ONE OF THE SUPER-BIG QUESTIONS IN LIFE:
If I have an undesired outcome,
should I inflict pain and suffering on myself or not?
I would recommend "not"! (Duh!)
Ah, but you say, how can I not?
In the first place, it is you who choose the belief that if something is undesired then you will feel pain.
Therefore, it is you who can choose to believe otherwise. (Duh!)
HOW DO I CHOOSE OTHERWISE?
Ok, then how do I do that?
Ah, the right question.
We can simply accept that we
1. Cannot control all outcomes, and
2. We will have undesired outcomes in life, as part of life.
And then we can choose to not dwell on or inflict pain about the undesired outcome and immediately refocus ourselves and our efforts on choosing to be happy and on working to create the next good outcome. With this attitude, you will find yourself being Fearless (read that section!).
If you are not yet at the position in thinking to do the above, we need to change the beliefs around this.
As with all beliefs, we need to follow the belief changing protocol:
1. Identify the belief.
2. Identify the payoffs and expected outcomes of the belief.
3. Identify what is untrue about the belief.
4. Invent a new belief that is useful, true, and workable.
5. Install that belief so it is "top of the mind" and always there (review it in your
The Buddhists, correctly so, identify "attachment to outcomes" as one of the key sources of unnecessary suffering in life. Attachment means "if this doesn't happen, I'll be unhappy, as I must have it to be happy." Maybe you don't say that explicitly but that is what is said by Dumb and Dumber (your two lower brains which don't have the reasoning ability of the frontal cortex). You can read about this in the Suffering and Struggle section.
IDENTIFY THE BELIEF
"I believe that if an undesired happening occurs that I will feel pain (be unhappy)."
The belief underneath that is "If I inflict pain, then I will be motivated to solve the problem."
Of course, the biggest problem is that you don't want to have pain - so I'd recommend you stop inflicting it on yourself in the first place!
THE PAYOFFS AND EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE BELIEF
There is no payoff to the first belief above, but it leads us to the underlying belief this first belief is based on.
The second one involves a huge belief that seems logical, at least in a primitive, evolutionary way. I would recommend that you read, understand, and know how the brain works; see Managing The Mind, The Development Of The Mind.
Yes, we want to use that method that works and there is certainly sufficient evidence to suggest that pain motivates (to get rid of the pain), discomfort motivates similarly, and emotional signals motivate (to fix the problem or go for the pleasure). Those who had genes that caused this to happen were those who survived, so that we are the product of better and better genes for survival.
WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS UNTRUE ABOUT THIS BELIEF?
However, you don't want to swat a fly on your knee with a sledge hammer in order to get rid of the fly. You want to use a fly swatter, get the result you want, and to not inflict pain upon yourself.
Evolution caused us to have a system which had to respond, even if it might be wrong, because it couldn't afford to stop and figure it out to see if the animal or the noise in the bushes was a threat or not.
Nowadays, we have to learn to differentiate between lots of flies (things happening; potential stimulants) and animals who will eat us. We can't afford emotionally to really go full tilt with regard to a fly. (A bit like Richard Carlson's book "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, And It's All Small Stuff!")
If it is no big problem (= loss of limb or life), then it is a small problem. Big problems, use big quick radical motivators to get us going. And, if we get going in time, and successfully run away from the wild animal, then we feel good about that.
However, most people feel bad about a self-created "problem," since they should have known better or it shouldn't happen that way - all things that anyone would be unhappy about hearing. Without that addition, there is no pain. Since they couldn't have known better than they knew right at the time and since it did happen, there is no sense in lamenting that it happened or criticizing oneself for it. (See also Eliminating Criticism.)
Anyway, the point is that we don't need big motivation for little things. And, of course, we've got to believe that most things that happen are little things and that we'll be ok even if things happen that we don't benefit from.
The outcome of inflicting pain upon oneself in order to motivate oneself is pain. Not good! (Duh!)
The effect of inflicting pain on oneself with regard to the outcome doesn't change the outcome, as it already has occurred.
We can simply, as if we were an enlightened person, look and decide what we can do now that the outcome has occurred, so that we can simply go get better outcomes. Then we can simply appreciate that life will work out well on the average, which it will, IF we stop inflicting pain on ourselves all the time.
Undesired outcomes are just part of the human experience, a big "so what" when compared to how great life actually is! [See Why Life Is Very Good! (Actually Great!) and integrate it into your overall philosophy of life.]