Quitting My Addiction to Struggle Porn

No more Gary Vee for me

Gary Vee is one of those special characters you binge on for motivation. He’s like the modern and younger version of Tony Robbins. He’s everywhere and on every platform. I’ve moved on. I’ve grown up and I think I’m ready to quit my addiction to struggle porn.

Yet every now and then I find myself watching the digital marketer telling me off for not having my shit together and doing something about it. He’s like the no bs, old school kind of guy that tells it like it is. There’s no space to be offended, no space to make excuses, no space for anything but just to do. He advocates for the extreme — no sleep, all work and no play — maybe in hopes it balances us out for our extreme inaction. But who knows? Maybe he’s serious. Maybe he’s not. If he’s not, he’s very good at convincing us all otherwise.

Just start

7 months after losing my job, my addiction to entrepreneurial struggle porn reached its peak in September. It’s sort of like eating something you enjoy every day for every meal. But after a while, you begin to notice certain things about the food you’re consuming.

For me, I began to notice the same single and common message — just start.

There’s something about struggle porn that gets you hyped up but not enough to do the very thing they’re all yelling at you to do. From Oprah sound bites to Shia LaBeouf redistributed a million times with various backing music and green screen edits — we still remain the same, binge-watching addicts that we are.

And keeping doing

There is no substitute for hard work — Thomas Edison

There’s a subculture and undercurrent of rhetoric in struggle porn that advocates for the road towards burnout. It’s the you can sleep when you’re dead kind of speeches. Late nights, self-inflicted sleep deprivation, crappy diets and everything else that will contribute to the completion of whatever it is you’re doing.

While a lot of us addicts drink it up like its water from the fountain of wisdom, we quickly give up due to its unsustainability. We go all in only to crawl out of the rubble all scratched up and burnt — and then right back into the ring of fire to start all over again.

Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences. — Psychology Today

Struggle Stories are Sexy

There’s something inherently sexy about struggling in life that ends with success. The best Hollywood tales includes struggling of some sort — The Green Mile, Life of Pi, The Pianist, The Aviator, Ali and every Rocky Balboa movie — all neatly packaged up and shipped out as 2 hours of fantastic and highly inspiring cinematography.

When we jump right in and struggle, it’s like we’re writing our own versions of future rags to riches story. Every successful person has a struggle story — everyone except Bill Gates.

Good old Bill… Buffett and all the old school entrepreneurs

I’ve been doing my rounds watching people who are a decade or two older than Gary Vee. The stark contrast between them and him is that they don’t talk about their ‘struggles’ as struggles, no matter how hard the interviewers try to frame it in that way. There’s a relaxed air about them — slower paced and not so much like you need to be on fire all the time in order to succeed.

They tell the story of their childhoods and ‘struggle’ phases as a fact of life — and it was their habits, their ideas, their modes of thinking, the people and processes that got them to where they are today. They started their companies and ventures not because there was someone yelling at them to just do it. They started because they were passionate enough and saw opportunities to make a living from it.

When passion is internally fueled, it’s much more sustainable. When we consume struggle porn and start something because of it, we are not truly passionate. Rather it’s because we’re chasing the idea of fame and fortune. What we want is empty, hollow and superficial — which makes us crave more motivational videos.

Starting something because you’ve been inspired by struggle porn is like lighting an unattended bonfire. Two things can happen — that bonfire can either burn out and you’ll have to light it again, or the fire spreads and destroys everything in its path. There is no process, no maintenance, no understanding or proper usage of the fire.

Moving on

Personally, I’ve moved on from the Gary Vee type of characters. They still pop up every now and then but they’re no longer the main feature on my playlist. Relaxing Jazz & Bossa Nova Music Radio is.

There is some truth in the ‘just do it’ speeches but you need to stop listening to them first in order to do your thing. You need to stop consuming in order to start producing.

Now I opt for people that calmly present their processes and workflow. I consume a different kind of entrepreneurial porn — but this time not for motivation but for continuous self-improvement. They’re not out to help make me rich but a better and well-balanced human.

I think there’s a common trajectory that a lot of us has to walk through in order to get to where we want to be. Some stay at a certain point longer than others, some are mentally more ready than others and some skip a few steps because they don’t need it. Some reach that stage of entrepreneurial enlightenment faster than others and for those who are looking to move on to the next level, I believe that moving on from entrepreneurial struggle porn is the first step towards true and sustainable success.

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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