There are three problems I have noticed amongst young men that appear to be approaching epidemic levels in our society.
(Chances are, if you don’t suffer from one of these problems yourself, you know someone who does.)
The three problems are:
1) a lack of motivation in life.
2) neediness in relationships with women, and
3) experiencing an emotional rollercoaster between happiness and depression that leave them exhausted.
I’ve realized that these problems are all related and boil down to the same underlying cause.
It’s hard to explain succinctly, so I’m going to use a metaphor:
What if I told you there was a force inside of you, a force that pointed towards your deepest desire, and which motivated nearly all of your actions.
You could think of it a bit like a compass that always points at what you *really* want.
So you read an article on healthy diet, and you think to yourself, “I’m going to eat healthier”.
But then later that day, you are walking down the street and pass a pizza place, and all of a sudden you feel a force pulling you inside.
You pop into the pizza place and chow down.
Diet = ruined.
It turns out that, even though YOU (i.e. the smart and rational part of you) decided to eat healthier, your inner compass didn’t get the memo. As you were walking by, that compass pointed you into the pizza place and caused you to do something that the smart, rational part of you didn’t want to do.
We all have that force inside of us. An inner, emotional force that pushes us towards what it wants, and away from what it is scared of.
By default, that inner force pushes us towards pleasure, and away from pain.
Why do you eat the pizza? Because it’s pleasurable. Why do you avoid going to the gym, doing your accounting, cleaning your apartment? Because it’s painful.
If your internal compass is set to the default settings of “seek pleasure” and “avoid pain”, it moves all over the place.
This causes the following problems.
- You will have trouble motivating yourself to do difficult things, even if they are meaningful and important at an intellectual level. This happens because your “compass” points you away from the “painful” tasks that need to happen to reach your higher purpose.
- You will be needy in your relationships, because your compass points at pleasure – and women are pleasurable. You will do foolish and pleasure-seeking things like text her too much, try to impress her too much, and otherwise act “clingy”. You will sacrifice the long term interest of your relationship for short-term gains.
- You will experience on an emotional roller coaster because your entire being is devoted to pursuing what is pleasurable, and avoiding what is painful. These drives are like strings that will pull you around like a marionette. When you have pleasure, you are happy, when you lack pleasure, you are sad. This does not lead to a balanced emotional state.
When your internal compass is controlled by pleasure and pain, you have a hedonistic orientation towards life. Your compass doesn’t guide you towards any sort of desirable destination, it leads you down dead end paths and around in circles.
Solving the problem is a long process. You need to let go of your attachment to pleasure and pain, and start training that “compass” inside you to point towards a distant goal, a “true north” that leads to an outcome that is good for you and the people around you.
But just like with a diet, it’s not just enough to *know* what you ought to do – you need to train yourself so that you are able to do it.
But when you train yourself so that your inner compass truly aims towards that “true north”, you will find your emotions begin to even out, you are motivated to move in the right direction and neediness becomes a thing of the past…
Does this describe you or someone you know? Share this article with them or share your experience in the comments.
And as always, I am available for coaching if you want to work on these issues.