Life After Quitting Struggle Porn

1 year later — where am I now with my addiction?

There is a narrative floating around that to be an entrepreneur, you have to struggle endlessly until you emerge in victory, maybe with a Tesla in hand as an indicator of your sudden success.

You’re supposed to experience sweat. You’re supposed to experience tears. You’re supposed to put yourself on the edge of financial ruin doing that thing until the wee hours of the neon-lit night.

If you sleep any earlier than 2am, then you’re weak.

If you do anything else other than work, then you’re not committed enough.

If you have a semblance of self-care in your routine, you’re not focused or working hard enough.

These ideas are all part of the struggle. It’s the kind of motivational content that we consume to force our flames bigger and brighter — until we burn ourselves so badly that we can’t move forward with our wounds.

Back in 2018, I had a struggle porn problem. At the beginning of 2019, I decided to sidestep from the constant stream of motivational content and started to get real about my situation instead.

What, exactly, is struggle porn?

The thing with porn, in general, is that it’s voyeuristic. We are passive consumers of the content, vicariously living in the experiences of others.

When it comes to entrepreneurial struggle porn, we have a tendency to binge on the stories of others — getting the fantasy version of the experience without actually having to live it.

It often comes in the form of motivational YouTube videos and content that flips work-life balance on its head, dress it up in extreme rags for an extended period of time before you get to your riches.

We’d become inspired enough to try living the entrepreneurial life without actually understanding the process or real reasoning why we should wake up at 5am. The consumption of struggle porn often turns us into backseat entrepreneurs, trying to copy the habits, patterns, and pathways of others.

If you’re anything like me, I tried this multiple times and failed miserably. It came down to my warped perception of what entrepreneurship is really about, heavily influenced by the struggle to success stories. It led me to incorrectly assess my situation. My entire perception of how I should be feeling and reacting was based on what the struggle porn told me.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that this methodology often results in lopsided habits and decisions made that aren’t necessarily suited to my personal circumstances or environment.

What life on the other side really looks like

There are two kinds of entrepreneurship — the overworked, nearing burnout kind of entrepreneur vs. the calm, got it together kind success stories.

We often fall into the trap of telling ourselves that we’ll be part of the calm club once everything starts running smoothly.

I’ve told myself this lie many times. This is because deep down, I instinctively know that the day will never come if I continue down the current path I’m walking. If I can’t even figure out how to be calm on my smoother days, what hope is there for the never-ending stress that is supposed to come with the idea of hustling?

We’ve been told that struggle is good, which is often misinterpreted when we try it out in reality. We’re constantly frazzled and frantic, doing everything we can within our power to keep our heads about the water. We’ve jumped right into the deep end and simply don’t know how to swim.

We put ourselves on the edge, unable to calm down and just simply relax. Then we get tired because we’re constantly going against the tide.

At the beginning of 2019, I recognized the futility of the struggle — that it’s one big myth that’s perpetuated by the content we choose to consume. There are people out there who are managing to kill it without sacrificing their soul, sanity, physical and mental health in the process.

The ability to run life, entrepreneurship and defining your own version of success is possible without have to work from dusk to dawn. The real hustle isn’t about how much sleep you can keep away while you’re young. The real hustle is about figuring out the system in which businesses can thrive without having the process over encroach on your personal sanity.

Finding my courage

When I started watching Gary Vee back in 2018, he was the epitome of struggle porn culture. However, since growing up from his original content, I’ve come to realize that motivational hustler journey pep talk is his thing.

He’s like the football coach that’s sitting on the sidelines seeing how everyone is doing and then giving pointers on what to do. Except Gary Vee’s niche is in helping young people build themselves up from nothing. His content sits right at the beginning of the journey —the time where you often seek out all the pep talk you can get.

But ultimately, you need to take that leap and just do the things you need to do. I learned the hard way and spent a good portion of my teens and twenties listening to and reading struggle porn but never brave enough to do the things I needed to do — not until at the beginning of 2019.

The pivot point came when I realized that the pain of going back into a traditional 9 to 5 would be greater and more detrimental to my mental health than taking the risk of an entrepreneurial journey.

And sometimes that’s what it takes to get over the addiction of consuming motivational content — a potential pain that’s great than the risk of regret and not trying.

I’ve quit struggle porn, but I still watch it every now and then.

There is a certain truth in struggle porn — but that doesn’t mean that it’s the ultimate truth or true north. Yes, you will experience some sort of struggle when it comes to figuring out your footing in life.

But that’s something that everyone has to go through at some point.

Change is an opposing force to our current reality. The force of this change depends on how drastically you want to change your reality.

It’s been a year since my decision to quit the consumption of struggle porn. In its place and the hours I’d spend watching and reading the motivational materials, I’d participate in the acts required to obtain the desired outcome.

I started living the hustle life rather than watch it in the lives of others.

Don’t get me wrong — I still watch struggle porn every now and then but not at the insane levels I once did back in the days before my leap into the unknown.

The difference between then and now is that I’m an occasional user of struggle porn. I’m more focused on the act of doing rather than consuming what others have to say about how I should be experiencing my personal journey.

Final thoughts

Figuring things out can be a challenge in itself and while struggle porn can give you the mental uplift needed, it won’t solve your problems until you’re willing to tackle it yourself.

I think what’s happening is that we make the mental leap of struggle to success without actually processing what’s involved. Sometimes, real hustling might just be a matter of playing the slow game and sometimes we stumble — but it’s not the end.

The thing we tend to omit when we consume entrepreneurial motivational content is that we need to take personal responsibility for our actions and decisions. Sometimes, some actions and decisions don’t go as planned and we fail. It happens.

Everyone has their own journeys and it doesn’t need to be paved with the potential for burnout. Rest is not overrated and the real hustle is more about sustainability as much as working smart and hard.

For me, quitting the struggle porn circuit has left me with time to properly be with my thoughts and do the things I need to do to move forward. It’s given me the mental clarity needed to figure out what my struggle looks like rather than enforcing a particular version of what it should be.

About Author /

Editor of Hustle Thrive Grow. On a quest to become a better human and documenting the journey in digital ink.

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