No pain, no gain


Our house is a shambles.

The dishwasher and the fridge are in the living room, the spare room looks like a bathroom warehouse, the front porch has turned into a building site and the lounges look horribly cute in their drop sheets.

Yep. We are in the middle of renovations, just a small upgrade to the kitchen and bathroom. It seemed so modest a task and yet the disruption has left me asking, “why, oh why did we do it?”

The answer my beloved wife — who has done a fabulous job in designing and managing our little project including sourcing all the materials [go eBay] — is tantalizingly simple.  No pain, no gain.

It is impossible to get a new bathroom and a kitchen upgrade in your house without copping major inconvenience and dust in the nostrils. It has to get worse before it gets better. Sound logic you might say.

But I suspect that this is not how we really think.

I reckon it is human nature to prefer “all gain, no pain”.

This is certainly what drives business. Profit is best arrived at with minimum fuss. Any cost that can be deferred, or better still, sent somewhere else, will be. The simpler the business system the less that can go wrong and so long as the company has enough competitive advantage in the marketplace, simple is good.

If there has to be pain then, reluctantly, businesses insure against its effects. Even though the logic of insurance is to cop the pain initially but be pain out to sooth its effects.

Now that I start to look for it, I cannot seem to find instances of business voluntarily accepting the ‘no pain, no gain’ maxim.

Perhaps this is the flaw in modern day commerce. Decoupled as we now are from a physical cap on monetary wealth [currencies are no longer tagged to gold bullion] business is free to find unlimited profit — and profit is best had without pain.

Parents of today’s teenagers will probably tell me that this phenomenon is not restricted to business. It is spreading through the youth faster than a tweet.

I will need some time for healthy thinking on this topic to develop but worth sharing I hope.

Meantime I can’t wait for the builders to finish.

As always, any comments gratefully received.


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