Life today is all about hedonism. Hedonism creates weakness.
We’re so spoilt in our safe, convenient Amazon Prime lifestyles that we actively expect things to be easy and wonder why we get depressed when everything is on tap 24/7.
We wonder why we get anxious when the whole world has become one big Instagram-filtered status trap.
And we wonder why we feel a sense of despair and succumb to addictions and compulsions when the framework of life we live in is centred around meaningless ego satiation rather than an emotionally compelling transcendental purpose that is written into life itself.
The truth is that anything worthwhile is worked for.
The counter is also true in that you could be gifted the world, but if it’s all been given on a plate, it will cause you pain, not fill you with peace.
I know a therapist who gets lots of work in Oman. Weird place to travel to help addicts, right? But he goes there because it’s an oil-rich country with money growing on trees.
And what has this oil money led to? Scores of young men growing up without challenge and a unique purpose to fulfil.
So what do they do? They buy fast cars and cocaine.
Yet because they’ve never earned any of that wealth through sweat and built the character and discipline to handle it, they all get hooked on drugs and prostitutes.
‘What does this have to do with me? I’m not a rich Omani kid…’ you may say.
Well, I use this example because this process is going on inside each one of our hearts and minds every damn day.
That you are even reading this is evidence some form of addiction or weakness got to you.
We like to be all sweet and cuddly today and pretend all addiction is a disease. But that’s bullshit.
I’m not saying that people can drink sensibly if they just try harder, I know there are some poor sots who had a sip of beer at 18 and couldn’t stop until death or decades later, but the recent rise in addictions across the West tells us something deeper is going on here.
You can hide behind the addiction label if you like, but the reality is we’ve lost the frameworks, structures and discipline that keep a man focused, stable and driving forward.
THAT is what we need NOW in lives to lead meaningful existences that embrace difficulty and challenge when it arises.
Do you see how profound that is?
We actually live in a world with a natural law.
That law DEMANDS balance and if we spend our time on hedonistic pursuits, we will build up a debt that has to be paid back in full.
Every piss-up is paid for by a hangover, every porn binge is paid for with inner shame and social anxiety.
This is the unavoidable reality of life and why you need to stop seeing addictions as a curse, but see them instead as a blessing.
Life has laid down the gauntlet. It has shown us the nature of how to live. It needs us to get focus, discipline, vision and commitment.
Those qualities are what built the safe and convenient lifestyles we live in today. It is those qualities too that will maintain them.
Discipline yourself or let life discipline you.
Richard is the writer for Recovering Man which provides men’s coaching services and is a media channel offering men insight, guidance and assistance in growing through pain and difficulty into a man of purpose, peace and power.
You can also find Richard on Twitter.