Today, I discuss how to direct your desires toward virtue, so you always live a good life.

Table of Contents

  • Understanding Human Comfort and Vice
  • Three Techniques to Direct Desires Towards Virtue
    • 1. Acknowledge you have desires and always will
    • 2. Avoiding Societal Manipulation of Desires
    • 3. Think critically; what will safely fulfill your desires?
  • The Example of Sex
  • Life Fulfillment Comes From Self-Mastery And The Defeat of Hedonism
  • Actionables

Understanding Human Comfort and Vice

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

Humans are creatures of comfort and vice. By default, we chose the easiest path of least resistance, refusing to embrace what is challenging but meaningful.

Humans seek comfort because we tend to sin and like to reserve energy. Both realities work against us and our most virtuous selves.

For example, lounging around and eating junk food is easier than practicing self-control through diet and exercise. We all know that the latter will make us happier, stronger, and more helpful to others. But most people pursue the former because being lazy feels so good.

But when a man refuses to push back against his vices and redirect his desires, we have the madness we suffer through today: collectivism supported by the hedonistic desires of weak men.

However, what if there was a way to hack your mind, take even your most base passions, and direct them towards what elevates you?

Three Techniques to Direct Desires Towards Virtue

a man exercising | desires toward virtue

You control yourself. You can decide how your desires are fulfilled.

I want to be clear not all desires or wants are inhuman or evil. I would argue our desire for sex, sugary foods, entertainment, and other enjoyable things is not a sign of brokenness.

I will help you direct your cravings toward virtue through the following three techniques. These techniques are not easy, but they build upon what I’ve been writing about for years: self-mastery.

Here are the three mindset changes:

1. Acknowledge you have desires and always will

Firstly, you must acknowledge you will always have desires. You are human. You want to eat; you want to have sex; you want to be distracted.

These things come naturally and are part of your being. They serve a purpose. Sugary foods were rare in old times and brought massive energy to our ancestors. Thus, we crave it today. Sex creates life and feels good to do. Thus, we want to do it. We all need to relax and enjoy the finer things in life. Thus, we pursue distractions to help us unwind and recharge.

Don’t shame your desires. You shouldn’t feel shame for wanting to have sex. You should feel shame for having sex in ways that do not elevate you or others. You shouldn’t feel shame for wanting sweets but for overeating and ignoring healthy foods.

Your shame should come not from your passions but from your responses to them.

Once you understand this foundational component, we can start looking at solutions.

But first, we must confront the “solutions” to your desires posed by our broken and lost society.

2. Avoiding Societal Manipulation of Desires

The world wants you addicted. The ruling classes need your votes, the corporations need your money, and the mob needs your body. Each group can only use you effectively if you are broken.

The ruling classes can only get your vote if you depend on their programs. Corporations can only get your money if they lower your self-esteem before selling you crap you don’t need. The mob can only manipulate you to do its bidding if you have no strong values or purpose.

Remember, the problem isn’t your desires but what you do with them. The world wants you to take those cravings and become enslaved. For example, you want to eat junk food. The ruling classes, elites, and mob all want you to overeat sweets for their gain:

Whenever you seek a way to reroute your desires, never seek solutions from your enemies. They gain immensely from your addictions and will support your enslavement in every way.

Luckily, in the last step, we will explore how you can find real, meaningful places to direct your desires.

3. Think critically; what will safely fulfill your desires?

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” – Dan Brown

The first two steps are about acknowledging reality. This step is about thinking and discovering what your wants can be redirected towards.

We start by outlining what you want:

  • What do you desire?
  • Why do you think you prefer this?
    • Are these desires natural, or are they unique to this time?
  • How does/would it feel to fulfill this desire?
    • Would you decrease your stress? Scratch an “itch?”
  • How are you seeking to meet it?
  • What avenues does society provide?
    • What are the downsides of these avenues?

These questions give you an essential foundation for understanding what you want and seeing how society is trying to manipulate you.

Next, you take what the societal remedy is and seek the opposite. Within or around that opposite, you will find a place where you can start directing your desires.

Furthermore, you can avoid the pitfalls of pursuing addictive solutions to your desires through the means I’ve highlighted throughout the blog. These include:

  • Reducing the time you spend around damaging things. For example, if you desire sugary food, avoid buying junk so it’s not in your home.
  • Reward your good behavior. The more you do well and resist what is bad for you, the more you should reward your goodness through purchases, enjoyment of other things, and celebrations with others.
  • Think about other people. When you seek to fight a vice, always imagine how others would be proud to see you succeed and sad to see you fail.
  • Keep track of your progress. The more you succeed, the more you can build upon your successes. Keeping track of the good you have done is crucial to keeping your motivation.

What I’ve outlined will map out where you should be and what leniences you can give yourself. When you understand your limits, you can better navigate this complex issue and determine the best course of action.

The Example of Sex

sexuality | woman holding sign

Our time has cheapened sex and sexuality. Such cheapening has led to a plethora of negative outcomes.

So, let’s take an example of how these steps can be applied to sex.

Firstly, the reasons for liking sex are clear: Sex provides sensual pleasure and is unique in its capacity to do so. It is a physical act mankind has always wanted and pursued. Additionally, it is the only act that creates life, confirming its significance and power.

Secondly, we look at how society approaches sex. Society argues sex should be freely given to anyone and everyone. There are no real limits. Because there are no limits, problems arise quickly and aggressively: STDs, jaded lovers, abortion, abusive relationships, broken hearts, multiple rejections, and so forth arise from a society that has separated sex from its unitive and procreative properties.

Lastly, we need to think critically. What is the opposite of what society offers? It is a monogamous marriage, especially those focused on creating a family. But on the perimeter would be long-term, monogamous relationships.

How do you achieve this goal?

  • Eliminate your time around pornographic material
  • Increase your time around good, virtuous people
  • Reward courageous moments whenever you ask someone on a date
  • Think critically about the people you sleep with, as they could be the future parent of your child;
  • Understand deeply what you want out of a partner and embody those traits;
  • Track how successful you have been with finding good, virtuous partners.

By implementing the steps above, you can acknowledge your desire for sex without shame; define society’s “solutions” and reject them wholeheartedly; determine what would fulfill your passion in a stable, meaningful way; then pursue that goal while rewarding your courage and dedication.

Life Fulfillment Comes From Self-Mastery And The Defeat of Hedonism

We all have desires. When looking for ways to fulfill our wants, we can easily fall prey to society’s vices. But such a path will harm you and others.

We can live a virtuous life when we seek sustainable and meaningful ways to satisfy our inclinations.

The techniques and mindset changes outlined in this article are not quick fixes. They require suffering, self-awareness, and a dedication to personal growth. However, the rewards of self-mastery, virtuous living, and genuine fulfillment far outweigh the challenges.


“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” – Augustine of Hippo

  1. What is one desire your struggle with? Why do you think it dogs you so much? How do you deal with such a desire? Are your solutions negative or positive?
  2. Do you someone who is enslaved by their passions? What are they like?
  3. What are society’s “solutions” to your desires? Have you taken them? What were the results? What do you regret? What did you learn? Take the wisdom you’ve gained and hold on to it.

Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.