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Ed Latimore: From Boxer to Creator
Recovering from addiction, wisdom from boxing, plus writing
Ed Latimore is a former professional boxer turned writer and creator. After retiring from 7 years of boxing, Ed turned his attention towards writing about personal development: he openly shares his recovery journey from addiction, and his knowledge on building mental resilience. He writes a newsletter, Stoic Street-Smarts, and has authored several books, including "Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Superpower," and "Sober Letters To My Drunken Self".
Ahead of the release of Ed’s appearance on Infinite Loops (dropping Thursday, 6th of April), here’s an edited version of the pre-interview primer we prepared on some of the key ideas and themes in Ed’s writing.
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Mindset & Self-improvement
How to become a good man
Wisdom from the hood & boxing
Writing & Creating
Theme 1: Overcoming Addiction
“Reclaiming your identity is a major part of recovery...At the root of an alcohol problem is an identity problem. We start drinking because we don’t yet know our place in the world and alcohol exaggerates the feelings of belonging and acceptance.”
One can be wildly successfully and highly functioning, yet still an addict to harmful substances or habits.
The first step to overcome addiction, is to clearly acknowledge the addiction, and actively want to stop the addictive behaviors.
Overcoming addiction is not only about fighting the dopamine reward system. It is also about getting rid of one’s identity as an addict.
How to create a new, non-addict identity: pursue activities and relationships that do not tolerate addictive behaviors.
Relapse is very common. So much so that it is part of the recovery process.
How to prevent relapse: learn to control oneself and delay gratification, then improve our environments and a support group .
A person can get addicted to anything, positive ones and negative ones alike. One can get addicted to alcohol and porn, as much as one can get addicted to working out and self-discipline.
Persistence over time is the only thing that works: recovery takes a long time and is a big commitment – it’s not a fling. You need to stick with it.
You may go through a period of withdrawal and feel physically bad, but in the long-term, every aspect of your life gets better.
Quotes & Sources
“Reclaiming your identity is a major part of recovery...At the root of an alcohol problem is an identity problem. We start drinking because we don’t yet know our place in the world and alcohol exaggerates the feelings of belonging and acceptance.” (Book: Sober Letters for My Drunk Self)
“If an alcoholic doesn’t want to stop, then they won’t stick it out.” (Book: Sober Letters for My Drunk Self)
“In fact, relapse is so common after addiction that it’s considered a phase of the recovery cycle.” (Source)
“There are people who have a drinking problem and people who have problems when they drink.” (Source)
“The truth is I can’t afford to drink. Not in the financial sense, but in the opportunity cost that comes with drinking.” (Source)
Article: How to stop relapsing for good
Theme 2: Mindset & Self-improvement
“By delaying gratification, you force yourself to look into the future and plan for things that could go wrong. This is how a person becomes successful: they plan for what can go wrong, execute their plan when it does, and remain in a position to improve rather than recover.”
In life, you need to build resilience – by facing the things that scare you and then surpassing them. This is how you find strength in your mind.
Live strategically, live with a view from on high. It means having a plan of development for yourself, and don’t fall into the tactical hell of reacting to everything.
Pushing through pain is where progress happens. That’s why athletes have a different relationship to pain, and can tolerate pain at a much higher level.
Keeping a good manner is important and never makes a situation worse: for example, always acknowledging your mistakes when you mess up.
If you truly care about someone, you must be prepared to help them face the uncomfortable facts. In other words, give them some tough love. If they are receptive to your advice, the trust between you will deepen.
How to Become a Good Man
To mature as a man, you need to learn to solve problems before they become problems, and take ownership of yourself as well as your environment.
You need to work on yourself to become a better man. For example, making personal development a priority in your life, building self-discipline, and developing good financial and social habits.
Before you can attract quality partners, you need to become a quality man first. For example, you need to learn new skills, develop interesting hobbies, and get rid of bad habits.
When you have interrelationship conflicts, you must think how you can make both sides win. Don’t focus on trying to defeat the other person.
Unconditional love is a dangerous thing because it makes you complacent. You should have to earn and maintain love, affection, and bonds of another person.
Wisdom from Boxing and growing up in the hood
Don’t get outworked by a crackhead: learn their stamina and mental toughness, and get serious at doing things instead of talking.
Find something that gets you driven, something that you want as badly as a crackhead wants crack, and dedicate your work towards it.
In ghettos where aggressors pick their targets, you need to stand up for yourself and show you are willing to fight them. More broadly in life, the willingness to fight is more important than actually fighting and the outcome of the fight.
Street smarts are very different from book smarts. To be street smart, you need to take the good and bad things that happen to you, and learn from them all the same. Street smarts come from a lot of experience and getting your hands dirty. Learning from bad judgments you make is an essential step towards acquiring street smarts.
The Notorious B.I.G’s 10 Crack Commandments are a raw education in the viciousness of human nature. Many are also applicable in general life situations to develop good personal and financial habits. For example, be careful with who you hang out with, don’t take on debt you can’t handle, and don’t mix business and pleasure.
Quotes & Sources
“Make it a point to fill your life with challenging tasks. Build relationships that hold you to a higher standard.” (Book: Not Caring What Other People Think is a Superpower)
“Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline. Simulated fear postulates courage. Simulated weakness postulates strength.” (Same as above)
“By delaying gratification, you force yourself to look into the future and plan for things that could go wrong. This is how a person becomes successful: they plan for what can go wrong, execute their plan when it does, and remain in a position to improve rather than recover.” (Source)
1 crackhead = 10 normal men...”If someone becomes a crackhead, they’ve committed to smoking crack. They aren’t half-assing it with weed. ...They’re a crackhead, through and through, because they decided to smoke crack and they stuck to it...Your problem is that you want it both ways. You want all the accolades of hard work without actually having to work hard. Hard work is unpleasant. This is why most people don’t do it. This is also why most people don’t get what they want out of life.” (Source)
“Boxing quickly teaches you the difference between being “hurt” and “injured”. Both conditions result in discomfort and pain but aren’t the same...You can continue to train and fight through being hurt. It’s merely a matter of pain tolerance. Sometimes it’s intense but not debilitating...Injury is debilitating. Injury is an actual change in your condition that prevents performance. You can’t do anything through injury.” (Source)
Article: The 31 ways to be a better man
Article: Crackhead work ethics
Article: How to be street smart
Twitter thread: Lessons learned from growing up with a single mom
Theme 3: Writing & Creating
“However, there is no special way to say something. There is no special topic to write about that will please everyone. There is only authenticity. The purpose of your writing isn’t even really to entertain, educate, or inspire. The real purpose of your writing is to communicate the ideas in your head.”
Writing is very important because it turns thoughts into reality, helps you set goals, and remember good ideas.
Writing also makes you mentally tougher, because by writing and sharing your ideas, you open up yourself to criticism. But no matter what people say, keep writing and building your body of work.
Learning science and math helps with writing, because they help you build a large vocabulary, and demands precision and efficiency in communications.
An essential part of becoming a good writer is to live a meaningful life, and learn from that life experience.
Writing authentically is key to good writing, because authenticity is impossible to fake. And the key to authentic writing is passionate living.
Quotes & Sources
“Why I quit boxing: People are genuinely interested in my writing and what’s in my mind, making a living putting my body at risk simply no longer makes sense.” (Source)
“I want to say things in a way that makes people think about things differently and change the world while doing so.” (Source)
“However, there is no special way to say something. There is no special topic to write about that will please everyone. There is only authenticity. The purpose of your writing isn’t even really to entertain, educate, or inspire. The real purpose of your writing is to communicate the ideas in your head.” (Source)
“I'm not worried about people *now* I'm worried about 20 yrs from now, when the teenagers who want to be influencers and youtubers are adults.” (Source)
Article: Why I quit boxing
Amazon book reviews: Not caring what other people think is a superpower; Sober letters to my drunk self
Article: Coffee so black