My relationship with marijuana started roughly 30 years ago, on a rainy day, in a disused playground. I did not know it then, however that day marked the beginning of my alchemist's quest, the journey to attain the unattainable. Eventually; some 28 years or so later, I have achieved a high enough level of cognitive alchemy, to allow me to create the perfect mix of motivation and marijuana.
So I am writing this for all those who feel like they can't motivate themselves, yet they can't or don't want to give up taking the sweet Mary Jane, in one or more of its many forms. Because that is a dilemma that all of us stoners face, how do we keep our ambitions alive, if you like to smoke-a-da-weed everyday?
The End Of Ambition
"That shit'll rob you of your ambition."
"Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV."
So I smoked a joint at 13, no big deal; I didn't smoke another one for about 3 years after that, I was 16 and at a different school, that was when my ambitions were stolen from me, and replaced with new ones; ones that revolved around being able to constantly get high.
You see the problem was that at my first school, completely unbeknownst to me at the time; my ambitions were shaped entirely by my environment. I was being looked after by a single mother who was seriously overworked and undervalued by her employers. The so-called pension she received for 26 years of service was an insult to the loyal service she had provided.
My peers were also mainly from poor working class families; and where I lived a fair amount of people ended up either working for or stealing from the Post Office.
All of this combined with being blessed with a photographic memory and an aptitude for learning, served to drive my ambition in the direction of business owner, or inventor, or at the very least, an uber-high paying job in the legal profession.
However all of this changed the moment after I smoked my second joint in Holland Park School, my ambitions were now somewhat skewed and confusion flooded my mind, in no way helped by the difference in socioeconomic status of my new peers, compared to my old ones.
The smoking of my second joint, coincided with my eyes being opened to a world that I hadn't even imagined up until that point. I had gone from hanging out on my council estate and the estates of friends and girlfriends, to hanging out in houses that were on roads and not in tower blocks. These houses had stairs inside them, there were no urine soaked lifts, or badly lit walkways leading to these abodes.
It wasn't only the bigger houses, and richer friends that were different from my old life, my new friends had liberal parents that allowed their children to smoke, and in some cases even smoked with them!
I considered my horizons broadened, I had a new outlook on life previous ambitions evaporated and in their place were left apathy and inactivity. This passive state of affairs was not helped by the fact that a lot of my dope smoking buddies had trust funds and inheritances I wasn't aware of. I mistook the behaviour of my peers as a mirror of my own, not understanding that their apathy came from the comfort of knowing that their futures were financially secure.
So for years I drifted; mortgaging my unseen future for a great present, smoking away my life in a wonderful haze of blue-grey hashish smoke. This wasn't to say I didn't have ambition, it was the drive I lacked; I was a photographer, I wanted to be a great one, but didn't quite have the gumption to do anything about it. That story was played out time and time again; each time it happened, I knew it was because I smoked too much. I could see the difference when I stopped, however I neither could, nor wanted to give up permanently.
All the while I looked to famous people who were alleged, and confirmed stoners who also happened to be high achievers; Bob Marley and Richard Branson to name but two.
Deep down of course, I knew that I was displaying survivorship bias, by highlighting the high-achieving stoners; whilst conveniently editing out the majority of stoners who don't go on to become world famous musicians or billionaire business owners.
It didn't stop me searching though; these high achievers did have something, they had managed to carve out successful careers, while still holding weed dear to their hearts. How were they doing that? I had to know the secret behind blazing up spliffs all day, and staying motivated enough to carve out a succesful career.
The Alchemist's Dream
The alchemists of old, who roamed the lands of medieval Europe, sought to turn lead into gold, my quest of attempting to find motivation from the induced apathy of a stoner, I felt was no less arduous.
If the men of ancient times were to be alive today, they would see that their dream had been accomplished via particle beam acceleration. Now we can knock the extra proton from lead and turn it into gold; albeit highly radioactive gold that you couldn't go near for several millennia.
For me, the regime of 30 Days Of Discipline, was the Large Hadron Collider my life needed. For one month, I rose at 5 a.m., took a cold shower, and started a punishing exercise regime, along with a low carb, high protein diet.
Along with this, I meditated and wrote all my ideas down wherever I was and started taking online courses to broaden my skills; this was the start and the gateway to my redemption.
So my new found motivation was fueled by meditation, exercise, education and innovation; however this was not quite enough; all of my new found activities spurred me on and took me to levels of activity and focus I hadn't seen before; and it was good, but not enough.
Enter Modafinil; otherwise known as the Limitless drug; this I felt, was to be the final piece in the puzzle, the thing that would give me the edge I needed.
Modafinil is called the Limitless drug, because of the film of the same name, in the film the main character discovers a drug that increases his cognitive abilities to that of a genius. Suddenly he can learn languages, play the stock market, learn musical instruments; all with absolute ease and perfection. In short, the drug turns him into a genius with the world as his playground.
So after watching the film, I asked the great oracle Google, whether there was any such drug as the one in the film Limitless. Before I even finished typing my question, the search engine had all the answers for me, indeed there was such a drug.
Finally, after 6 months of research, making sure that there were no adverse side-effects; I ordered my first batch. Which incidentally was also my first Bitcoin transaction, aided by my dear friend @bleepcoin.
When I finally got my package through the post and tried Modafinil for the first time; it was like nothing I had ever experienced. Suddenly I could sit down for eight hours and write article after article. No task was too arduous or boring, I felt like I had achieved ultimate motivation.
I started to use Modafinil everyday, and for about a month, I was on a high speed burn, setting up a website and taking 2 courses in accounting and programming. I began to rely on the drug for my motivation; I left all the heavy lifting to Modafinil, and for a while it worked. However I discovered that, whilst Modafinil is an amazing drug, just taking it everyday on its own, soon wears thin.
There was something missing, I stopped taking Modafinil and went back to the drawing board, I ordered some books written by succesful people and started meditating again.
The answer came to me one day, whilst reading The 4 Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris, it was the section where he talks about quantifying your goals. Something which I had only ever done in the vaguest of senses; as I read that chapter, I realised that I could have discovered a golden motivational tactic; I read on...
The Key To Motivation
In a perfect world; goals, lead to motivation; which in turn leads to ambitions fulfilled, however if it were that simple, then more of us would realise our potential, by simply setting goals. If it were that simple, as long as I set goals for myself, I could smoke a ton of weed, knowing that the motivation would just come flowing forth.
It is not necessarily the goals you set for yourself that will motivate you, rather the quantifying of those goal; simply put, what will your life look like, when you reach those goals?
So you might have a goal to make a million dollars; what you have to ask yourself is; why and what will you do with the money when you get it?
By quantifying why you want something, and what you will do when you achieve it, gives it a realism that isn't achieved by simply saying you want it. The reason for this, is that the process encourages you to really examine your future motivations. While you're in this process of self-examination, you may discover that some of your goals, reveal ambitions that don't quite align with your character. In this case you can adjust your goals and bring them more into line with who you are and where you want to go.
A really good example of somebody reassessing their ambitions' after quantifying their goals, comes from the book Dream On, a story of an amateur golfer who attempts to take 33 shots off his game in a single year. For those who don't play golf, this is the equivalent of having a grade school level equivalent in Japanese, and then writing a novel with that language a year later. It's not impossible, but it would be stupendously difficult.
So the author of Dream On, John Richardson states, that he had always fancied that he could be a journeyman pro golf player. At the very least he felt that he should be beating his friends more often at golf, and had ambitions to frustrate his friends with his brilliant play.
John set about the challenge because he loved a challenge, and also he felt it would lead him to the path of wiping the floor with his mates, and perhaps earning a modest living from golf.
The challenge forced John to quantify his goals, and eventually reassess them, ultimately the task helped him see how much work was involved in becoming a really good golfer. Not only that, he saw that the journey of becoming better, would isolate him from his fellow amateurs by becoming too good to play with them. He would have to enter tournaments, and practice 5 days a week for 8 hours a day.
As he stood on the golf course in the driving rain, trying to get closer to his Himalayan task, he realised that the ambitions he had had before, were ones that he didn't really want. He was happy being just a bit better at golf than he currently was, and the challenge revealed that his ambition to be a pro golfer, was really just an ambition to be a freelance worker, who was master of his own destiny.
In the end, regardless of the result of his challenge (I won't spoil it for you), he realised that he needed to change his ambitions in order to regain the motivation in his life that was missing.
Understanding how you are going to get to your goal, why you want to get there, and what will happen once you do, will do wonders for your motivation; it did mine, and that for me, really is the final ingredient.
The Perfect Recipe
So I have found that there is a recipe for motivation, and although it is a personal one; I would imagine that a fair few of the ingredients will work for others as well.
Meditation: In order to focus on important things to you, you need to be able to learn to focus on the simple and the mundane. That is why the exercise of just focusing on your breath, for a couple of minutes a day, will increase your focus. Start with a couple of minutes, and increase by 30 seconds a day; I personally meditate for 15 minutes, at least once a day.
Exercise: Modern life means that we are often sitting down for large periods of the day, leading a sedentary lifestyle will lead to a dulling of your motivation. Therefore it is best to exercise at least lightly, 5 or 6 times a week. If you haven't exercised in a while, set yourself goals that are impossible to fail. Try 2 push ups, 2 sit ups and 2 squats, and add 2 repetitions to each exercise each day, in just a few weeks you'll be into the habit and will be feeling the physical and mental benefits.
Notropic Drugs: These aren't for everyone, and you should definitely not take drug advice directly from me; they worked for me, but won't for everyone. Notropics work by manipulating neurotransmitters (extremely simplified!) and increase focus in the brain. As well as Modafinil there are a whole host of other pharmaceutical and natural notropics. Caffeine, green tea and kratom are 3 examples of natural notropics; research them via Google and always consult a doctor before taking any new drug.
Goal Setting/Quantifying: Without goals there is no ambition, and therefore no motivation, so it is important to set goals which will act as stepping stones to get to where you want to be. However examine, your ultimate goal and all the little steps leading up to it. Think about what your life will be like when striving for, and achieving your goals. If you find you don't like what you feel when you're thinking about them, then set new goals. This will have the knock-on effect of making you more open minded and amenable to change.
These are what help me carry on my love affair with hashish, whilst still maintaining the drive to develop, improve and fulfill my life's ambitions as best as I can, and hopefully, regardless of whether you smoke or not, they will help you too.
As ever, take care and keep Steemin'