We live in a high-speed internet, instant gratification society with constant digital stimuli. ADHD is to be expected.
You can watch countless hours of YouTube videos, and stream most TV shows and movies on Netflix and Hulu.
Social media has an endless stream of information from millions of people, pictures of their everyday lives, and pretentious attempts at sounding smart by copy-pasting quotes from great thinkers and philosophers.
Search engines like Google can find information and content related to all the questions you could ever conceive of.
There are millions of online articles out there that encompass almost every topic that humanity is capable of comprehending.
You’re constantly bombarded with an endless stream of digital stimuli. As a result, the average first-worlder has a non-existent attention span. Most people, children and adults, are developing ADHD-like symptoms: a crippling inability to focus.
You might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Sure, ADHD isn’t good by any means, but it can’t be that bad.
The harsh truth is that this ADHD lifestyle guarantees great difficulty accomplishing your goals and aspirations, a progressively diminishing enjoyment of activities that you once loved, and a deep dissatisfaction with life.
I want to get one thing out of the way: yes, I know this heading sounds pretentious and arrogant as all hell. What the fuck do I know about success and elite-level skill in anything?
I completely get it. And I understand if this heading pisses you off. If you disagree with me, let me know down in the Comments why. And, I think deep down you’ll agree with what I’m about to say.
I honestly believe success and peak human level skill are things people deeply desire, right up there with money and sex. They spend money on books, seminars, and courses on how to be successful and/or reach elite level of skill in their chosen craft. They try to do weird eugenics bullshit to try to make sure that their children gain super genetics.
No joke. I read in “ The Case against Perfection (by Michael Sandel)” that MIT students are paid a huge premium to donate their sperm. The rationale is that a smart, driven, and accomplished MIT student must have exceptional genetics. And parents want to provide these exceptional genetics to their children to give them the tools to succeed and become highly accomplished.
When Mozart was a kid, his parents literally had to pry him away from the piano so he could go to bed at night. He eventually ran away from home so he could focus on composing music without the stifling, overbearing attitude of his father distracting him. At the height of his boxing career, Mike Tyson woke up at 4 every morning to go running and refused to have any sex for five years so he could focus on boxing.
None of their success came their way solely because of natural talent. They had to focus on one thing.
10,000 hours of practice and training is what it takes to become an expert at something. Let’s say you devote 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. That’s 60 hours a week. Let’s say you devote every single week to practice. If we do the math and exclude sick days, holidays and other times when shit happens, it’ll take about 167 weeks, or 3.2 years, before you can be considered an expert! Again, that’s most of your waking hours, almost every single day, every single week!
Here’s the problem with getting distracted with activities and information unrelated to your goals and aspirations:
Distractions like watching online videos, reading unrelated articles, and consuming social media still takes some mental effort and energy. To your subconscious mind, you’re not resting. You’re still “working”.
You’re working your ass off, running yourself ragged, getting burnt the fuck out, and nothing is getting done. Overtime, this severely cripples your confidence. You lose confidence in your abilities because you seemingly can’t get anything done even with all this tremendous effort and time. You’ll start questioning your competence and intellect, start feeling helpless and ineffectual: impotent.
You’ll start getting angry at other people and your overall life circumstances. Your parents weren’t as involved in your life as the parents of the other more successful people around you, so you weren’t able to learn and develop good habits from a young age.
Guys getting high paying jobs at Microsoft, IBM, Tesla, Lockheed Martin, Apple, they were granted connections from family members. Or, affirmative action is the only reason they got the job instead of you.
But, what does this line of thinking accomplish? What does feeling sorry for yourself and getting wrapped up in the sheer unfairness of life going to get you? Nothing. This shit becomes just another distraction.
You’ll get even more distracted, which’ll kill your focus and productivity even more, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
The more stimulated you are, the harder it is to feel enjoyment.
Think back to the colonial era of America, just when the country was being founded. People back then read books and played charades for fun.
We went from that, to having a dozen windows open in the internet browser. You’ve got a vine video open, some articles on celebrity gossip and upcoming movies, maybe even a porn video with an absurdly busty blonde with caked-on make up getting gangbanged by a dozen guys.
After all that, you won’t be able to read a book for longer than five minutes. You’ll feel almost no motivation or enjoyment from everything else in your life, your schooling/job, your relationships, your other hobbies, etc.
There’s a short-term and long-term way of achieving happiness and life satisfaction.
The short-term way is to enter a state of being called “flow”. You know what it is. You see it on the face of a conductor during an orchestra performance. The calm demeanor of a professional gamer in the middle of a match indicative of an intense focus. An artist whose so immersed in their work that they forgo the need for food and sleep.
It’s a focus so absolute, the world around you disappears. Your own sense of self disappears. Your actions are almost being guided by some kind of higher force.
The psychologist who coined this term, Mihaly Csikszentmihályi, believes that overall satisfaction and happiness hinges on how often you enter flow.
The long-term way is to find an overall life goal. Robert Greene calls it your Life’s Task in his masterpiece of literature “Mastery“.
The Life’s Task is what you’re meant to accomplish in the time you have in this world. The thing you’re meant to focus on that I mentioned back in Foot Shooting #1.
I consider finding a direction and purpose for your life as the cure for feeling bad about never having a girlfriend by age 21.
Both these things require focus… which ADHD completely undermines.
This is the best way to combat ADHD and all its horrible effects.
Basically, go at least three days a week where you stay off of the usual websites that you piss away countless hours on. For me, I piss away hours on YouTube and read a lot of online articles from other blogs. A lot of people troll social media. Internet porn addiction is becoming a pandemic.
Here are some of the things you can expect at first:
You can also spend this newfound time on other hobbies. One of the new hobbies I highly recommend is intramural sports, especially sports that have lots of running like soccer, rugby, basketball or lacrosse.
And of course, feel free to add more hobbies to your life as you see fit.
There’s definitely more that goes into curing ADHD and finding greater happiness, but this is a great start.
ADHD is an insidious affliction. It prevents you from being successful because you’re unable to focus enough on anything to get really good at it. You may not even be able to focus enough to accomplishing everyday tasks. You can’t get as much enjoyment or fun from life. And, you can’t be happy or satisfied with life.
I recommend spending the extra time you now have on new hobbies. A great new hobby is intramural sports because of the exercise, the chance to meet new people, and possibly getting more sunlight.
And I want you to genuinely think about picking up “Mastery” by Robert Greene. I don’t really purchase many books, but the books I do recommend are all books I think are worth buying. Mastery really is a life-changing book that should be required reading for everyone.
Let me know if I’m full of shit down in the Comments. Sign up for my free newsletter even if do you think I’m full of shit.
All the best,