The addict.

Culturally, there is so much disdain for addiction; for the addict, which has always fascinated me because the human race are all addicts in some form or another. We need look nowhere else but in the mirror to explore the mind and heart of the addict; however, the reflection of that examination is too raw and harsh and we instinctively look away.

Here on day 3 of our journey through “Turning Pro,” Steven focuses on the addict and explains that addictions are encrypted versions of our true calling. Examine the addiction long enough and you’ll discover what you’re running from and consequently, what you’re meant to do; who you’re meant to be and what you want.

Going along with my previous posts, I believe that addictions, as a fearful and cowardly pursuit of our true calling, are natural ways to deal with the world while we grow up. They keep us sane because there are things that come at us that we are not prepared to deal with – we package them up in neat little boxes and store them away in the hall closet of our subconscious.

At some point along the way, our closet is incapable of holding anything else and we are forced to do some unpacking – one addiction/distraction/displacement at a time.

This happened to me around age 39 (I’m 42 at the writing of this post). There was a point where I felt like I would “Hulk-out” at any moment and it was because I had boxes that needed storing, but no room in the closet.

A close friend helped me realize what was going on and was there with me as I unpacked some large boxes from the back of the closet.

As I look back on that time of hard work, other things started falling into place. I felt the professional start to emerge. I had been a technologist (a wide-range of technical skills) for more than a dozen years, but really started to find user experience design as something that gave me energy and true enjoyment. It allows the artist (someone who understands artistic principles, not the artist referenced in the book) and the geek to come together harmoniously.

Mr. Pressfield says that Resistance (the force that keeps us in amateur status) hates two things: focus (he calls it concentration) and depth. Focus is a skill; a willful and concerted effort to not be distracted. Depth comes from focusing on the few things that keep the clock wound.

Being a technologist – one who had no depth, has been revealed today as very amateur-ish. I loved being the hero; to be praised for solving all of the problems. Feel the ego in that? I do…ouch.

The pro in me has much more focus and depth – and being better at the one helps being better at the other.