16.2 Balancing Physical Pleasures

Is there a way to use pleasure “wisely”? Is pleasure actually a tool in your professional or personal toolbox, and secret to doing more or doing better?

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that when pleasure is used wisely, it is a steppingstone to higher forms of pleasure. Of course, that can be interpreted in so many ways. But what can be universally drawn from that one line alone? Let’s consider some of the following:

1) Measure your indulgence – know the line between a treat, and poor self-discipline.
2) Earn your pleasures – don’t jump the gun. For example, you’re feeling really great about the proposal submitted to a potential client but nothing is confirmed yet. Is this the time to treat yourself to an expensive night on the town, or a gift to yourself? Or to wait until the client accepts?
3) Go step by step — start small, so you can enjoy every step of greater pleasure. If you skip a stone you’re too focused on winning the race, and not enjoying the journey, which is often full of valuable lessons.
4) Let pleasure fuel you—little and big treats are great, especially when they fuel you to do more, do better, and get to the next level of your journey. Use physical pleasure to be energized to take your professional and personal life to the next level. Think spa day, an adventurous trip, a new work outfit, or a day off work in the middle of the week!
5) Remember another time – there was a time you didn’t have what you have now. Lean on those memories to cherish your pleasures completely, and not take anything for granted.

Basically pleasure in Jewish thought and wisdom is far from a bad thing! But to really gain from it, see it as a tool… not a hedonistic reaction or an after thought. Use pleasure to help you build a better, more elevated life, career, and personal purpose.

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