Thoughts on Excess and Self-Control

Have you ever heard the phrase “Everything in moderation, including moderation”?

I feel like when I first heard that phrase, my reaction was more focused on the first word.


I wanted to do everything, to try everything, at least a little bit.This isn’t to say I started walking down shady alleys in search of hardcore drugs with a wallet full of cash, but the idea that the world was somehow open-ended to me drew me in, until I started to break down my cultural ideaology.

For some reason, we’ve grown accustomed to the idea that, because we have more we should use more/do more. The concept of Maslow’s Pyramid of needs seems to come to mind, despite its apparent flaws. The more time we have and the more safe we feel and the more money we earn, the more we tend to get bored and want more to do.

That’s sort of a twisted concept isn’t it? It’s almost as if having more leads to wanting more. The mere concept of self-control has become decadent, a lost notion from a forgotten time.

All politics aside, during the NYC demonstrations that were flooding the streets talking about the 99% and how we are all a part of it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the world thought of us. Now don’t misunderstand me – the cause itself, the idea that we need to help those who need it, that I can get behind. The idea that there is unfairness and cruelty and greed, these are all things that need to be brought to light and to justice. But my point isn’t that injustice needs to be addressed, but the fact that we have the literal physical time to protest it means we are, in many ways, better off than the rest of the world. I don’t have the statistics in front of me but I would venture to bet, in the scope of the whole world’s financial wealth, all of America is likely in the top 1%.

This isn’t a degradation of a social cause, but an observation on a state of mind. 

To me, the fact is if we all had the ‘means’ to buy a new car or a new house or even a cheeseburger at McDonalds every day, we probably would. In fact, if we had the means and didn’t use them, we might even be looked down upon by our peers.

Self-Control isn’t fashionable.

I feel, and maybe I’m alone in this, but I feel like this cultural norm needs to be rewritten. Why should we be ruled by our own desire instead of ruling over it? Why is it more acceptable to succumb to peer pressure or to desire than it is to hold true to oneself? I feel as though we need to rethink our stance in the social sphere and begin to respect and find respect for those people who do express a firm grip on self-control and quit rewarding the opposite.

I desire to be someone who does what he wants to do not because he cannot control himself, but because he has an unwavering ability TO control himself. I want to be someone who can stand as firm alone as I can in the company of many. I want to be that guy.

What do you think?  


One thought on “Thoughts on Excess and Self-Control

  1. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel will save it.” Sounds like you understand this, man.

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