I read in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs that the legendary founder of Apple believed strongly in the benefits of an ascetic way of life. It was something he picked up on during his studies of Buddhism.
Living simply and denying physical pleasures kept him motivated to work harder. He wasn’t complacent and he knew that the self-denial in one area of life made things all the more enjoyable in other areas of life.
As Lent ends and Easter begins, I can certainly attest to this as can so many other people who now return to those things they fasted from for the last forty days.
What I find interesting, however, is how fasting can be used as motivation. A literal hunger for something physical can carry over to a mental or spiritual hunger as well.
If you have everything you want in life, you won’t be motivated to help others, make the world a better place, or achieve higher levels of success.