Heroin is the last thing in the world I expected to find inspiring.
Yet here we are. No I didn’t shoot up. I’m afraid of needles and drop to the floor at the sight of them.
What happened is I came across Scott Leonardi, a former addict. He describes driving around his neighborhood in a computer game between him and his brain. The prize was a little baggie of the angel drug.
The thrill surprisingly wasn’t getting the crazy stuff into his arm. Nope. It was the game of finding a hit and then going through the setup process. If you’ve ever hung around stoners like I have it’s a similar experience when you watch them chop up the magic green leaves.
The part of Scott’s story that slapped me in the face is when he turned his junkie habit into a story about productivity.
Scott only had one goal: to score.
Life was simple. Nothing else mattered. Find heroin. Use heroin. Stop at nothing until you get it. Do whatever it takes. To-do lists didn’t matter during these days either. All he did was one thing and only one thing: score.
After the hard years of addiction Scott gives this unconventional advice:
Choose your habit. Turn it into your heroin.
Another underrated addiction
Brandon Stanton created the Humans of New York Project.
He spent his days taking photos of normal people in the streets of New York, writing their story briefly, and posting it to social media. He became a viral sensation and went on to achieve a long list of rewards.
Brandon says, “If every day you write something and millions of people receive it immediately, it’s a hell of a drug.”
That’s how I feel. I’ve been lucky enough to have more than 500m views on my writing over the last 8 years.
When I try to explain what it feels like and how it happens, it’s difficult. Then Scott’s article on his addiction led me to the answer.
I write online because I’m an addict.
I can’t get enough. The feeling of inspiring people with words is, too, one hell of a drug. I don’t want to admit it to myself, but truthfully, I’m addicted.
People used to say I had a powerful writing habit. Now I know, instead, I have a powerful addiction.
Writing online is heroin.
The common link between the best in the world
I’ve spent the last 8 years, mostly, studying high performers in my spare time. They all have a set of similar traits in common.
Here are a few:
- They’re humble as hell
- They’re lifelong learners
- They execute without overthinking
- They don’t give a damn about critics
- They practice mediation/mindfulness
- They resist the urge to be painfully average
- They prioritize energy and look for ways to increase it
Without a doubt, though, they’re all junkies. They’re addicted to their mission in life and can’t give it up. Ever.
One of those unlikely junkies I studied was Anthony Bourdain. He had a heroin addiction early in his career.
Just like Scott, when he gave up the drug addict life, his addiction leaped through space and time to a new field: cooking food. He became obsessed. He worked long hours. He wrote books about food. Eventually he got to travel the world sharing food stories.
His descriptions of food are like nothing you’ll ever read. That’s because he was so obsessed with his drug it’s all he could think about.
His career blew up, not because he was the best chef, but because tv station talent scouts and book publishers were drawn to him like a magnet due to his food addiction.
Towards the end of his career and the fatal end to his life, his addiction transferred once more to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In a secret diary he kept on Reddit his addiction was revealed to the world.
Frankly, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as an addiction has in many ways replaced my previous ones.
If I’m away from my home academy, I find myself looking for someplace anyplace to train like a dope fiend looking for a methadone clinic. My emotional state when deprived of training would, in different circumstances, be called “drug seeking behavior.
Many people know iconic Youtuber Mr Beast.
His videos have captivated audiences since his teenage years. In a rare interview moment the source of his relentless pursuit to make his Youtube channel (now) bigger than most major media companies is revealed.
There’s not a single person on the planet that’s been more obsessed at the same timespan as me, because it’s physically impossible.
Almost every hour of the day. In math class, in any class, any time of day, I was thinking about YouTube, nonstop, the last 10 years.
With that type of addiction it’s no wonder he surpassed his goal.
Creative addictions are some of the most deadly to try and detox off. You can’t turn off your creative brain when you’re addicted to what you do. It just wants to keep creating and generating new ideas.
When you promise yourself a break and go to the beach, your addiction takes charge and starts joining the creative dots between ideas in your brain.
Some say addiction is bad. I say addiction is necessary.
If you’re not addicted to what you love then do you really love it? Or are you just pretending by going through the motions using boring habits?
Habits are a distraction. They’re made out to be the secret formula for success. Screw habits.
Get addicted to an art form. Make it your heroin so you become intensely focused on one thing. That’s how you become the best in the world and change your life beyond anything you could ever dream of.