God gave us the power of creation. This power is perhaps his most powerful gift to us. It is something beyond what he gave the animals. While animals can procreate and even build to meet their needs for shelter; we create to inspire, to emote, and to satisfy.
Sex is the desire to create in its most simplistic form. But it is also the basis for all other creations. From this foundation, higher forms of creativity arise. Expression of sexual desire in the way of intercourse or masturbation will deplete this desire, in the latter case - replacing it with a false sense of satisfaction.
Interestingly, your brain enjoys anticipation more than satisfaction. Dopamine is our brain's happy drug. Many people think that dopamine is released when we receive a reward, but it is actually released when we are anticipating the reward. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes sense. Because it is in anticipation, we pursue the prey, and we chase the lover, we create the building; that we do the work. It is in the satisfaction that we rest and reflect.
In rest and reflection, we find the seeds of the next great adventure. But seeds must be watered and dreams pursued. In other words, the work must be done. The larger the dream, the longer the period of sustained effort and the greater the satisfaction. Small dream, shorter anticipation, and less satisfaction.
What hinders our goal achievement today is easy of access to incremental satisfaction. We numb our senses with tiny drops of anticipation (almost immediately) followed by a reward. These shortened cycles impede our ability to think long-term.
Our world is getting better at shortening these cycles. Fast food, same-day delivery, and porn are key examples. The goal of modern society is to increase the quantity and frequency of consumption. That is why cheap junk food tastes amazing but only satisfies for a few hours. Porn requires no chase, no anticipation, and leaves little lasting satisfaction. Likewise, instant purchasing power married to same-day delivery leaves us only wanting more. In fact, new research has found a statistically significant link between short-term household debt and increases in cases of depression.
Ironically, the less we have to wait, the less anticipation is allowed to build, and the less pleasure we get from experience. Too much time in the reward phase makes us fat, lazy, and sad. If we are to be happier, we have to change the way we think about the reward. To do that, we have to re-think goals.
If you find yourself depressed, it is most likely not because of what you don’t have. It is a direct result of the quality of things in which you are striving to get. Shorter-term goals will provide less anticipation and thus less happiness. Instead of looking to get laid, strive to have a happy marriage. Instead of looking to get paid, strive to make a difference in the world around you.
If long-term vision casing is something you struggle with, here are three steps to get you started on casting a longer, more satisfying vision for your life.
1) We need to quiet your mind. For the next 14 days, do not consume any media. The only media that would be acceptable are those programs that lift your spirits. So no news (these guys are professionals at making you upset about something). No para-news (like commentators on Youtube). No music that is not positive in nature. If you must listen to something, consider listening to K-Love. You can still watch your favorite TV shows... but monitor your emotions carefully. If the programs make you angry, jealous, envious, horny, or frustrated - skip it. Limit social media to as near zero as your profession will allow.
2) Pray. The media blackout is designed to challenge you and open your mind. We want God to have an opportunity to speak to you. Set your alarm such that you have 10 minutes to pray each morning. Do your prayer first thing! Don't look at your phone. Don't turn on the TV. Just roll out of bed and kneel next to the bed. Ask that God speak to you. That he would teach you to dream again. That he would guide you through the next few days and that he would expose any beliefs that you may hold; beliefs that would prevent you from becoming a King and Co-Creator with Christ.
3) Allow your creativity to ascend from its base desire into its higher forms. In other words, abstain from any sexual satisfaction (not explicitly meant for procreation) for the next 14 days. It will take time, for this divine creative energy to transmute itself from its base form into higher-order creative energy (but it will!). This higher-order energy means no sex or masturbation (Men, I am looking at you). Pornhub will not miss your presence for 14 days.
4) Over the next 14 days - journal each night. Start by listing 4-5 things you provide you with gratefulness. Then meditate on what you want out of life and write that down. The first 5 or 6 days will not be very fruitful. You are still in detox mode, and your creative energy has not had a chance to transmute itself from its base form. But on day 7-8… things will begin to pop. You will start to think more clearly! As your ideas begin to flow, stretch yourself. What do you want your life to look like next year? How about in five years? How about in 10 years? Be as descriptive as possible! Visualize your ideal end state. What does it look like? What colors do you see? What emotions are you feeling? Who is there? How do they feel?
In 14 days, your life will have changed dramatically. But, if you are like me and you need something a bit more structured, and you are willing to be a bit more intentional while spending a little more time each day. Consider, heading over to ChangeYourLifeInEightDays.com. We have a free program there that will change your life and help you develop a vision for your life that is worth a lifetime of pursuit.