The Pleasure Approach Rather Than The Pressure Approach

There are many ways to live life. The first step, of course, is for people to have the basic materials for life. These include food, shelter and enough money to care for their loved ones.

Imagine that a person has these in place. They are then more able to follow their personal philosophy and shape a positive future. Different people choose to do this in different ways.

Some people follow the pleasure approach. They aim to do things that give pleasure, follow their principles and do their best to get positive results.

Some people follow the pressure approach. They may then put themselves and other people under pressure when working towards their desired pot of gold.

There are many ways to follow the pleasure approach. Sometimes this involves focusing on the following themes.


People who take his approach aim to do things that give pleasure. The ways they do this can take different forms.

Some people focus on the theme of encouragement. They encourage themselves by doing things that give them positive energy. This gives them more strength to give to other people.

Such people often also enjoy encouraging others. They love being generous and helping people to succeed. They enjoy creating pleasurable experiences that give people positive memories of life.

Some people aim to do work they gives pleasure to both themselves and other people. They may do this be building on their strengths, doing satisfying work and helping people to achieve success.

Such individuals may take this approach when working as a nurse, educator or in another role.  They may say something like the following when embarking on a piece of work or tackling a challenge.

“I have the opportunity to do satisfying work. Some people may see it as pressured but I do not see it that way. Real pressure is not being able to feed your family or being in another situation that is threatening.

“The work I do gives me the chance to help other people. It is rewarding to find solutions to challenges and get positive results. Other people may not have such opportunities.”


Many people follow the pleasure approach in a helpful way. They want to help people or the planet. There are some people, of course, who follow it a hedonistic way. They only think about their own pleasure.

People who take the helpful approach often believe in following certain principles. The principles they follow will often depend on their personal philosophy or profession.

An educator may aim to encourage, educate and enable people to shape their futures. A designer may aim to design things that are simple, satisfying and successful.

A caring person may aim to care for people, their products and the planet. A performer may aim to follow their passion, be professional and deliver peak performances.

One American Football coach explained their view in the following way. Although operating in a results business, they focused on other factors rather than beating the opposition. They said:

“My role to help the players and team to be the best they can be on the day. Many times this can result in us winning matches. Sometimes, for various reasons, it doesn’t. But that is my approach.”

This philosophy links to the next step taken by those who aim to encourage others in their lives and work.

Positive Results

People who follow the pleasure approach may do their best to achieve certain aims. The way they do this can take many forms. They may aim, for example, to give people encouragement and help them to enjoy positive experiences.

Some may also aim to achieve certain tangible results. They may do this as a parent, for example, when helping their teenage children to build on their strengths and find work that is satisfying.

They may do it as a medic by helping people to regain their health. They may do it as technical specialist by creating software that helps people to take more charge of their lives.

They may do it as a mediator by helping people to find solutions to conflicts. They may do it as a social entrepreneur by delivering pioneering projects that help people and the planet.

People who follow the pleasure approach often believe in the philosophy of earning things rather than entitlement. They are prepared to sweat. They often enjoy the journey, however, because they are working towards their picture of success.

The Pressure Approach

Different people follow the pressure approach for different reasons. They may have grown up by being exposed to some of the following messages:

You need to keep striving … You always need to be top of the class … You need to be seen as a winner … You need to recognise that no pain no gain … You need to keep climbing the ladder.

You need to keep comparing yourself to others … You need to forget what you enjoy and instead earn lots of money … You can then retire and do the things that give you pleasure.

Some people follow this approach in a way that puts pressure on themselves and other people. They may do this when working towards desired pot of gold.

Sometimes this produces positive benefits. Sometimes it produces pain – both for themselves and other people. Sometimes they find ways to build on the positives and manage the consequences of the negatives.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you may want to follow elements of the pleasure approach? How can you do this in your own way?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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