Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. ~ Frank Herbert
Freedom to many is the right to do whatever you want. It’s the right and the ability to follow your latest whim, wish, and your present desire. When you seek this kind of freedom you’re ruled by the wish, whim, and desire. Your urges own you, you don’t own them. (Read This: The Death of Freedom)
Our desires change. They’re frivolous. They seem to have a mind of their own and often come from a weaker part of us that doesn’t take our greater goals and dreams into account.
Our desires pull us away from our potential, when it’s discipline that brings us nearer to it.
It’s popular in our society to seek a kind of freedom that brings us further away from discipline. It’s a freedom from responsibility and work and a freedom to live a life that serves no one but ourselves.
We see this kind of freedom applauded by social groups, self-help authors, and ideologies that see happiness not as something we work to create, but something we gain only apart from the society that we reside within. It’s a freedom filled with sandy beaches and weed, hippie headdresses and odd hours.
The freedom from discipline ends up bringing you a freedom from accomplishment. It brings you to a point of dependence of some kind, which cannot be true freedom. It’s a kind of freedom that ignores the sacrifices of men and women before you that have fought for your right to be an irresponsible dependent.
It’s the freedom of ignorance. It’s a socialist’s freedom. You will still rely on roads and running water, yet you will not do your part to pay for them.
It’s the ignorance of sacrifice, however, that opposes true freedom, which must take into account that life, no matter where you’re born or what you’re born in to, is a gift. It’s a gift that must be repaid, maybe within your community, your country, your society and world, or simply by doing the best you can with what you have and the time you have while you’re here.
This is where discipline becomes the sole ingredient necessary for true freedom.
Without discipline you cannot make the most of the time you’re given. You cannot rise early and work hard. You cannot differentiate between the good and bad desires that come into your thoughts daily.
Gratification is a click away. Never before in the history of mankind has gratification been so close at all times of the day. We can book a trip on credit, buy new “stuff” on amazon, heck, we can look at beautiful naked women with the click of a mouse without actually having to put the work in, build a relationship, get to know a lady, maybe even go out on a few dates.
Everything about our western world is instant.
It’s different in other parts of the world, and it was different, better, for thousands of years. When my Mom was a wee one growing up in Italy her family worked on a farm owned by a man who was not family. They farmed and ploughed to earn a wage and to earn the food that they’d put in their mouth.
My Nonno, her Dad, hunted for food and made the kids stomp the grapes for the horrible wine that they’d all “enjoy”. Nothing was instant. Gratification was something you had to save for, work for, and quite often suffer for.
My old man’s old man built his own house. He bought a plot of land, having saved while working 3 jobs, then rather than paying someone to build his house, he did it. Radical, I know. (Read This: The Strongest Human in The World)
Instant gratification is killing our culture. It’s destroying our work ethic and our ability to save, to put something off to the future, and to be persistent.
Each of us has our own battle with instant gratification. It’s one of the things I’m working on this year, a year where I pledged to stay within North America, rather than clicking a link on a web site and finding myself halfway across the world the next week.
When your desire to feel gratification instantly outweighs your discipline you’re a victim to whatever that part of your brain desires. A man cannot be a victim to something that he controls. Heck, he can’t be a victim, period!
This is incredibly important. As society goes closer to making pleasure and gratification instant rather than something we have to work toward, it’s important to have men lead the way back to a way of living that toughens the soul, and that bring the power over one’s life back within their grasp.
On a bigger level, when Bill Clinton felt it was everyone’s right to own a home, he set in motion policies that gave everyone that ability, Bush throwing gasoline on the fire only making things worse. People that could not afford a home borrowed money that they could not come close to paying back. And they did it on a scale that brought a nation to its knees.
Who’s to blame?
I’m not a fan of the policies started by Clinton and fanned by Bush, but it’s the individual’s fault. To say otherwise would be like saying it’s the person who left their door open’s fault for having their house robbed. The sheer scale of people who wanted the instant gratification of home-ownership without actually earning and saving enough to own one negatively affected every other human in the country – and many more all over the world.
On that same scale you have scumbags like Madolf who wanted millions, even billions, without doing the work to get them. You also have the people who invested in his fund when it was clearly a scam to any discerning investor. And why? Because they wanted the quick buck.
Extreme ownership over one’s life dictates that in every circumstance, every failure in your life, you have played a role. The man who owns his failures seeks out the role he plays rather than shifting the blame to another.
As our society on the whole moves toward a desire to have instant gratification, to earn a quick buck, to trick the system, to get what we have not earned, we not only fuck ourselves royally, weakening our resolve and ownership over our lives, but we royally screw the rest of society.
“To have power over your life is to have power over your desires, instant gratification cannot be a practice of a man who’s in control.”
The man who doesn’t depend on consumerism for happiness is free to live a life based on action, purpose, and value. His moods aren’t swayed by the need to own or acquire, but on what he was put here to do.
The desire for affirmation prevents the individual from creating true happiness. It brings control over their life out of their hands, placing it in the individual’s hands they want a pat on the back from.
Affirmation, or the desire for it, has been blown so far out of proportion in today’s society where our self-worth is determined by how many ‘likes’ we get on a picture. We’ve become a culture that does things in order to gain approval and not for the sake or the feeling that the trip, the effort, the action gives us internally.
For a life to be lived with any degree of true accomplishment and satisfaction, the life has to be lived for others but not their approval. A life of service is one of the best lives a man can lead. Life, however, much follow your own path, and when your intentions are swayed by how you think others will react you end up living a life not on the path you’re intended to live, that your soul begs you to embark upon, but on a journey in life following someone else’s wishes, desires, and dreams.
When you embark on a mission, a job, a career, even a relationship, spend time in silence, in nature, and lone thinking about why you’re taking this action.
Steven Pressfield wrote,
“To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.”
Ambition takes guts, but it also takes clarity. When your ambitions in life are dependent on what others want for you and from you, you cannot fight for what your soul begs of your to build, create, and earn.
One of the most powerful desires you must gain control over is the desire for ease. It’s a desire we all want. It’s one that I have to fight daily as I’d rather watch an episode of Last Man Standing on Netflix rather than clean up the mess that Teddy made in the backyard after a long day of work.
Ease kills potential. Ease makes adventure impossible. And there’s something about adventure, the desire for men to conquer – be it fear, pain, or terrain – that has only ever been in the hands of a select few willing to go further than any have gone before that screams life.
It’s both a lack of control and an acceptance of control. Riding a horse at the base of the Andes when it gets spooked and takes off, you may be able to control the animal eventually, but for a few seconds you’re a victim to the desires of the beast. It’s invigorating, but it’s far from easy.
To get there I had to work for years, building a business, saving, failing, climbing my way up to a point where I was earning something. I also had to train my body to be able to handle an animal that I wasn’t trained to handle.
I’ve taken it easy far too often in my life, and it has brought me nothing but sorrow and the feeling of helplessness.
Avoidance, avoiding the chores around the house or the necessary actions in business, brings poverty and dependence. While accomplishment, even with simple things like doing the dishes, brings a sense of pride that cannot be matched.
In all ways, all things, all aspects of life, the desire for ease will bring you closer to the life you wouldn’t want to lead, a life where you’re trapped, bound to mediocrity, prevented from experiencing the thrills of adventure and that sweet agony of defeat that comes after thousands of hours of hard work.
Grand failure far out-trumps the mediocrity and safety of never venturing beyond your zones of comfort.
Ease brings tragedy. It brings you to a place where you can be no greater than average, a life where you will never experience the highs and lows that consists in what we call “living”.
In every aspect of your life, seek action, seek hardship, seek work and life in its truest sense will be yours. (Read This: The Value in Being Uncomfortable)
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE FREE WHEN IT’S SO MUCH HARDER?
Now, the big question…
Why would one want freedom when mediocrity and conformity is so much easier?
We’re all put here with the opportunity to experience life. Life isn’t an assembly line where each individual goes through the same situations in life in the same manner and without much effort.
Life, whether you want to accept it or not, is hard. It’s tough. It’s not easy and it’s not made for those who seek ease, instant gratification, or are constantly after the affirmation of others they have no business following.
Life in its truest sense, the act of living, of feeling as though you’re a part of a connected existence with your Maker, requires that you see life as a gift that’s wasted when you don’t make the most of everything you’ve been given every single fucking day.
When you live as though life is a series of motions you go through where safety is the number one goal you’re relegated to a purgatory that most slide into around the time of adulthood.
If you want more, if you want to experience this thing called life you have to accept that discipline over your desires is the route to true freedom, and the true human experience that eludes the vast majority of us wandering aimlessly on this wonderfully dangerous planet.
Read This: 5 Ways That Men Are Becoming Little Bitches
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’s a former 9-5er turned entrepreneur, a former scrawny amateur boxer turned muscular published fitness author. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at –