I remember my first few years of adulthood anxiety came from 3 urgent questions:
- What’s my calling in life?
- What do I need to work on now?
- How do I get a wife?
In a way, these are just variations on the questions a man asks all throughout his life. The main difference being that question #3 often becomes “how do I revive my wife’s passion?”
Being an early twenty-something was not a fun time in my experience. My angst was at an all-time high, I was horny all the time, and I had a perpetually guilty conscience (mostly due to my porn habit and “lusting” after women.)
So if anyone reading this is in that position in life, I’d like to offer a simple solution that has potential to resolve all three questions. It can be summed up as this:
Money Before Women
Every young guy wants a girlfriend. I get that. I was there.
But you have to realize that getting a girl doesn’t solve your problems. It exacerbates them.
Yes, you have the “new love” phase and it’s fun. But after you get married, your unsolved problems will compound.
Now, I certainly picked a good wife. But the big mistake I made was that I didn’t establish my career first. Women simply don’t understand the amount of time and “failure” that it takes for a man to get himself established.
She’ll hold every unsuccessful plan against you. She’ll pressure you to stop taking risks. She’ll guilt-trip you into thinking you’re a bad husband or father.
And she’s not being malicious. It’s just that women value the immediate perception of security above almost anything else.
Most men give into this pressure and settle for a mediocre life that slowly neuters them. Then their wife will ditch them for a man with more “passion.”
I let myself slip into this passive role for a few years. Had I stayed on that course, it probably would have ended the marriage… or at least led to a completely dead bedroom.
I have a stronger frame today, so I can more effectively handle the pressure. But I’m still dealing with the consequences of marrying before I was ready.
As the Proverbs says:
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. (Prov. 24:27)
Dealing with Your Sex Drive
There’s a lot of pressure on young Christian men today to marry as early as possible.
Most Christian men believe that they are sinning every time they look at a woman with sexual desire. They think they need to rush into marriage because that will solve their “lust” problem.
The reason you look at women with sexual desire is because you are a man. And men are polygamous by nature.
This is very different than the sin of lust. I’ve written in more detail on this elsewhere. But the short answer is this:
Lust is synonymous with coveting. It means you’re obsessing over another man’s wife. Simple as that.
Ironically, expectations create reality. If you believe you are committing the sin of lust. You are more likely to actually lust for another man’s wife. You’ve already created the identity for yourself. Now your mind is just meeting the goal you set for it.
So, yeah. Do some studying on that and cleanse your mind from all that B.S.
In terms of masturbation, I recommend keeping it to a minimal but not trying to abstain.
Masculine energy can be transferred towards goals other than sex. Anything involving risk and intensity is enough to keep a man focused. But once in awhile, you may need to rub one out to calm down or something. Do you what you need to do and don’t waste your energy worrying about it.
And no. The Bible does not prohibit masturbation. Anyone that says otherwise is either delusional or illiterate.
Pornography is tricky. God never prohibited erotica, so we can’t categorically say it’s wrong. But the porn industry isn’t exactly your friend. You’ll get a lot of false beliefs about sex if your “education” comes from watching porn.
My best advice is to start by avoiding masturbating if you’re looking at or reading anything that arouses you. That will reveal your true intentions (i.e. art appreciation vs. settling for bad sex). Beyond that, you can let your conscience decide how much or little you want to expose yourself to such material or whether or not it’s okay for you to use the “self-release valve” during such times. There’s really no biblical standard on this.
OK. So that’s what do avoid. Now on to what to do.
How to Go About Building a Career
[Disclaimer: I’m still in the middle of my career journey, so take this with a grain of salt. This is just what I’ve learned so far.]
It’s critical to think about how you want to make your living. You don’t want money to be your master. You want it to be your slave.
For me, I value creative freedom. So my goal is to make a sufficient income (not get super-rich) with minimal time and effort. This means 3 things:
- The product or service can be produced and delivered by someone else
- I can charge recurring revenue for it (i.e. monthly subscription or invoice)
- I can sell it (or pre-sell it) online (i.e. the written or recorded word can do most of the heavy lifting in selling it)
There are many ways to make income that fits the above criteria. The challenge is you’ve got to persevere long enough to succeed.
If you want a simple heuristic, I’d say success is
- 50% luck
- 40% confidence
- 10% skill
You need all 3 elements. Assuming you’re not a sociopath, developing your skill is the best way to get confidence. When you complete a task, you become more competent, and competence gives you confidence.
People give you money for your confidence. They pay you because they are not confident enough to do the job themselves.
I just paid a mechanic $700 to fix my car. I have no idea how skilled he is. But he was confident he could fix my car. And other people were confident in him. Money is a transfer of confidence.
Luck is the other part of it. Most people don’t like to admit how random things are. We have survivorship bias. We look at someone successful and assume if we do what they did, we will be successful too.
But we ignore all the people who did the exact same thing and failed.
In reality, you have no idea how or when you will end up becoming successful.
The main difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that the successful persevere long enough to get lucky and confidently execute at the opportune moment.
While you can’t control when or how you get lucky. You can avoid getting unlucky and increase your chances of getting lucky. This is what it means to be antifragile.
Don’t make any big mistakes that will devour your time. What these mistakes are depend on your field. In my field (marketing & entrepreneurship) some of the big mistakes are:
- Not understanding your market’s world
- Trying to sell a solution in search of a problem
- Not screening out bad prospects
- Trying to get immediate sales rather than building an audience
- Letting your offers and business get complicated (it takes discipline to keep things simple)
Everyone has to market and sell to some extent. So studying those topics is a good place to start.
Beyond that, keep exposing yourself to opportunities to get lucky. Keep your implementation simple so you can “fail fast.”
And best of all?
The same skills and mindset needed to establish a career will help you with women. (In fact, for me it got me laid sooner than a career.)
So to bring it all full circle:
What’s my calling in life?
For now, establishing your career. Efficiency by the Wall Street Playboys is the best introduction to this I’ve found. Then learn how to sell (a.k.a. negotiate). Then, if you want to quit the job market, learn how to write copy.
What do I need to work on now?
Establishing your career.
How do I get a wife?
Establish your career.