Recently, at the Museum of the Bible, we hosted a live town hall on Youth and Morality. What is missing from the continuous discussion surrounding youth and violence, suicide, disrespect of parenting, drug addiction, etc., is a needed discussion about youth and moral striving. We were joined by a thought-provoking panel that included Charlie Kirk, Shelby Emmett, Candace Owens and Shermichael Singleton. The general consensus after the debate was that our young adults felt the discussion was long overdue. They are more prepared than ever to discuss the importance of moral striving and continuous character building in America’s youth.
I often wonder: What does it mean to live a life of purpose and meaning? As I reflect on the experiences that I have had in life, a few recurring themes seem to emerge. For me, living on purpose has meant creating a wealthy life. By wealthy, I am referring to all aspects of wealth, be it material wealth, enjoying and emoting good physical and mental health and striving to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
With the many options and paths one could possibly take, how does one stay on the path toward one’s purpose? The way forward for me has involved constant introspection, observation and work. I’m not here referring to working on my career or business, although that is certainly a part of it. I’m talking about the meta-work that one does even before one shows up to the office on a daily basis. That work is the self-sacrifice, working toward strengthening character and avoiding the pitfalls of temptation and lust. It is the work of self-abnegation and prudence, the daily sacrifices made in service of a higher ideal.
This work is the work that ultimately grants us the freedom and true fulfillment that we are seeking. Those things that seem attractive to us in the short term—sleeping in just another hour, giving in to the temptation to overconsume food or to have gratuitous sex for immediate gratification—do not provide long-term happiness.
No, true joy does not arise from the vulgar applause of adoring crowds or from the creature comforts of mediocrity. True joy arises from the fruits of years of labor that has been diligently and consistently applied. The deep joy of working toward a goal and seeing it come to fruition over time is what life can be all about.
This process of spiritual striving and consistent action toward goals, while avoiding immediate, pleasure seeking behaviors, is the most advanced form of spiritual technology that I have found. It is far more powerful than the magic of compound interest as a builder of wealth because it aligns with the creative forces of the universe.
The most effective way to achieve long-term success in any endeavor, whether it be health, business or life in general is to align one’s personal goals with the interests of the whole. Sex is a great case in point. Sex can be both pleasurable to the individual, and, if properly aligned with the purpose of procreation, can also serve the whole.