Monday, February 26, 2018

Addiction - It's an unfair advantage

"You will never know love like an addict and their vice " -- Anonymous 

I wish I had an elevator pitch that was this concise. Anyone who has spent a small amount of time around me will know I suffer from an addictive personality; hear me out, this is a force of good. 

An "addictive personality" is a colloquial or informal term based on the belief that certain people have a particular set of personality traits that predisposes them to addiction and other problematic behaviors, such as drug abuse or gambling . Although it is a fairly common concept, there is no medical or scientific definition of an "addictive personality" or "addictive personality disorder."
The article goes further to define personality traits that can lead to addiction:

Impulsivity, Sensation-seeking behavior, Negative affect, Negative urgency, Neuroticism, Disagreeableness, Narcissism, Aggression. 

  • Impulsive - Check - although I have learned to keep this in check by slow thinking exercises.
  • Sensation-seeking - Check
  • Narcissism - Depends on which of my ex's you talk to
  • Aggression - I am the most loyal friend a person can have, but god help you if we are enemies. 

Since there is no full DSM / Medical definition for this complex it is left to individuals and their practitioners to decide.

Over the years I have suffered from minor addictions, I am biologically wired for novelty and when I find something I love, nothing stops me from becoming the master of my domain. Sprinkle in a constant struggle with Nicotine addiction and I think I fit the bill moderately well.

So why is this a good thing?

Luckily I know where to draw my lines when it comes to vices and substance and have strict boundaries - if it is unhealthy/damaging and I suspect I will like it, I never try it. Sorry meth, maybe in another life.

Some of my friends who have been on this wild ride with me (life) for a few years will know, I swing in body weight by about 30lbs pretty consistently. Why?  Because of addiction. Whenever I find myself getting back into exercise, I don't just dip a toe in and establish a healthy life style, I go whole-hog. 7 days a week, multiple times a day. It's an unfair advantage, I become addicted. Unfortunately for my waist line, I never end up loving it enough to end up with a new long term addiction.

Oh well that is just the eb and flow of life.

Now lets look at how this affects my professional life?

I love what I do for a living, I don't have children, so for me, work is life. Dare I say it sets me, no no no, we won't say that.

It is just an unfair advantage. You can't be my competitor.

You don't get it, do you? 80 hour work weeks? Unacceptable, the addict in me craves 130 hours. I am never off. You are eating dinner with your family, me? I am snorting lines of Soylent Green while developing a new business plan/piece of technology/method of crushing you.

3AM Saturday - Wake up in middle of night to use the bathroom...
- First thought, lets find that bathroom
- Second thought, did I sleep enough so I can return to my work?

6AM Sunday - Is it to early to start sending emails to employees?

11:45PM Tuesday - Why don't these customers work harder and reply at all hours of the day?

12:15PM Thursday - I can't believe people take lunch so regularly, how can they eat with all this anxiety around returning to their computers.

8:00AM Friday - Oh no, must hurry, half of my contacts vanish in a few hours for something they call the weekend, I just don't get it.

How can you compete against someone who get's a dopamine rush from working every waking hour of the day?

I just don't know how to play and relax. Because playing and relaxing is stressful, I can feel the cortisol levels backing up. This isn't good, it makes me angry, I have to return to my work. Just a small hit, I swear I won't abuse it, just one more bump of this drug called power point, maybe a few quick lines of code. I swear I won't use it all up - OK, maybe my inner narcissist it lying... gimme all those PDFs, and give them to me now.

While you are busy burning out, I am getting high on my own supply. Biggie Smalls got it all wrong.

1 comment:

  1. YES. this is probably the single biggest reason i'm not an entrepreneur. i just don't get hungry enough. more power to you!