Here’s my new favorite concept: positive addiction. I just love the sound of it. It’s righteous and honest—a great combo. “I’m hooked, but it’s all good. No, really. I’m addicted, but it is positively healthy.” I like it.
I was talking to a friend today (okay, it was my shrink) about my almost, no my definitely, insatiable need for the entrepreneurial rush. “It’s a total high for me.” I explained. “Going from zero to sixty. I mean the very definition of velocity [distance over time] makes me ecstatic. I love having an idea when I’m walking the dog late at night, and then, in about six weeks, actually making money from that late night glimmering or seeing it on paper. And, when I can help other people get a rush on it?! It’s pure juicy juice. I need that juice. Want…more…juice.”
“So what’s the problem?” my Jew-Bu shrink asks.
“Well, I’m not sure that kind of boldness is meaningful. Truly meaningful. Like, love and closeness and friendship.” I looked out the window, looking for the answer. Looked at him, ‘cause I’m paying him for answers.
“Positive addiction,” he diagnosed. “It’s a healthy high; it makes you stronger. As long as the craving for it doesn’t take you over, then it’s cool.”
Dr. William Glasser, M.D. wrote a book about it (in, like, 1976), aptly named Positive Addiction. “A positive addict uses his extra strength to gain more love and more worth, more pleasure, more meaning, more zest from life in general.” Sounds about right to me.
He Gives Positive Addiction These Six Criteria:
1. It is something noncompetitive that you choose to do and you can devote an hour (approximately) a day to it.
How about forty hours a week, minimum?
2. It is possible for you to do it easily, and it doesn’t take a great deal of mental effort to do it well.
3. You can do it alone or rarely with others, but it does not depend upon others to do it.
That rules out sex addiction—if any of you were thinking that—but it clearly does not rule out something you can do alone, just in case you were thinking of that.
4. You believe that it has some value (physical, mental, or spiritual) for you.
You betchya! Me and the world, baby, the world!
5. You believe that if you persist at it, you will improve, but this is completely subjective—you need to be the only one who measures that improvement.
Like Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up.”
6. The activity must have the quality that you can do it without criticizing yourself.
That rules out consuming chocolate, because I still tend to criticize myself for mass consumption of Skor bars.
Whether my drive for strategic creativity is a positive addiction or not, the very notion of re-framing it is incredibly liberating. I want what I want because it feels good. And it’s taken me a good part of my adult life to fine-tune my circuitry of sensation to be clear about those life-affirming desires—the good, the bad, and the positively addictive.
What’s your positive addiction? Fess up and be proud.
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Danielle LaPorte is the author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success on Your Own Terms(Random House/Crown). An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she is the co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Her next online program launches November 2012, called DESIRE: The Map to What You Truly Want.
Over a million visitors have gone to DanielleLaPorte.com for her straight-up advice — a site that’s been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality”, and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes.
*Photo by Brother O’Mara.
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