Sean Parker (founder of Napster and former President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former head of AOLs Instant Messaging division and a former executive at Facebook) have both come out in recent months dispassionately expressing their remorse, regret, and guilt over working with Facebook in order to lure the masses into the addiction that is social media. Palihaptiya went so far as to call social media “internet crack”.
If social media is “internet crack” then HiiT is “fitness crack”
Until we – not collectively as society, but individually – recognize that the human being has a vulnerability in that it is highly susceptible to addiction then we will continue to be at the mercy of those who understand this vulnerability and who are willing to exploit this vulnerability manipulating us for profit, power/control or both.
Today, the business of addiction is booming! Need proof? Simply identify the top performing stocks in the stock market and they are all going to be addiction based businesses (i.e. FANG stocks). Industry has figured out how to sell to you, and not just how to sell, but how to make you buy believing that you are buying of your own free will, based on a logical rational decision making processes. Hah! If you believe that then I’ve got swamp land, oops… I mean valuable development land for sale that you will be interested in.
And no… this vulnerability is not just in a handful of people – those unfortunate who became addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, sex, porn, internet surfing, food, exercise, opioids, etc… – but in each and everyone of us: we are all vulnerable, at risk, at high risk of addiction.
The issue is not whether or not we are potential addicts, the issue is what are we already addicted to but unable to realize it because society has collectively decided that our addiction is an acceptable one, or even a ‘good’ one (e.g. Netflix binging: the phrase just overwhelms with an image of mental and emotional stability, wellness, and health.. doesn’t it?)
It is the EGO which prevents us from accepting the truth… we are all addicts; only by freeing ourselves from addiction can we truly regain health, be healthy, live to our fullest potential.
The goal is not to be a good addict, or to use your addiction vulnerability to your advantage because that is an even grander illusion where you fall to the belief that you can control your addiction, able to manage “how addicted you are”. If the concept crossed your mind that you can control an addiction, then your addiction has you so whipped that you actually believe you are in control. Hah! Guess what the alcohol, gambling, cocaine addict says… I’m in control, I know my limits, I only drink, gamble, snort, ____________ (fill in the blank with your addiction) within reason, and stop well before I place anyone or myself at risk.
I call… BULL S#!T on your “I’m in control” delusion. And if your pride is so grandiose that you cannot call BULL S#!T on yourself, then I can only pray for the victim(s) who will suffer at your refusal to humble yourself, at your refusal to learn from insight defaulting to having to learn from pain (both your own pain and that of those you injure or kill). Who will it be? A cyclist or pedestrian you kill because of having just one more drink which you ‘knew‘ you could handle (bull s#!t), the financial crisis you bring upon yourself or your family from that one last trip to the casino where you were ‘knew‘ you would ‘win it all back’ (bull s#!t), the devastation you unleash on your relationships from your addiction to pain killers or whatever else that you firmly believed that you were in control of (bull s#!t)… until you weren’t.
But, but, but… my addiction is something healthy… like exercise (i.e. HiiT – Hi Intensity Interval Training), so none of what you say applies (bull s#!t).
The problem with using the human addiction vulnerability for good is that its an illusion and it all starts the same way… oh, just a little… that can’t hurt… right? The stockbroker uses just a little cocaine… and voila, they improve in their trading… see… I’m not hurting anyone, and look I am making profits for myself and all my clients. The athlete uses just a little HiiT… and voila, look I’m faster than ever before and with less training… thats gotta be a good thing… and it looks like I have a chance at a podium. The single parent who uses just a couple painkillers… and voila, I can handle the stress of my life and I am able to handle everything that needs to get done.
Of course… with these narratives, what could go wrong? Nothing ever has ever gone wrong when someone says those words! That is until… the stockbroker does just a bit too much crack and blows up their own and every other account they oversee on a major trade, the athlete does just a bit too much HiiT and ends up injured, ill, missing cuts for a sponsored team or a National Team and the opportunity to compete at the international level, and the single parent overdoses on opioids… drops dead leaving their kids with no one. See… nothing goes wrong.
Society has a great way of approving of certain addictions that are on trend (e.g. social media, HiiT, technology upgrade cycle) and it tries to cause us to turn a blind eye to the consequences… e.g. obesity, juvenile diabetes, anxiety and depression in children… but hey… they connect with friends while playing Call of Duty 24hrs straight over weekends… I cannot take that away from them, I cannot take them away from their “friends”.
Society has approved of Hi Intensity Interval Training. Why wouldn’t it? The most medicated, diseased, obese, ‘high’ on illegal and recreational pharmaceuticals, anxious, depressed, withdrawn society ever to exist has to cover up its addictions (and lack of health) somehow, so why not with something as delusional as HiiT which gives the impression of an active, health lifestyle, of one who is pursuing wellness, which provides a cosmetic appearance of health which we are agreeing is to be called… fitness. If you are ‘fit’ like a triathlete, ‘fit’ like a CrossFitter, ‘fit’ like a spin class instructor… my oh my… you must be healthy… and with that our ego brims with pride, and we can reject any notion that we aren’t in control [of our addictions].
Whereas social media convinces us that we are popular, important, unique, special by providing the platform to post so we can feel superior as a result of having experiences others have not had; HiiT convinces us that we must truly be athletes. HiiT convinces us that if we look like those in ads for sports apparel, nutrition, and equipment… sweaty, exhausted, throwing back gels and neon fluids, after just crushing a workout… then we are real athletes (bulls#!t).
A century ago, we were all convinced that smoking was cool, on trend, and medical doctors smoked during our annual appointment. It was a phenomenal addiction: actors smoked, athletes smoked, everyone who was anyone smoked. Then it all went up in smoke, when the cost of dealing with everyone who ended up with COPD, lung cancer, other cancers, plus the cost of supplying the equipment for those who need bottled oxygen to remain alive added up to an amount that was no longer cool. All of a sudden instead of accepting the lobbyist bribes, we turned on the tobacco industry and said… wait a second… smoking… its bad!
Yesterday it was tobacco, today its sport nutrition, its the sport & fitness industry selling HiiT, its tech companies selling social media apps, smartphones, its the media selling pandemonium.
Will society change… ever… no. It will just move from one addiction to the next, never realizing that its stuck in a feedback loop for eternity. One addiction will replace another: the old addiction will be labeled as horrible, the new addiction labeled as the one and only, the true addiction, the addiction that will save us all from our miserable selves.
To break free, you have to do exit the loop, swallow the red pill and leave the matrix.
You have to call bulls#!t on the addicts lifestyle, on your lifestyle.
How will you decide to live: addicted or healthy?
Your choice, but don’t look for society to support you with your decision, because if you decide to live differently – effectively calling everyone’s lifestyle wrong, calling their lifestyle an addicts lifestyle – you won’t find support from anyone and you will be deemed the nut case.
Do it not for likes, in spite of your ‘followers’, do not do it for social approval, do it for yourself, for your kids, so that both you and your kids can be free to pursue your fullest potential.