Did you know that humans are the only species who harbour addictions?
As I look back I realise I have held a number of them over the course of my life. Starting with cigarettes, then alcohol and other mind-numbing drugs, through to coffee, and then less tangible things like technology, work, exercise and even love.
One of the biggest changes in becoming a full time coach is reducing the amount of emails I receive and having less need for technology. I’d craved this for a long time and yet after the transition I still found myself attached to my phone and addicted to what the internet might teach me. Many studies have been written on what modern technology does to the brain but it was during a session with a client in which he described the same thing that I saw the truth of it.
When we look to the outside world to give us answers we outsource our wisdom.
Each of us is unique and nowadays we so rarely listen to our own truths. Perhaps we’re scared of it, of what it might tell us about how we’re choosing to live, of where it might lead us.
For the first few years that I ran my own PR company I was in a constant state of distraction. Work addiction was something I aspired to, rewarded myself for, yet underneath it all I was full of anxiety. It took my current partner to come along and break it, to transform it into a new addiction for his love. It would be another two years before I would realise that to break that I needed to extend that love to myself.
Addictions aren’t easy to see and even if we do manage to spot them a glass of wine a night can easily be replaced with a slab of dark chocolate, the craving to press send/receive or the adrenaline of that morning run. So what many people might say? If it brings pleasure then why shouldn’t we?
I’m addicted to self-development. I love to explore new parts of myself, it’s not always pretty but once I see far enough into the shadows I feel more whole for it. But recently I’ve started to query that quest, for isn’t it the same as any other addition? What am I searching for exactly and will I ever reach my destination?
In fact many studies prove the reason for these addictions is that there is no known destination. In ancient times we had religion to give us purpose and since science filled that space we’ve lost our sense of meaning. We feel empty and use addictions to fill up the void.
Previously culture told us what to believe but now individuality is celebrated we are starting to create our own sense of meaning. As we overcome and understand our addictions there’s been a rise in the quest for jobs that give us purpose. We each have a choice to decide what our lives look like now and we have more power individually than at any point in human history.
What meaning do you want to create from your life?
What purpose do you want to contribute towards the collective?
If you struggle with these questions then look back on your life and consider your greatest achievements and biggest challenges. What did they teach you?
What meaning did they give and and where do you want to go from here?
In the future perhaps instead of asking what we do for a living we’ll ask about the purpose of our lives. We are by nature curious creatures after all who are only just beginning to understand the depths of our subconscious.
By living in addiction we give up our power. By overcoming them we take it back. Recreating ourselves over and over to learn more about who we truly are and who we could one day be.