8 ways to prioritize living with Purpose over pleasure
There’s an association between pain and pleasure. At a certain age in life - it makes sense to prioritize purpose over pleasure.
Dopamine (craving molecule) was created to help us seek things that are beneficial for us in the long term and give us pleasure in the short term.
When people get addicted to any pleasure – even the usual day-day activities or responsibilities now feel like more pain. The brain moves to quench this pain with as much pleasure as it can find.
It’s easy to default to the nearest source of pleasure when things get rough or difficult. Think of a kid binging on a video games so he can pretend to forget his difficult homework.
Then the extremes like seeking random low-commitment but sexually rewarding relationships to hold on to when having hard times with long-term relationships.
Pleasure has its its place
We can't underplay the importance of pleasure in crucial life events such as sex and reproduction, food and satiation and the reward pathway of general life events. But how much pleasure is enough?
What’s role does pleasure play in our lives as compared to our purpose? And how much does too much of it drift you away from your purpose.
8 ways to prioritize your purpose over pleasure
1. Make your purpose your primary drive
You fall into trouble whenever there’s a confusion between which is driving you – purpose or pleasure.
The latter is a bad master but good slave. Even if you haven’t yet “found your purpose” – make sure your actions align with your highest priorities.
There's a quote "Men without purpose seek fulfillment by chasing pleasure."
With a life towards you purpose, can make a plan. What are your goals? What steps do you need to take to achieve them?
When you have a plan, it’s easier to stay focused on your goals and resist the temptation to veer off course.
It is not enough to simply have a plan – you must also take action and put your plan into motion.
2. Do hard things
Successful people do the things that failures don’t want to do. They focus on the long term over instant pleasure.
One of the biggest distractions we face in life is avoiding pain. We know pushing through and engaging in challenges plus going the extra mile is hard.
Think of feeling stuck, and allowing the dreaded procrastination take over.
We look for the closest distraction in form of pleasure to hide from pain. The secret is choosing to do the hard things when necessary makes life in the future easier.
3. Work when you work
One of the most powerful principle I learned in productivity is to work when you work and play when you play.
This is the price worth paying to steer towards your purpose.
Doing both at the same time is a sacrifice of achieving excellence that's not worth it.
4. Create a Healthy Balance of Pleasure and Pain by Setting Limits
Your life’s purpose absolutely includes joy and pleasure … a life without any form of pleasure is not just dull but is devoid of hope. Think of an intimate relationship without physical contact or sex.
Without setting limits, we hit our dopamine peak and cause it to reset to a higher point. So with time, you need higher stimulation to meet the same need or reward.
The healthy balance is knowing when "its enough" in whatever you’re trying to build as against chasing empty wind.
Only then can you give yourself permission to do things just for the fun of it.
5. Create Accountability and Find a Role model
Having accountability is a sure way to get closer to your purpose.
And they can tell you when you’re drifting away from your goals e.g. a Coach, Family or close Friends.
Also, who are you looking up to? If you’re struggling to prioritize living with purpose, it can be helpful to find a role model.
One who is living the life you want to live can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. So its easier to see what’s possible for you
6. Live in the present moment:
It's easy to get caught up in the past or the future, but the only moment you have is now. Learn to appreciate the present moment and live in it as much as possible.
Intentionally bring focus to everything you do with an accepting nature.
Find joy in the simple pleasures.
7. No one is coming to save you
The last time I felt like shit as a result of indulgences – i remembered there was no one that felt the shame, disgust and hurt but myself alone.
The media and everybody promote pleasure as both a sales and entertainment technique, but the effects of being overstimulated are faced alone.
The pain of drowning in pleasure while starving for purpose is the ultimate enemy.
8. Think Long term
Chasing random pleasure is short-term.
The ability to choose long term goals over the short term pleasure is a life hack.