What Are You Pursuing?

Appetites are bottomless holes that can never be satisfied. Even the biggest, best meal you’ve ever eaten left you hungry again the next day.

We can never have enough money, sex, or promotions to satisfy us for good.  The appetite just comes back stronger, and you’ll need even more the next time. Carey Nieuwhof’s book, Didn’t See It Coming, explains that when we first get a little extra money we want more things, then we want better things, and eventually we’ll only want rare things. We can play this “more, better, rare” game with any hobby, object, pleasure, or vacation.

Men have ruined their lives in the relentless pursuit of more money, better houses, and exotic vacations, but this pursuit leaves us empty, unsatisfied, and alone. Ultimately, only the investments we make into the lives of others will bring joy to our hearts.

Imagine if you took your retirement account and used it to build a homeless shelter in your town or a medical clinic in Burkina Faso. If we took less tropical vacations but helped more orphans, would our lives be more or less fulfilling?

Don’t be just another guy chasing pleasures – be a man who changes lives.

Unplug From Comfort

Are you hooked on comfort? Do you experience withdraws if you don’t have a hot shower, a soft bed, and a 70 degree house? 

I think a lot of men would hate to admit it, but they’re hooked on easy living. Let’s admit it, we’re all living the good life. We get irritable if we’re even a little bit hungry, or if we don’t get to watch our favorite sport on a huge screen. Don’t get me wrong, I love every single thing that I’ve listed above:  food, hot water, soft bed, etc. But I’m not in denial about it, and I’m admitting that there’s a problem. That’s the first step, right?

So why does this matter? This matters because if you can’t live without something then it owns you. If you’re addicted to your creature comforts then you’ve allowed them to be your master. 

Maybe the reason we love to go hiking and camping is because in rejecting modern technologies and comforts – even if only for a weekend – we regain a little bit of our freedom. We tell our stuff that it doesn’t own us. And man, does the air smell sweeter when you’re free! 

The Tradeoff

One of the best tradeoffs we can make is the one between doing something easy indoors or doing something that requires a little effort outdoors. There’s nothing inherently wrong about the easy, indoor life, but it is a guaranteed way to a dull and boring life. 

It takes a little work to break the inertia of your couch and create your own fun, but that’s where life is found. The ramen you cook over a fire when you’re on a mountain top tastes better than anything from a restaurant, and the waterfall you discover while hiking feels more refreshing than any spa.  

Some men chose the easy, comfortable life and then wonder why they are depressed. Others just get slowly lulled into the tedious existence of work, TV, sleep, and repeat only to wake up one day and realize they failed to ever truly live.

The day will come soon enough when we’re all physically unable to hike, camp, kayak and explore. So trade in what’s easy for a weekend adventure that the kids will still be talking about when you’re old and gray. Make the tradeoff while you still can.