Read the passage below, from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged…
Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.
But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others.
Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the Morality of Life and that yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.
I’ve known the above passage almost by heart for many years. When I was on Adderall, I was a hero at work. I would produce and produce and produce, while all my friends were “lazy” and did things like “went out and had fun”. So I could usually read Ayn Rand’s quotes about heroic work and feel pretty good about myself. But that one line — “Fight for the virtue of your pride.” — always gave me pause, always invited a whisper of doubt and accusation.
Now, more than 2 years after quitting Adderall, so much about my life is a mess. So unworthy of a titan like Ayn Rand, the hero’s hero.Â But the few things I am proud of — the things I have created from nothing, without Adderall, through shear force of will and passion — oh, how brightly they shine; much brighter than anything else I created in my former life with the pills.
I may have lost everything else I used to value, but damnit, I have won back the virtue of my pride. And so will you.