Posted by: Brad Stanford | November 15, 2013

True Experience vs Addiction

Addiction happens when the amount of pleasure derived from the activity is just an advertisement of what’s possible. A slight hit on the pleasure center makes people want to experience it again.

However, an actual awesome experience often has a “been there, done that” feeling to it.

Sure I’ll go on a roller coaster again. And also, I’m not saving up any money to go to an amusement park anytime soon. In fact, I only thought of a roller coaster just now as an analogy. I haven’t thought of one in I don’t know how long.

Addiction is about a lot of little fake-outs. True experiences leave nothing left to be desired.

As a young man, I couldn’t believe that there could be a creature called an “ex-pilot”. How could you ever stop flying? I now know how: You get your fill of that experience. There’s nothing more you personally want out of it.

The worst place to be is when you recognize your addiction, and you’ve had your fill of it, but there’s nothing else to replace it with. Now, not only are you addicted, but it’s no longer providing pleasure, but it’s the only pleasure you know, so you’re stuck.

But the real stuff – bucket list stuff – only appears on the to-do list once.

That’s a good way to tell which type of activity you’re engaged in.

(There’s a fine line between mastery and addiction. Mastery takes a lot of repetition and practice to achieve a difficult end. The practice can be a pleasure of its own, but it’s not enough to keep you going. Only the actual item – “master flying” – provides enough motivation to keep you going until you check it off the list. Addiction on the other hand provides just enough pleasure each time to make you return for the exact same thing every time. There’s no progress with addiction, only a downward spiral.)

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