Where Sales Trainers and Selling Experts share advice, tips, and techniques on how to become a sales champion!

How to Use Human Nature To Dramatically Increase Sales or Any Other Type of Performance! By Bob Davies

It was eleven o’clock on a cold Wednesday evening. I had just arrived at my hotel from the airport for a keynote program on Thursday morning. After checking in, I went directly to my room. As I watched the floors go by on the elevator panel, I kept thinking, I am really hungry.

As I walked into my room, what was about to happen would change my life…forever! I went directly to the “mini bar”, opened the door, got on my hands and knees, and ate everything there.

Oh, I started out with good intentions. I had only consumed 1000 calories so far during the day. My body weight was around 198, so I could have almost 2000 calories daily and not gain weight. I had plenty of calories to spare.

I started out with the M&M’s. One bag, 240 calories, no problem. Next I happened to see a bag of chocolate chip cookies, two for 270 calories, again, no problem. Next I saw the Oreo cookies, then a bag of Barbecue potato chips. Next a Mars Bar, then another bag of M&M’s, this time with nuts, then something I would never ordinarily eat, marshmallows and Rice Crispies, combined into some type of a one serving square.

It went on and on. I ate over 4000 calories that night. It’s ok, though, I thought. I’ll just write them down on my calorie chart, I’m accountable after all. Then I’ll just pick up my workouts and burn an additional two hundred calories per work out next week. That along with a decrease in my intake ought to get me right back where I should be.

That type of thinking was absolutely correct. I would increase my expenditure, decrease my intake, and I would be back down in weight next week except for one thing…

…I would always be playing catch up. I would always have that extra five to ten pounds that I know I can lose and will someday.

It was that mini bar experience that made me realize that I had a problem…

The problem was HUMAN NATURE!

There is a well-known principle in the law of human behavior, which states the following:

“All human performance is either the avoidance of Pain or the seeking of Comfort!

This is referred to as the human performance law. I like to use the analogy of the principle of gravity. It doesn’t matter if you understand the principle of gravity. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the principle. The principle will apply its effect in your life regardless of your attitude or understanding of it.

The same is true with human nature. All human beings are driven by the avoidance of anything that they perceive as uncomfortable, or painful, and driven to anything that they perceive as pleasure or comfort.

This effects our perceptions. We are designed as a species to have what is called selective perception. We are designed to pay attention to what can hurt us and avoid it.

When I walked into that hotel room, what did I pay attention to? Did I see the telephone and think about checking my voice mails? Did I see the closet space and think about hanging up my garment bag? No! I saw the mini bar and thought about the food!

Where is the pain here? The pain is that I am hungry. Where is the comfort? The comfort is in the food. So what will human nature drive me to do? The obvious answer is, eat! But what about my commitment to weight control?

It doesn’t matter. All human performance is either the avoidance of pain, or the seeking of comfort. Pain is the hunger, comfort is the mini bar!

For years I had a problem with my weight. I kept using willpower to eat less but it never would last very long. Human natures compelling forces of avoiding pain and seeking comfort are far more powerful than great intentions and willpower. Human nature will always win!

Since human nature is all-powerful and will always be working in my life, I wonder if there is a way to get human nature to work for me instead of against me…

Finally, the solution hit me like a gust of cold air on a still night! Stop fighting human nature. Since I will always be driven to avoid pain and to seek comfort, then I need to associate pain with the mini bar and comfort with staying out of the mini bar.

Here’s how! I told five of my coaching clients that if I go into the mini bar on my trip then I would pay each of them $250. That’s $1,250 if I go into the mini bar!

Now, where is the pain!

I had finally figured it out! I linked pain to the behavior I wanted to avoid, and pleasure to the action I wanted to have!


The five people I told I knew would hold me accountable. I even suspected that one of them would actually call the hotel and tell them he was from the FBI and needed a copy of my room bill!

Look at the dynamic I had. I had a specific action: (no mini bar) combined with accountability ($1,250 fine).

That is the elite performance formula. You can do this yourself and I promise you that over the next seven days you will find the opportunity to take the action you commit to as long as you link the not doing it to pain, and the taking of the action to comfort. In many cases, the avoidance of the pain becomes the comfort.

Apply this to your prospecting. Commit to making so many calls this week. Make sure that this number is a realistic number that you should be able to do. Make this commitment to another person, put a fine on it, and enjoy your week!

Here is what you will find out at the end of the week.

It was easy! Do this for just one activity every week and you will be quite impressed when Dec. 31 rolls around!
For keynote speaking engagements or personal coaching, contact Bob Davies, M.Ed, MCC