Let’s Replace this Expression: No Pain, No Gain

We are human beings. We develop habits. We tend to believe what we hear repeatedly. We tend to believe what we say to ourselves. Teachers know this. Advertisers know this. Composers know this. Writers know this.

A New Paradigm: Grow with Joy

Now is the time for a new belief system and phrases that support this new belief system. It is time to accept this thought: It is unnecessary to experience pain in order to develop and learn. In fact, it is inevitable that we will learn and grow. If we expect to learn from painful experiences, we will. If we expect to learn from joyous experiences, we will. I think this is a really good time to set an intention to grow from joyous experiences. For those who are not quite able to claim this, then this can be a time to affirm a readiness to grow with joyous experiences. We start where we are.

I admit to belonging to a profession that has insisted on the validity of this expression, “No pain, no gain,” openly, even arrogantly. Many of our clients have been willing to believe it. It’s cute. It rhymes. It’s catchy. But it is also incorrect, unless one believes it is true.

What? What did that last sentence say? Our beliefs and thoughts serve as the foundation for our experiences. What we think about or believe leads us to create the experiences that we then offer as evidence or proof of our beliefs!

We all can recall experiences of learning — even profound learning — during or after difficult, painful events. Most people gain considerable learning about themselves and life after being fired or making a major mistake on a project or job or ending an unsatisfying relationship. So, indeed, it is true that we can gain great wisdom from pain. But it is an absurd leap to say that the only way we can gain is with pain — the precise meaning and impact of this popular phrase, “no pain, no gain.”

Please join with me in facilitating the replacement of this expression. As we all become more aware of the language that invites undesirable experiences, we shift our consciousness using language as a tool to create the experiences we purport to desire.

The JoyPhrase Campaign: The 1996 Challenge

Initially, I approached this “no pain, no gain” phenomenon with the idea of trying to eradicate the phrase. I soon realized that this was not quite the right approach. It became clear that we needed to use the energy of the popular expression (even though disempowering) to create a more empowering expression. We needed a replacement campaign. We might think of it as the Cut and Paste Method of Eradication.

Many people who care deeply about empowered personal change subscribe to an email list I sponsor, the DailyAffirm List. These same messages and comments are available at DailyAffirm. On June 3, the affirmation is “I let go of everything that appears to prevent or block joy. I cancel the picture created by the expression, “no pain, no gain.” I challenged the subscribers of the DailyAffirm List to participate in a campaign to replace the phrase, “no pain, no gain:”

“I know that if we all put our hearts and heads together we can arrive at an expression that is just as cute and catchy as “No pain, no gain.” ……One that is empowering rather than disempowering.”

The idea was to develop an expression that describes learning and/or growing and/or development with and/or through joy and/or fun and/or enthusiasm.

I further challenged them to develop a phrase that is

…SHORT

……EASY TO SAY

………MEMORABLE

…………POSITIVE

……………EMPOWERING

The JoyPhrase Campaign included a contest that ran through June, 1996. This is the vision of the campaign:

“The phrase we are looking for is so wonderful that advocates of ‘no pain, no gain’ willingly adopt the new phrase and let go of this devastating idea that the only way to advance is through pain. We win if we start using an empowering phrase right now!!! Just giving our attention to this campaign makes us a winner.”

As the Campaign Proceeded……

I observed that it was a challenge for many participants to apply the principle of writing a JoyPhrase that is positive. That is, many found it difficult to create a phrase that avoids the use of negative words or disempowering ideas and makes a positive statement. Here are examples of words that negate a sentence: No, not, don’t, doesn’t, can’t. A negative word reverses the image or picture you are presenting and is confusing to the part of us that manifests. When parents tell children: “Don’t touch the stove!” especially vehemently, this is interpreted by the young child as an exciting invitation to touch the stove! In is the young child within us who is actively involved in manifesting (that is, in creating our experiences).

It became clear to me that there are two types of phrases that are helpful in this campaign: (1) The direct response to those who use the phrase “no pain, no gain” and (2) replacement phrases. In the first category are included negative words as a natural response to the phrase. Here are examples to illustrate the difference.

(1) Examples of JoyPhrases that you can use when someone — even you! — says “no pain, no gain” before, during, or after an uncomfortable experience:

* No pain….. Your gain! *or* No pain….. My gain!
* Life is too short to agree to pain.
* No pain? — great idea!

(2) Examples of JoyPhrases that can be used instead of this disempowering expression:

* Let go and grow.
* Live now… Experience the WOW!
* Play with the day

Participation is Ongoing!

You may participate, even though the official contest is complete. Just use a replacement phrase or a response phrase any time it feels appropriate! Let the phrases already submitted inspire you.

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