in organisations.
In this blog I'd like to explore the phrases we use and the metaphorical meaning they might have.
"No Pain No Gain"
This is a phrase often used, and if the pictures on pinterest are anything to go by is generally used in a fitness and health setting. No gain by way of inches and pounds lost, or fitness levels improved, without the physical pain obtained from attending the classes, pumping the iron or stopping the daily chocolate cake eating. In that context the saying makes sense. Although there's many eating plans out there that suggest the sustained and ongoing pain in losing something is often what stops the 'new' way of behaving becoming part of our everyday life.
We use 'no pain, no gain', however, in many other settings and when you use it I'd like you to ask yourself the following questions:
- What pain?
- What gain?
- Is the level of pain worth it now?
- Will the level of pain be still worth it in the future?
Because often we're using the phrase as a stick to keep us repeating the pain without considering the benefit we're getting. Here's a few examples to give you a sense of where I'm going with this:
- The pain is pushing too far when exercising and injuring yourself for the gain of something now out of reach completely. Was that much pain really required?
- The pain is putting your life on hold waiting for that perfect partner. How real is the gain?
- The pain is long hours at work and low wages for the promised gain of a promotion that never comes. Does someone else have control over you achieving your gain?
- The pain is sacrificing financial security, and even your health, for the gain of you having a business you can sell in the future. Is it worth the pain?
- The pain is staying late at work, not seeing your family and not having a social life. The gain is financial freedom when you retire in 20 years time. Will you still think it was worth it in 20 years time? Will they?
- The pain is discomfort and physical pain and the gain is not knowing what's wrong with you. Are the potential repercussions of inaction worth it?
- The pain is staying in an abusing relationship for the perceived gain of 'love', 'security' or 'for the kids'. Is that really a gain worth having?
So what about:
- The weight loss, fitness level, job you love, security, financial freedom, lovely home, prosperous business, happy children, loving relationship or health are achieved without any pain - just a clear goal, appropriate motivation and action.
Next time you say "no pain, no gain" to yourself, or others for that matter, you might just want to consider what you're really saying and the implications it will have.
Although perhaps best not to have your cake and eat it!
Landscaping Your Life
Inspiring change inside and out