Imagine you’re in your late 50s sitting on a bar stool in Thailand surrounded by ladyboys. You’ve thrown away your marriage, family, and a decent paying job back in the States. Your face looks like an old catcher’s mitt and you’ve basically given up on life. All because you couldn’t figure out a way to subordinate your impulses to values.
By now you’re wondering if the guy I just described is made up. Nope, I don’t write fiction. There’s actually a multitude of Westerners in the “Land of Smiles” who’ve lost everything. A man I met on a bar stool in Phuket told me his downward spiral started with a preoccupation with erotic corners of the Internet. Next thing you know, he’s halfway across the world living in a hedonistic wasteland of self-loathing and emptiness.
The topic of sexual desire is controversial and taboo in America; yet, there is much to be gleaned from our carnal need for sexual gratification. Our world is filled with desires: the desire for knowledge, health, wealth, a suitable mate, etc. It’s no secret the desire for sex is the strongest drive of them all; it is natural and inborn, guaranteeing the continuation of our species.
The sexual energy that fuels us is often wasted or taken for granted. Only a man who experiences near depletion of testosterone when faced with illness or disease realizes the inextricable link between a strong sex drive and an appetite for life. Thus, Counting Crows sang it best, “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”
I write about sex because often it feels like the most important thing in the world. – Jeanette Winterston
The Mystery of Motivation
In a previous post about my journey into real estate, I write, “In my early twenties, I was full of energy and ambition, solely focused on building for the future.” Though energy can be acquired from various sources, including diet, exercise and sexual urges, the seeds of internal motivation remain mysterious. Sometimes I wonder if we’re servants of this mystery, or perhaps agents of God whose sole purpose is to bring into the world that which doesn’t yet exist.
We’re clueless about the true source of motivation and what sustains it. Why does one man hear Lou Holtz speak and want to run through a wall, while another mocks his lisp? Heck if I know! I stopped trying to figure that stuff out a long time ago.
Think and Grow Rich
I first read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill in my early twenties. There’s a chapter in the book which was a new concept for me called, “The Mystery of Sexual Transmutation.”
The chapter resonated because it read like an instruction manual for controlling the libido. It led me to believe the manifestation of my dreams could lie in my inherent nature. By allowing the sex drive to start the “gears,” I would simply need to transmute, or channel, sexual energy toward productive ends.
Hill believed the libido wasn’t something to be suppressed; rather, it should be given a beneficial outlet. He thought the sex drive, when combined with persistence, grants opportunity for us to “turn mediocrity into genius.” Accepting his premise engenders persistence since the source of its derivation (desire for sex) is readily replenished. Beyond that, one can infer man needs only to employ his genius to “grow rich.”
It was around this time in America, we had just witnessed a president, motivated by sex, willing to risk the presidency over “sexual relations with that woman” (then 22-year old White House intern Monica Lewisky). If I had any doubts about sex being man’s strongest drive, they were quelled by “Bubba” in 1998.
After reading Think and Grow Rich, I remember wondering if there was a correlation between high achievers and their notoriously high sex drives i.e. Clinton, JFK, Hefner, etc. I didn’t reach any conclusion, so I leave that a mystery too.
“When harnessed and redirected along other lines, this motivating force (sex) maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc. which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.” – Napoleon Hill
I’ve gotten to know myself well through years of introspection. For example, I’m easily amused and inspired—two aspects of me for which I’m infinitely grateful. When someone says, “You’re easily amused,” I take it as a compliment even though it’s intended as a pejorative. Some other things I’ve come to realize over time:
- A high sex drive is a blessing that can be used for maximum utility
- A single man’s quest for sex (often fueled by alcohol) will invariably be a hindrance to the next day’s productivity
- The quickest way to sap energy & focus is through, ahem, self-indulgence
“Nothing is so conducive to greatness of mind as the ability to subject each element of our experience in life to methodical and truthful examination.” – Marcus Aurelius
Maintaining Energy & Focus
Memory works better when tied to an emotion. Since the thought of sex stimulates the mind, a high emotional intensity can accelerate the learning process. Frequent bursts of dopamine aka “the pleasure compound,” however, are enemies of the motivated mind. If harnessed properly, the elevated state of brain function can help you feel more:
- energized and inspired
- exuberant and expressive
- driven to take action
The typical masculine orgasm is nothing more than the build-up of tension or constraint until the dam breaks, allowing a man to experience a temporary freedom or blissful oblivion. A post-ecstasy state is hardly one in which you’re amp’d to chase your dreams and conquer the world. For this reason, boxers are often discouraged from engaging in “self-love” before a fight.
As men, we know resisting sexual release isn’t easy. There are entire online communities devoted to the “NoFap” movement, where men challenge themselves through peer accountability not to view online pornography. Author Tim Ferris started a “NOBNOM” (no booze, no masturbation) group where he offered to pay men $1500 for 30 days of abstinence from “B” & “M.”
In 2017, it is estimated men under 35 have 25% less testosterone than men of the same age in the 1990s. It is yet undetermined whether lower “T” levels are attributed to an increase in “self-love”—an increase due primarily to limitless novelty found on the Internet. If there is a tie-in between low “T” and high “M,” then NOBNOM is a worthwhile pursuit on these grounds alone.
Evidence of positive outcomes from online challenges are anecdotal, not scientific, but men frequently report increases in testosterone and productivity abstaining from solo sex. I have a buddy who aptly calls this self-restraint, “staying sharp.”
Master Thyself with Help from Books and Friends
The best book prescription for a man is the one he’ll devour; Think and Grow Rich has been my “once daily” book as much as any other. It has helped me view the sex drive as an asset, and contains a slew of worldly wisdom. I read it with the intention of internalizing its message and allowing myself to be inspired. It was written in 1937, so it’s an oldie, but…potential life-changer. The title alone should make you curious.
Our aim should be to consistently win the battle between excitement and fulfillment through control of our own directing mind. The toughest battle for the ambitious mind is the one fought between who you are now and who you aspire to be.
“The truly free individual is only free to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who cannot govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” – Socrates
My best friend and Texas Rangers Coach Chase Lambin said it best in a text exchange we had earlier this week, “Winners win.” I doubt “leather face” would be where he is today if he’d surrounded himself with mental badasses determined to win battles of the mind, and encourage others to do the same.