As I was perusing through my psychology notes a few days ago, I came across operant conditioning. The consequence of one’s behaviour is either a reward or punishment. For example, a student in the wrong is sent to detention while a student in his best behaviour is allowed to play after school. Learning about operant conditioning changed my perception of pain significantly.
A few years ago, I joined the Atlassian Community and attended my first meet-up a few weeks later. During the meet-up, all newbies introduced themselves to the community and stated their speciality. When my turn came, I got up and shakily said, “My name is Stark, and I’m a software dev…” Before I could finish, the moderator interrupted me fiercely. He had this to say, “young man, even animals have two scientific names. How come you have one name. You know, most of you lose good opportunities because you don’t know how to introduce and market yourself. Introduce yourself appropriately, young man”?
I have never been that embarrassed. I looked around and everyone’s eyes were on me. For some time, I contemplated walking out and dropping my membership. I was very furious with this guy. Who did he think he was to talk to a grown man like that? He humiliated me in front of hundreds of members and I felt that no one had the right to do that. But something kept me from walking out. That would be disrespectful and I felt he deserved it. But I buried my pain and introduced myself again as suggested. This time, I said my three legal names as they appear on my national identity card, stated my area of origin, my marital status, and shared my professional resume.
The moderator clapped in approval and said, “that’s how it’s done. No hard feelings.” These words eased my pain and also started a dialogue in my brain. This pain was necessary and that humiliation helped me learn a valuable life lesson. I no longer felt frustrated. He had used me to put a point across thus hurting my overgrown ego but I had learned something. I had the tendency of introducing myself using one name but since then, I was never going to do that again. This is just one of the times a superior inflicted pain on my ego to help me learn how to do something perfectly.
You see, pain in this situation was a punishment to curb bad behaviour. After that pain, we learn how to in our best behaviour and there comes a reward. If someone inflicts emotional pain on you, try to understand what is being punished. Maybe you have been naive, impulsive or irrational and pain is the only way for you to learn at that moment. It might be hard to think while in pain but then again, good things never come easy. Instead of rushing out, be calm and think. In most cases, life has to expose us to painful situations to teach us something. This reminds me of the saying, “once bitten twice shy”. Unless someone or something bites you and you feel the pain, you will continue doing things the same and expecting different results. Insane, right? Pain is a very effective tool for erasing a bad habit.
Do you remember of any painful moment that turned your life around” I have been through uncountable painful situations and what I shared above is just one of them. If you don’t mind, please share yours in the comment section or on our social media (comment below this post). I’d love to read through. I’m sure my readers would too. Bottom line, don’t rush out instead be calm and think.
I hope you enjoyed this short post. If you did, please share it with your friends. Also, check out other interesting stories and learning experiences in this category. Until next time, Adios.