Recently, since I've had much more free time (or rather, time to spend in whatever way I like), I've been experimenting with allowing my time to be dictated purely by what I WANT in each moment.
If I wanted to work, I worked. If I wanted to watch TV, I allowed myself to. (etc)
As you may imagine, I had a terribly unproductive few weeks, and it scared me, because I wondered: if this is how I spend my time when I do what I want, how can I ever be happy in a sustainable way? (short of winning the lottery and spending my life on the couch)
And through this experiment, I've discovered an important distinction that I had never considered making, which has changed my life.
In considering the things we want, I discovered that there's a great divorce between our cravings (the things that we desire in this moment) and our dreams (the things that we want for ourselves overall).
Some quick examples:
- Unhealthy Food / Overeating
- Spending money
- Starting a company
- Writing a book
- Staying healthy and in shape
- Constant self-advancement
I think I read somewhere that cravings can be considered the wants of the body, whereas dreams can be considered the wants of the soul.
(consider the craving of adultery vs. the dream of finding a soulmate)
A few things I've learned:
- Fulfilling cravings is TEMPORARILY SATISFYING, and inevitably is followed by a period of dissatisfaction - like the crash after a caffeine high
- Fulfilling dreams is more difficult to BEGIN, but then easier to CONTINUE - and feels REWARDING and SATISFYING afterwards
- I LOVE cravings that fulfill dreams (I've recently gotten addicted to pull-ups, for instance)
In every moment, we have a choice to make between our short term cravings and long term dreams, and so often, I feel like when we surrender a short-term craving, it feels difficult.
The biggest thing I've realized is that when we turn AWAY from the cravings that are not dreams, it FEELS like we're keeping ourselves from what we really want, but we're NOT!
WE'RE DOING EXACTLY WHAT WE, OUR SOULS, WANT! THIS IS FREEDOM, PEOPLE!
So don't think of it as denying yourself, think of it as granting yourself your own greatest wish :)