You and Addictions!

Computer keyboard

Based on an article by Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes of the Adizes Institute

Based on an article by Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes of the Adizes Institute

Aside from addictions to foods and certain feelings I’m discovering that as technology advances to “serve me” I’m increasingly losing control over my life.

The often – told wonderful Zen story illustrates this point:

A peasant walks a road with a rope in his hand, at the other end of which is a cow.

“Why do you allow the cow to control you?” a passer-by asks.

“It is not controlling me, I am in control” the peasant replies.

“If you are in control why don’t you let go of then rope then?” the passer by challenges.

What you control, also controls you. It is NEVER a one-way street.

Technological advances are the same. They make our lives more pleasant granted, but as our dependence increases sometimes to the point of addiction, we can’t live without them!

It is rare that I go to an appointment now when people don’t come to the meeting and place some sort of message device on the table and proceed to flick their eyes from me to the device and back and forth.

We gather for short periods of time with supposedly the express aim of focussing our attention on resolving a business issue or to simply spend time with another human being.

But we can’t let these devices out of our sight and as a result these small blocks of time together are being diluted by the constant distraction of a flashing red light indicating the arrival of undoubtedly another mission critical email, a vibrating phone or a “peep” signalling yet another “super critical SMS”.

All this to me is truly one of the more bizarre behaviour patterns of the modern executive today!

Dr Adizes feels the same could be said of people’s increasing time spent with social network creating devices. In his words:

“There are so many of these things available that my productivity is gong down not up! Have you ever calculated how much time you spend on these things?”

Why do we behave like this? Addiction. We are addicted to knowing that someone needs us, wants us or is there for us. Dr Adizes believes this is an “I” addiction, an addiction to affiliating. This is extremely potent because humans needs to interrelate and connect. The most severe form of prison punishment is solitary confinement, where prisoners lose their sense of being human.

And now this need of ours to relate is being exploited as a result of Internet technology enabling it. Adizes quoted the example of his teenage son who spends enormous amounts of time in chat rooms. Taking away his internet privileges results in a revolt exactly as if solitary confinement had been prescribed. 

Technology seems to free to us. True it frees us from isolation by making communication easier and more pleasant but on the other hand it enslaves and controls us because we become dependant on it.

So what to do?

Stopping the advance of technology cannot and should not be done. What is needed is self-discipline.

As with other addictions, it is those who have the power to say “NO” who will survive. No to toxic foods, drugs and addictive technology. No to endless opportunities, that if we chase them all, leave us with no time to live”

Success is increasingly awarded to those who have inner strength.

Success is not “out there”. It is “in here”.

And thus the problems we have are not “there’ but “here”. We looked for the enemy and found it.