There is a particularly damaging form of pornography that’s dancing around the Internet today; the type of porn that fosters guilt and can lead one to subconsciously seek out pain.
I’m talking about struggle porn.
This type of porn can come in a number of forms:
* Glorifying the struggle.
* Triumphantly declaring oneself the martyr to be rewarded with the dopamine hit of “likes and comments” on social media
* Furthering the belief that struggle is actually a prerequisite to achieving success.
None of the above involves the healthy sharing of experiences. Let’s face it, everyone faces challenges at one point or another, and it’s helpful to talk with friends, family and colleagues.
That’s not struggle porn.
Struggle porn can take the form of the social media user who, just last year, proudly shared photos and the news that they worked so late and so hard that they slept under the desks of their WeWork office.
Or it can come as weekly “woe is me” news updates about the latest foible or failure, thinly disguised as some sort of motivational post, but really a calculated effort to get the attention that comes with sympathy.
In my recent interview with entrepreneur Isaac Morehouse (which will air soon on the Freedom Mindset Radio podcast), he notes that posting about your struggle on social media is certain to get more likes, comments, and attention that a post about your success. In fact, (as I write about here) posting about your success is likely to attract shaming and ridicule.
There’s another type of struggle porn that can actually be the most dangerous. It comes in the form of posts like the following, published just yesterday from a woman on LinkedIn:
“No struggle no victory. We cannot say we have won without first having any struggles. No one is born a winner.”
In my opinion, this latter type of struggle porn is the most damaging because it can actually be programmed into our subconscious.
You see, so many of us, in fact, are programmed to believe that we are born losers; that we have to spend our entire lives “struggling” to become worthy. This leads to self-esteem issues which not only is a block on one’s mindset, but can prevent true happiness and fulfillment, while leaving one with a deep-seated feeling of constant guilt.
It can also lead us to overtly or subconsciously seek out struggle.
Over the span of thirteen years, I built a very profitable PR/ad agency. Due to my salesmanship and relationship-building, I had four good-paying clients within a month of starting my agency, and built my revenue to seven figures in a relatively short period of time. Though I later shut the agency down due to lack of fulfillment — growing the business and making money was easy.
There was no real “struggle.” And that left me with extreme guilt, feeling that failure and or some sort of negative bolt of lightning was just around the corner. The “guilt programming” brought about by the struggle porn that infects us all prevented me from ever truly relishing victories, because I always expected it to be balanced out by the kick to the nuts that surely was coming.
I was wrong.
We are born winners. It’s only by believing ourselves losers and failing to utilize and make the most of the talents we each are given at birth that we lower ourselves from that stature.
I realize this belief flies in the face of the teachings of many organized religions, and I’m sure many readers can quote me scripture and verse in an attempt to prove me wrong. Rest assured I could find any number of versus in the Holy Bible and other ancient and sacred texts in an attempt to prove you wrong.
And that would get us absolutely nowhere accept arguing about the level of guilt we all feel we should have merely for being born.
Bottom line: Struggles do happen, and humans are strong and resilient and able to surprising amounts of punishment.
But let’s stop glorifying the punishment and making others believe that it’s not only preordained, but actually required.
This awareness is a vital first step toward deprogramming ourselves from the scarcity that bombards our minds from the cinema, the pulpits, and the politicians and re-programming ourselves for abundance.
You were born a winner. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.