Success Journaling: Using Pain and Pleasure

This entry was inspired by Maryn Masumiya’s recent blog entry, which I highly recommend because, well, she’s my sister lol but more seriously, she is an excellent writer who honestly and humbly articulates insights and her overall perspectives on health and wellness. You can check out her blog entry titled, “No Guarantee” here. Thank you, sis. Love you.

I was looking over my Success Journal last week and read some entries that I wrote about two years ago and it’s very refreshing to see where my mentality was and where it is now.

But before I continue…

Journaling is such a therapeutic ritual

Journaling is such a therapeutic ritual

Just a sidenote: journaling has been very beneficial in my life and it is a way for me to differentiate the days, to track the pattern of thoughts I have and how they evolve over the course of time, and to simply get anything running through my mind outside of my head, which often brings a lot more clarity and perspective. The act of journaling almost detaches myself from the thoughts as I read them over and gives me that third person perspective to more effectively sort through the matter, create potential solutions, and redefine the meaning of the matter if necessary.


Regarding my journal entries two years prior, one of the topics that came up over and over was the hindrance I was feeling by not experientially expanding my cultural awareness. I was born and raised in Los Angeles my entire life and put myself in a job in Social Services shortly after graduating from college, which I was losing interest in, going through the same motions, seeing the same people, and decided that I “needed” to create a new situation for myself to give me more perspective.

One of my entries detailed the pain I received by not taking measures to live outside of the country.

It went as such:

  • “It pains me to think that I haven’t seen/experienced/tasted other parts of the world. I would see so much color. Going to SF to see Kayce was moving in itself.”
  • “Oh, the possibilities and colors I’d experience in another country. There’s so much more than this.”
  • “My pain is that I’m delaying myself from exponentially growing, from widening my horizons, from connecting amidst vast differences in location and culture.”
  • “I’m not seeing enough! I need more. I’m entirely/completely/absolutely sober and I’m saying that I NEED MORE!”
  • “There’s no pleasure I get by not furthering my knowledge in ways to get out of my bubble. The bubble I’ve confined myself in needs to burst””

The rant went on for longer, but you get the point. This created a lot of pain HAD I decided to stay in my normal routine of things and not create massive change in my life. This is a great way to inspire action: by attributing lots of pain to an undesirable situation and lots of pleasure to a situation which I strongly desire.

After creating all this pain, I wrote down all the pleasure I’d receive by taking action towards opportunities that would allow me to live abroad:

  • “It will be extremely rewarding because I’ll be taking actions towards a repressed yearning to branch out on my own with flair, with novelty, with exhilaration due to the discomfort of living/experiencing NEWNESS.”
  • “I believe in my ability to thrive in situations that are uncertain and have all I need to make the best of any situation.”
  • “I take pleasure in meeting new people and getting new perspectives.”
  • “I imagine living in an entirely foreign place where the culture breaks down my preconceptions to the gristle and shapes me into a more open-minded, humble beast.”
  • “I take lots of pleasure in reflecting back on my mentality one year ago to now. The amount I can grow 1-2 years in another country is unfathomable x1000.”
  • “I enjoy learning and absorb so much by simply observing. To immerse in a new country. Oh the value in that. I’m having such pleasure imagining…”

This was a great technique, which I took from Tony Robbins, that created a lot of pain towards my current situation back then and added pleasure to taking action towards what I wanted. I believe this exercise gave me more compelling reasons to grasp my sharp desire to live in a different country.



Two years down the road, I am living in Yokosuka, Japan and working in Yokohama, Japan as an Assistant English Teacher at Hodogaya JHS. I have been here for about 15 months and this has been, by far, one of the best decisions I’ve ever consciously made in my entire life. Over these past 15 months, beautiful things have happened that I couldn’t foresee:

Me and lovely

  • I met an amazing woman, Kaori Ogasawara, whose values align with mine. She loves nature, meditating, and exercise, excites me, is very thoughtful and caring, has an open mind, is constantly trying to improve our relationship, and puts in effort to annoy me and succeeds. I love her so much.


  • Got switched to a new junior high school, which is a far more desirable situation than where I was before. I feel very appreciated here, get along with many of the teachers, and the 1000+ students and teachers add more variety than before. This is only a temporary situation, but it further reinforces in me the importance of giving value and feeling valued.
  • Accepting my destiny to guide others to live more enthusiastic lives according to their values through Life Coaching and creating multiple avenues of passive income that will allow me to explore the world.
  • Experientially realizing that if money were no factor, I’d want to coach people and explore all over the world. That means this is what I will do in my life.

My mini castle

  • First time ever having my own place and supporting myself financially, which is such a liberating experience. I love it.




Me and my cousins

Me and my cousins

  • Seeing some of my distant cousins for the first time in Hiroshima and feeling the love despite time.




On Iriomote Island, kayaking trip to a waterfall

On a kayaking trip to a waterfall on Iriomote Island

  • Having my first solo traveling expedition to Okinawa, immersing in the beautiful tropical culture that I wished to visit before moving to Japan.


I am endlessly grateful that I made the decision to live in Japan for a few years out of my life.

Now, I’m not suggesting that if you have a sharp desire to do something, to stop everything and pursue it right away. I believe that timing is also very important.

In my situation, everything lined up for me:

  • I was tired of my job and knew it wasn’t going to be my long term career
  • I still lived at home
  • I was single, no dependents
  • Was fortunate enough to be free of any student loans, as a result of my parent’s marvelous financial planning and inherited wills from deceased relatives

Thus, I believe I was in a very fortunate position to do what I did and live abroad. I have an amazing family to say the least, who offer me unconditional love and support. I am so thankful for my family and their support makes me believe I can connect and make something of myself anywhere I go.

But, going back to heartfelt desires. If there is something you know in your heart you want to achieve or make happen, but the timing isn’t right, make a commitment to yourself that it’s going to happen. Perhaps you don’t know how it’s going to happen, but figure out why it must happen for you. Schedule it if possible. My goal was to live outside of the country before my 26th birthday (June 10, 2013). I arrived in Japan on March 19, 2013.

There’s a saying that goes,

”The road to someday leads to the town of nowhere.”

Such a saying inspired me to create a bucketlist that I am expanding on because there is so much I want to see/experience. I am intent on checking all of them off before I die, many of which I will experience before my so-called retirement years.

There’s this belief now that I took for granted before, but living in Japan and all the perspectives being here has provided and continues to feed me, is that

“life is short.”

Rocking chair reflection

Rocking chair reflection

All I know is this one life and when I am on my rocking chair after many years lived thinking back on my life, I want to look back on:

  • all the experiences – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – I created to make me the happy and resilient young-hearted old man I will become (the only regrets I shall have are heartfelt desires that I didn’t pursue),
  • all the people I assisted in discovering the lifenthuziasts inside of them,
  • the unconditional support I offered to those I cherish,
  • and living according to the values I’ve consciously decided for myself.

Meanwhile, there are many ‘things’ I want in life: I do plan to own property with a nice-sized kitchen and a backyard to have a garden and grow various foods, purchase a reliable 4-door vehicle, among other things – but at this point – I personally don’t need many possessions and am not that attached to the possessions that I do have. Plus, I feel like these possessions will not be something I pride myself over in my rocking chair. I believe my current and future wealth will be invested largely in batches of fruitful experiences lots of which will be experienced before the whole “I’ll get to it once I retire” mentality – as I said before.

How will I be able to become a successful life coach and explore all around the world and still have money and time to provide for a family, be the loving and present father I intend to be, an unconditionally supportive husband, brother, son, and friend, and eventually retire? I haven’t figured that out yet.

To some, that might be adventurous and feasible. To others, it may seem ideal, risky, and careless. I am not here to tell anyone how to live their life, nor should you automatically subscribe to my rituals and whatever I say. You have the choice to do whatever you want.

My intention is for you to have the independent thought to live on your own terms, not conditioned by your friends, parents, teachers, or whomever. Anybody’s opinions are their own limitations. But, if you are to be conditioned by anyone, which is inevitable, let the conditioning empower you. For me to say that everything I share will benefit everyone is my limitation. But I am coming from the standpoint that I can help anyone I develop rapport with and commit my time to. I want my limitations to be expanding, not suffocating. You know when you’re not being true to what you deeply want and you have the capacity to use pain and pleasure to pull you into the direction of your desires.

Please leave a comment sharing your honesty, or share my post and like it if you find it useful in some way


Gavin Masumiya

A lifenthuziast seeking new adventures and ways to expand my awareness, while transmitting positivity and vibrancy throughout the world.


  1. This post made me tear up because I am so proud of you! Your move to Japan was such an amazing way to open up to a new experience. Now you are living the life you dreamed up in that journal of yours. Life is really an adventure and we can either ride it out with the top down, embracing change along the way, or keep our brakes on until they wear out and we’re stuck on the side of the road. You’re living proof of how beautiful life can be on the other side.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement sis. You are constantly supporting my vision and desire to become a more grounded and resilient human being. I believe that your move to Austin was a life changer for you as well. The external part of you being in a completely new environment and culture is just the dessert. The level of courage that it takes to leave everything that you knew and surrender to the unknown, especially with leaving your stagnant position at Bob’s pharmaceutical company, are priceless decisions you made and will go with you wherever you place yourself now. I believe we both are now thinking more about how we can best serve the world while staying aligned with our strengths and interests than ever before. Being back home, it was difficult to reach beyond the thoughts of our parents and immediate surroundings. This decision is allowing my wings to expand into the unknown, and being okay with that. The more that I can accept that uncertainty is an inevitable part of life, the more I am open to take risks that I am confident will bring more carrots than sticks.

      The exhilarating thought behind this all is that this is only the beginning!

  2. “Perhaps you don’t know how it’s going to happen, but figure out why it must happen for you. ”

    Touché Gavin I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Yes, bro. Thank you. Simon Sinek takes it back to the fundamentals in his TEDTalk, which you probably have watched:

      If I can make my reasons compelling enough, that’s what will keep me pushing forward when I am really facing challenges that test my willpower. And I know for damn sure that building a successful coaching business will have many tests in store for me. Over the next ten years, I’ll really get to see how much I give my best in the face of challenges and stay true to my vision, or if I let challenges get the best of me. I must constantly remind myself of my ‘whys’ to keep me focused and encouraged. In that way, I can be my own cheerleader. Cheers to that.

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