Enroll now for April!

Ep #133: Well-Being vs Pleasure

Over the past couple of episodes, I’ve been focusing on the idea of why we should bother with doing all of this hard work – feeling negative emotions and pursuing the life free of “yummy,” false pleasures. And today, we continue this with this important topic and dig into how well-being stacks up against pleasure.

You might want to substitute the word “happiness” instead of “well-being” here if that word resonates with you more. However, for me “well-being” is a lot more in line with what I’m aiming for in my life.

Join us as we explore the difference between cultivating well-being and constantly living in the realm of false pleasures, and how understanding that distinction can help you find your path to an authentic life that humans were born to lead.

So get your earbuds in, click “play,” and get ready to get transformed! Believe me… you won’t want to miss this important episode.


What You will discover

  • What well-being is about.
  • Why it’s more in line with my life goals than happiness.
  • The differences between the states of well-being and pleasure.
  • How we use pleasure the live an un-conscious life.
  • Ways that we can practice our well-being.
  • The ultimate ticket to well-being.
  • The only thing in between you and your dreams, and taking action towards them.

Get the Full Episode Transcript:

download the transcript

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hello my friends. How are you guys today? I'm so good. I'm having a little bit of abandonment. This always happens to me after I do a 6-day training. I fell in love with everyone there. We had so much fun. We've spent so much time together and then they all leave me and they go home. It makes me sad. We just did an amazing training. The people there were lovely and brilliant, and I want to kiss them. It seriously is crazy. I'm looking around the room right now seeing all of their faces. They were a funny group too. We laughed a lot. It was great time. If you guys are listening, a lot of them are huge fans of the podcast. I know they're listening. I love you guys. I miss you already.

I'm thinking about Kate, especially Kate came from Australia. I was thinking about that long flight that she had. I'm thinking about her being so far away now, too far away. Anyway, I'm doing great, but I'm missing them so much. It's such an honor to teach at that level and to teach the type of student that really wants to take this material and learn it in a way that they can help other people in the world. Love it. I love my job. It's ridiculous. I love being here with you.

The previous two and the next three are all around the same concepts. The podcast topics are all around what I'm really interested in right now, which is this idea that why bother with all of this hard work? Why bother feeling negative emotions? Why bother with pursuing a life that's free of all of these yummy, delicious, false pleasures?

It's a legit question and it's the question that I have been proposing and answering over the last several months and I definitely want to bring it to you guys and have you talk to me about it and talk with me about it and I definitely want to talk to you about it.

Today, we're going to talk about well-being versus pleasure. Well-being is a word that I came up with because it really fits to me what I'm aiming for in my life. The word happiness does not fit for what I am pursuing in my life. I don't know that I'm right about that, just when I hear the word, the way that the word fills in my body feels different than the word "well-being." If the word "well-being" doesn't resonate with you, that's fine. You can put happiness in there.

I'm going to tell you how I define the words and just so we're on the same page here and then I'm going to talk about the difference between them. It will go along with the upcoming podcast and in discussing this idea of how do we pursue well-being. I think a lot of us pursue pleasure at the expense of well-being. Can we pursue well-being and pleasure at the same time? Does one cancel out the other? I think the answer is actually yes. I think that's what I've been talking about quite a bit lately is I think when people try and pursue the ultimate in well-being but trying and keep the pleasure on board, they actually really slow themselves down.

I used to do that too and I hadn't realized it until I gave up the buffering, until I gave up all of the false pleasures, when I started really experiencing well-being, that I was like, "Oh, now this is the jam. This is way better than food. This is way better than anything I've been able to buy, or purchase, or consume." I feel in my life, I think I'm 44 years old, I've gotten to this point in my life now where I really understand the value of all of the work that I have put in to understanding my brain and understanding my emotions, because I see people that are lost in the loop of false pleasures, and I can see that they feel powerless. It's not that they don't want to get out of it. I just think a lot of them don't know how and I remember being that way.

I think our understanding of our brains, our understanding of psychology, our understanding of self help is a beautiful thing in terms of our careers, but I also think it's helping us become the best version of ourselves, which doesn't mean like, "Oh good, everyone will applaud me." It means, "Oh my gosh, I can really drop into myself and have a deeper connection and offer more to the people around me." Ultimately, I think that's such an amazing way to live, is when you have so much abundance that you've given yourself that it overflows and you can give it to other people. Then it just keeps coming back. I do believe that the more you give, the more you're going to get. I don't think that's just a clichéd quote.

Let's talk about the difference between well-being and pleasure. This is how I'm defining them so you really can see that there's a significant difference. Well-being is a state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy that comes from within. Now, when I looked this word up, I was actually really surprised to see the word "comfortable." It makes sense to me, because I feel like I have found a way to be comfortable with discomfort. This is a weird example, but it just popped in my head. Have you ever seen someone that sits on their calves? They sit down and their quads are up and they're sitting on their calves. Kids do this all the time and it looks excruciatingly uncomfortable to me. They're like, "Oh no, I love sitting like this. This is so comfortable."

I think it's so fascinating to see that something that does not look comfortable, that "shouldn't be comfortable" is comfortable to someone. I feel like that's where I've found myself in my life. Hard things and hard work, and negative emotion, I'm there, that's my jam. I'm comfortable there now, whereas I used to spend everything, any pain, I was getting the hell out of here. Now, I'm comfortable with pain. I'm comfortable with my own pain. I'm comfortable with my client's pain. I don't go anywhere. I got this, right? I'd love that they used the word "state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy that comes from within."

It's really important to remember that when you're feeling a state of comfort and it comes from within, you are in well-being. Why do you feel comfortable? Is it because you have coached yourself through something? Is it because you're thinking beautiful thoughts about yourself, and your family, and your life? That means it's coming from within. If you're feeling comfortable because you just are indulging in an ice cream or if you're feeling pleasure because you're buying something, that's a very different thing. Pleasure is a temporary or a momentary feeling of comfort that comes from something external. Well-being is something that comes, a state of being that comes from within, a state of being. Pleasure is a temporary or momentary feeling of comfort that comes from something outside of you. Huge difference, really important to distinguish between the two.

If someone says, "I feel good most of the time," that does not mean that they are in a healthy state of well-being. What it may mean is that they're constantly indulging an external pleasures. They're overworking, they're overdrinking, they're overeating, they're over porning, they're over purchasing, so they're able to maintain some level of ongoing feeling by literally being unconsciously pleasured from the outside. It is exhausting and it's not sustainable. So many Americans find themselves in this loop of constant pleasure-seeking, constant pleasure experiencing, constant pleasure-seeking, constant pleasure experiencing. It's a roller coaster because it's temporary. You feel the pleasure, you lose the pleasure. You find the pleasure, you lose the pleasure. You have to constantly be giving yourself the pleasures from the external world.

This is why a lot of people will say, "If I just had more money, I would be happy because what they're thinking is, if I had more money, I would be able to pleasure myself more often." I know that sounds so sexually creepy, so I'm sorry about that. What I mean by that is you're able to pursue pleasure in a more extravagant way when you have more money, but it still doesn't work. It doesn't even matter at what level you're pursuing pleasure. If the pleasure is coming from outside yourself, you're always going to feel dependent and you're always going to feel inadequate. If the pleasure and the comfort comes from within yourself, you're going to feel confident and you're going to feel consistent, and you're not going to feel like you have to depend on something outside of yourself.

Temporary pleasures include overeating, especially foods that are concentrated in substances that will provide inflexive dopamine like sugar and flour. Overdrinking alcoholic beverages or drinks that have tons of sugar in them. Vacations as a way of escaping, right? We go and we get pleasure, because we are away from our life and we're able to look at the ocean. Please notice that most vacations include lots of overeating and lots of overdrinking, and excuses for both of them, "I'm on vacation." Other people providing us with pleasure and I'm not talking about sexual pleasure, I'm talking about other people's approval, other people's admiration, other people's energy, other people even teaching us, other people even just talking to us, entertaining us, those are all external pleasures. Shopping, massaging, entertainment.

If that's where we're getting all of our pleasure in our life, we are waking up, we're going to someone else to entertain us, we're going out to maybe have a vacation or we're going out and getting a pedicure and then we're going out to lunch with a friend, and then we're just constantly trying to seek those external pleasures. Now, let's be clear that I don't think that external pleasures are bad. In fact, I think they're part of being human. I think when we use external pleasures in exchange for well-being is when we get into trouble. When instead of pursuing our own well-being, we're pursuing external pleasures. I know I said that earlier, but I just want to reiterate.

I can hear you guys saying, so you say I shouldn't go out to lunch with my best friend, that's a total pleasurable experience for me. No, I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is don't depend on all of those external pleasurable experience to be the summation of all the pleasure that you have in your life. Now, well-being. Where do we get well-being? I started really thinking about this like, "Where can we practice well-being?" I think one of the things and I'm talking about this in a future podcast, self-growth and self-actualization in incremental steps and in our pursuit of that, and our willingness to step out and do that for ourselves, to actualize ourselves I think increases well-being more than anything.

Accomplishment, being kind to yourself and to others, being aligned with your true desires instead of doing things to get other people's approval or doing things to impress other people to actually doing things that are aligned with your own intuition, your own true desires, I think those true desires are the map of where you're supposed to go and live your life to fulfill yourself and your human potential, telling the truth to yourself and to others, being okay with your life as it is and wanting more all at the same time. Wanting more for the sake of growing and self-actualization, not wanting more stuff or more success or more accolades, not wanting something from outside of yourself, but wanting something more from within yourself that therefore manifest outside of yourself.

Trusting, believing in yourself, having faith, connection, giving, abundance, overcoming in health, I think those are the things that help us with well-being. If I was going to summarize them up and I've done this a lot of times on this podcast, but of course I'm going to do it again, our willingness to be present with discomfort is the ultimate ticket to well-being. Because the only thing that can rob us of well-being is resisting or reacting the negative emotion or avoiding it. I want to tell you how we do that. If I'm going to avoid negative emotion, all I'm going to do is pursue false pleasure. I'm just going to eat and drink, and not pursue any of my goals, not actualize any of my potential, not overcome any of my obstacles.

By avoiding that, there's no way that I can achieve well-being, because I'm not allowing any possibility of my human potential. I'm basically going into unconsciousness and hiding from myself. The second thing is reacting to negative emotion. If I'm not avoiding it and I'm just reacting to it, I'm going to be contributing to my life a lot of negative action. If when I'm angry, I yell and scream at myself and others. If when I'm frustrated, I kick people or give up, or create terrible work, or start blaming other people. If I start reacting to my emotions and blaming other people for them, I'm going to get into that spiral of creating a lot of drama in the world instead of making a contribution to the world.

When I resist emotion, I create so much unnecessary stress in my body. It's the opposite of bringing the goodness and the internal joy from within me all throughout my body. I'm actually creating the opposite effect. I'm creating tension and resistance in my body, so there's no way for me to experience the positive emotion because I'm resisting all emotion when I resist negative emotion. I create this state of tension in my body that doesn't allow for positive vibration. Those are the ways that we prevent our own well-being. The opposite of that by allowing all emotion, by being willing to be present with all emotion and be willing to really let our emotions guide us to our brain and let us know what is going on with us cognitively so we can manage that from a really higher level.

Then we can follow those dreams and pursue what it is we're meant to pursue in our life. That's the ultimate in well-being and confidence, right? Going through our life knowing that there's nothing that life can bring us that we haven't been made to extend. Even death, right? If you believe that you go on after you die, there's nothing in this world that you're not designed to withstand. Someone else dying, you can handle that. I think about this all the time. There are thousands of mothers who have lost their children to death, that go on, that find happiness, that are able to pursue their own well-being. Despite having faced, I think one of the most difficult emotions you can experience, the effect of the grief that you would have after losing a child.

There are thousands of people on this planet who have been terrorized, who have literally experienced the emotion of terror, who have overcome that and pursued well-being. We as humans are designed to withstand anything. I think about these people I'm like, "What a bad ass. What do you mean you were attacked and raped and you're still here kicking ass?" That's what human beings are designed to do. We're designed to withstand it, to handle it, to move on from it, to possibly grow from it. Look at all of us in the world that have dealt with childhood abuse, that have dealt with adult abuse, that have withstood it and not only withstood it, but pursued a life of purpose afterwards. You were designed to handle anything that the world has for you.

When you move through the world knowing that that's how you are designed, that you have the capacity to deal with any negative emotion and that there are thousands of examples of people that have done it, they have experienced terror and moved beyond it. They have experienced humiliation. It's so fascinating to me. I was just listening to the TED Talk that Monica Lewinsky did. I was so inspired by that TED Talk. If you haven't heard it, will link it up in the show notes, you can check it out. The humiliation that she moved through and where she is now is really inspiring. When you think of the worst emotion that you could possibly have and you think, "I'm a human being that was designed to withstand that," and actually those emotions are harmless. Emotions cannot destroy me. I'm designed to feel them and move on. It makes you go into the world with an attitude of, "Bring it on."

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but I'm going to put myself out there and I'm not going to hide from the possibility of a negative emotion. I'm going to embrace that possibility and then you get better at it. When you're willing to do that, your well-being will be off the charts. Because even though you may be experiencing negative emotion, you will have the confidence and well-being that will help you get through it. That is the gift. That is the teaching. If I could teach anything, it is this. It is that the hard work of learning how to process emotion, the hard work of learning how to manage your mind is so worth it.

It's worth a tedious process of doing models, of learning about yourself, of paying attention to your mind, of questioning everything you've ever known, of going through an identity change, of experiencing the cognitive dissonance. Because on the other side of it, you will know how to do that and you will be able to pursue a life of your dreams, because the only thing, hear this, the only thing between you and your dreams and taking action towards them is your fear of the emotion that may be in the way. Once you're over that, you're ready to go. Your motivation will be skyrocketed. Anything you don't know how to do, you will figure out. You still stop using that as an excuse.

Here's the deal, there is so much pleasure available to you. It is easy to get. It's easy to buy. It's easy for you to experience it. Here's the thing, it's easy for you to mistake it for well-being. It's easy for you to take a bunch of false pleasures and stack them out on top of each other and call that happiness. What I want to tell you is, it doesn't even compare. It's like trying to compare 12 one-night stands with the love of your life. It doesn't even compare. It's like trying to compare 15 cupcakes eaten all at once to what it feels like to know that you are going to be ... that you're a 148-pounds and that you're always going to be a 148-pounds and nothing can take that away from you, and you feel good, and you feel vibrant, and you feel healthy, and your clothes always fit. Nothing is better than that, certainly not a cupcake.

It's like 20 glasses of wine versus knowing that you really genuinely don't even like it. You don't want it in your body and it has nothing good to give you. You genuinely do not want it. People are pouring it all around you and you just don't want it. For those of you that suffer with other things like overspending or porn, or overworking, it's the difference between doing those things and never getting the result you want, never fully feeling satisfied versus being ultimately satisfied. Really feeling that well-being of not needing to chase another pleasure.

My goal is to teach you how to do that. My goal is to teach you how to give up the false pleasures to stop running away from pain, to move towards the discomfort in order to have the well-being. Because the well-being my friend, you cannot buy it, you have to earn it and it's worth it. Have an amazing week. I'll talk to you guys next week.

Thank you for listening to the Life Coach School Podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to thelifecoachschool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application, where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.


  1. Dear Brooke,
    Thank you for providing such a powerful resource to the world. I really do admire your work and am so grateful for the changes you have inspired me to make in my own life. I am only just starting out on my pursuit of well-being and looking at myself more closely but am finding myself wondering how I can apply these practices to my use of technology. On considering this, I realised it’s probably something a lot of us struggle with; on one hand technology makes our lives so much easier but on the other, it can so easily take us away from being present. How can we strike a balance between utilizing the convenience and ensuring that we don’t allow these devices to become another buffer since simply ‘giving-up’ our phones isn’t exactly a practical option for most?
    Apologies if you’ve already covered this in a previous episode, I’m still making my way through the podcasts!

    All the best,


  2. Brooke,

    This episode is quite possibly the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard, maybe in part because I have been listening and studying intensively over the past several weeks from episode 1 and have worked my way up to this one. This episode feels like such a perfect culmination of everything I have learned from you up to this point and such an amazing description of what life can be. I never thought I would be so excited to feel negative emotions! It is basically my number one goal right now because it literally feels like a magic trick. I feel a negative emotion for several seconds here and there and gain total control and mastery over the parts of my life where I had been taking actions against my own judgment. Lean into that feeling until it has passed and I am stripped of the fear that has kept me from taking so many important steps in my life. It has truly set me free. With the practical, crystal clear foundation you have laid for me, all of the other growth resources in my life–therapy, books, and other podcasts–mean so much more. There is no way I can thank you enough. Count me as one of your many #1 fans. Much love.

  3. Thank you for this episode! I have really enjoyed this series of podcasts. This particular episode made me realize something about the way I celebrate. During the insanity of a project or planning of an event, the teams I’m working with will get excited about the celebration dinner or drinks that we will have after it is all done. Then the project is complete, the event is held and we high five ourselves for a job well done. And we never go out for the celebratory dinner and drinks. Before listening to this episode, I thought “maybe we are all lazy and can’t keep the commitment” or “we’re so tired of each other that’s the last thing we need to do”. Then after listening, I realized that our fulfillment comes from a job well done. We didn’t need the quick hit of food or drink. The job well done brought us all of the necessary well being we needed. This will definitely be an episode I will listen to again. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *