“Most people tend to delude themselves into thinking that freedom comes from doing what feels good or what fosters comfort and ease. The truth is that people who subordinate reason to their feelings of the moment are actually slaves of their desires and aversions.” Epictetus
When do you experience freedom?
You might think this is a strange question. You might even catch yourself thinking “I’m not enslaved by anything!” This is an invitation to consider a broader look at freedom and addiction. I find myself wondering if we are living in the “Age of Addiction”?
Epictetus’ advise is definitely counter-culture for us! Have you noticed how just about everything advertized is in one way or another connecting us to a pain? The promise is that this widget or that service will help us feel better. Popular sales training programs remind us to “find their pain” as they teach us how to sell to potential clients. We live in an age where everything is valued by how it makes us feel.
Have you ever experienced addiction? You have if there is anything in your life that overrides your reason, causes you to violate your principles and / or moral code or is unhealthy in any way.
Consider the following list of addictions, which are not found in a typical list of addictions:
- work-a-holics (can’t take a vacation because there’s too much work to do or no one can do it but me)
- people pleasers (an obsessive need for the good opinion of others
- making money in order to see a big bank account (think Scrooge in A Christmas Carol)
- materialism (keeping up with the Jone’s-itus or “I have to have the first, the newest or the most expensive in my circle of friends)
These are all areas small business owners are especially susceptible to. What to do if you recognize yourself? Simple, but notice I did not say easy.
- Self-awareness and changing how you think.
- Accountability: Are you addicted to watching too much TV? Find an accountability partner with whom you can check in on a daily basis how much TV you watch each day.
- Develop a healthy alternative and create a support network of friends who will participate in the healthy alternative with you.
Let’s not pass our delusions on to the next generation. There are even more areas of addiction facing our children….just think of all the digital opportunities or perhaps I could say “digital traps” available for addiction.
FYI: Epictetus, a Greek philosopher and teacher was born around 55 A.D. and died 135 A.D. He was born a slave but so impressed his owner, secretary to Nero, that his owner set him free, paid for his education and later set up a school so he could teach others his philosophy.