The other night while doing some research, I came across a man I had never heard of named Rich Roll (http://www.richroll.com/bio/). I was fascinated by his story of personal transformation. He went from being an overweight alcoholic to being one of the fittest, healthiest men in the world—all due to a change not only in his way of eating, but his way of being in the world.
It’s likely we all have addictive personalities to some degree. It’s just that not every addiction is visible. Just because our addiction is obsessive worrying, or nagging, or pornography, or complaining, or approval, or being right, or being the smartest person in the room, doesn’t make it any less an addiction.
The sad thing for many with obvious addictions is that their shame is usually laid bare, out in the open, for all to see. If someone has an addiction to food and is overweight, then every time they go to the snack machine in the office and come back to their desk with a candy bar, that voice of shame has to be silenced long enough to eat the candy. Thing is, someone else might have the same addiction but be fortunate enough to be born with high metabolism so no one ever knows. The drug addict passed out in the alley can’t hide their addiction either.
In Rich’s case, the shame of his addiction was compounded by the fact that, for a long time, no one knew about it because he managed to maintain his job while trying to hide his alcoholism.
But many hide their allegedly lesser addictions by the simple fact that they’re not obvious. Other “lesser” addictions are accepted by society and because they’re so accepted, no one sees them as addictions and, worse yet, glorifies them. Addiction to success and money, to beauty, to security, to perfection, to feeling superior over others via religion, political views, or knowledge, to name a few. And as long as they remain hidden and unacknowledged, they are also damaging to us and to those around us.
The other, more uplifting, conclusion that can be drawn from Rich Roll’s story is that addiction is really misdirected passion. All the energy, time, and focus that once went into alcohol and escapism were redirected in this man’s life so that now he is living out the opposite of what he once was. He’s using all the same tools he already had. He’s just redirecting them into something that feeds his soul and his life rather than sucks life out.
Let this be encouragement to you that whatever your struggle—whether visible to others or invisible, whether hidden or revealed—if you take the same energy and focus it instead towards creating what you do want rather than avoiding what you don’t want, you will likely see miraculous results.
Think about a glass of water that has a bunch of dirt in it. If you were to try and pick every piece of dirt out grain by grain, you might quickly grow frustrated and give up. But if you simply put the glass under a faucet of water, the clean water will eventually flush out the dirt and you will have a clean glass of water.
You can start today. One action at a time in the direction of what you do want. You may not be transformed overnight. But you will certainly be one step closer. You get to take part in recreating the story you are living by telling yourself a different story. Instead of focusing on getting rid of the negative things you don’t like about your life, or that you want to be rid of, if each day you add positive things, positive thoughts, positive behaviors, you will be planting seeds to a better, more purposeful, fulfilling life. And you, like Rich Roll, might go on to be a world influencer and someone that others look to for inspiration on overcoming seeming impossibilities.
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