My name is Paul Daehee Park Chung. I was born to two Korean Christian missionary parents on the 31st of July, 1998, in Mexico City, D.F., Mexico.
It has been nineteen and a half years since I was born and I am beginning to learn some of the most valuable lessons of my life. The one I want to talk about is doing what you want versus what you feel like doing at the moment.
Don’t do what you feel like doing at that moment. In other words, don’t follow your present cravings. Instead, work on what you want out of life – the big-picture goals you have written down in a journal.
I am currently undertaking the NoFap challenge. Yeah, I masturbate. Or at least, it’s on my record. There are several reasons I’m choosing to stop jerking off.
One is that I’m trying to get taller. What? How does not wanking make you taller? Well, studies have shown that men who masturbate then stop experience massive increases in testosterone. I don’t think I need to explain how testosterone helps with growing.
Number two is that I simply don’t want masturbation to be part of my life. I don’t want to think of myself as a successful man who gets home at the end of a productive day of business and then jerks off at his computer. Hell, I never want to explain to my future girlfriend that I still masturbate. God forbid I’m married and still watch porn.
Thirdly, and most importantly, is the negative effect on my LIVING. For those of you that speak my language, I don’t want to be causing spikes of dopamine and other hormonal changes in my mind that demotivate me from chasing goals and damage my relationships. For the Christians, I don’t want to move away from God and throw away the sacrifice Jesus has given me by diving into meaningless sin.
In other words, masturbation, like many things, is meaningless. It gives pleasure without effort. It damages our relationship with Life. It keeps us from experience – from that bored feeling that makes us want to chase something real and fulfilling/entertaining.
By holding back from what I feel like doing, I can put more desperate energy behind what I want in the long term, my goals and desires that persist. Sure, you could argue that my long-term goals are really just ‘in the moment’ feelings I decided were important. I’d like to argue that they’re ‘in the moment’ feelings that I fell in love with.
The feeling of passing a volleyball and then slamming it into the ground. Of soaring above the net and above others from the strength of just my legs. The feeling of someone in my arms like two fitting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The feeling of dancing to music I’ve created. The feeling of being talented. The feeling of expressing something great and beautiful through my voice, my writing, my drawing, my design – through me. The feeling of experiencing beauty.
These are all ‘in the moment’ feelings that I fell in love with. But if I want these things in my life, I need to give up your time to keep them here.
Take the example of the phone game, Choices. It is an app where you read stories and can make choices for the characters. You get the first chapter of any book free, to try it out, but after that, you need a key for each chapter.
It’s the same with these meaningful experiences. You get a taste and then you have to give up something valuable to keep going. (Arguably, your sacrifice is what makes these experiences meaningful)
Things like masturbating, junk food, couch potatoe-ing, they’re free. They’re forms of instant gratification. You don’t need to train to binge-watch a TV series, you just do it. Unlike playing an instrument where you have to learn first before you can tolerate your own playing, eating a cheesecake doesn’t require any training.
It’s like building a house out of logs and leaves. All you have to do is stick up some wood in the right place, tie it up, and cover it up with leaves. Now you can relax, munch on some chips, and make fun of that smartass who’s trying to make a proper home out in the woods. Sure, you’ve got shelter but it’ll probably collapse and you’ll have to build it up again every week or so. If it rains, the dirt under the shelter will turn to mud and slide out from under you. On the other hand, imagine building a cabin with stone foundations. It’ll take a few weeks or months to make; shaping the wood and laying the stone, raising a platform off the ground, waterproofing the ceiling, adding a fireplace, will all take effort. You’re never going to feel like doing any of the work because you’ll be hungry and tired. You might get hurt lugging all that wood and stone around. Maybe you just wanna get out of the blasted rain and deal with your problems ‘tomorrow’. But you have a picture in your mind of what you want long term and so you ignore how you feel right then. In the end, you’ll have something that will last years with minimal maintenance. Oh, and it’ll keep you way happier and warmer than that shitty A-frame made of sticks.
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Gandhi.
So that’s why I’m going to stop masturbating. That’s why I’ll ignore all those little ‘feelings’ that my neurotic little mind always brings up when I endeavour to create something worthwhile.
Whenever my brain says, “I want to watch porn,” “I should probably eat something first,” “I need more sleep,” “My butt itches,” I’ll ignore it. Instead, I will say to myself: “I don’t care how you’re feeling, Present Paul, because Paul Park wants to be joyful, successful, and have integrity.” I will name the goal I have my eyes set on and focus. Even if I have several goals -like becoming a singer, better at volleyball, a writer, a producer, a designer – I will prioritise and only see one goal.
What about you – are you going to keep letting that “but I don’t feel like it” thought control your life?
I hope not.
Don’t give the world the dice of your fate. Take up the choice of denying your feelings and become the Daedalus of your own destiny.
-Paul (alias Daedalus)