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How to Balance Pleasure and Purpose

The Value of Delaying Gratification

We get deep satisfaction when we are living a meaningful life, aka living our purpose, but many people just focus on life's simple pleasures instead. We calculate that if we do a lot of things that feel good and avoid things that don't, it will add up to a happy life. But that's not what happens. This is not to say there is no room for simple, basic pleasures. Whatever you enjoy (like getting massages) can be a wonderful thing as part of a life well-lived but pleasure becomes a problem when it interferes with your purpose.

Skill set of what you love + what serves the world = Purpose

Is it bad to go to a party or watch a show for mindless entertainment? Not at all. The problem comes when you go to the part even though you are already exhausted and you have a bit presentation the next day and you have been wanting to advance at work. Or you stay at home to watch a show instead of going to a networking event in the field you want to break into. That's when pleasure seeking works against us keeping us without living in alignment with out true priorities and values.

We tend to choose pleasure over purpose because it is easier or more fun. Just compare the party to the presentation. It takes real effort to delay gratification. It is something most of us struggle with but keep in mind in many ways the effort we put in actually magnifies the pleasure we experience. Think of how good it feels to kick up your feet after some vigorous exercise or to take time off after work well done.

We don't have to EARN all pleasure but when it is part of a balanced life pleasure is more pleasurable. So the next time you want to do something sheerly for enjoyment, check in with yourself and ask. "Will this pleasure take me away from my purpose?" If not, go for it! But if so, you might want to delay the gratification.

Bring to mind one of your favorite simple pleasures. Ask yourself, "Do I ever indulge in this pleasure at the expense of my purpose?" Can you think more critically about when and how you will engage with that pleasure going forward?

Taken from "The Daily Jay" on the Calm app.

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