Do You Have the Symptoms of Affluenza?
There’s an insidious disease going around, and it’s woven into the very culture that surrounds us.
It’s called affluenza.
According to Dr. Jessie O’Neill, affluenza is a “dysfunctional relationship with money, wealth, or its pursuit.”
John de Graaf, the producer of the PBS documentary Affluenza, lists the following:
1. An epidemic of stress, overwork, shopping, and debt caused by the “dogged pursuit of the American Dream.”
2. The bloated, sluggish, and unfulfilled feeling that results from one’s efforts to keep up with the Joneses.
3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Dr. Jesse O’Neill also states that:
• In corporations and businesses it manifests itself as a loss of personal and professional productivity, high turnover rate among CEOs and employees, and an increase in sick days;
• In individuals, it takes the form of a dysfunctional or unhealthy relationship with money, regardless of one’s socio-economic level. It manifests itself as behaviours resulting from a preoccupation with, or imbalance around, the money in our lives.
• loss of personal and professional productivity
• loss of future motivation
• inability to delay gratification or tolerate frustration
• low self-esteem
• low self-worth
• loss of self-confidence
• preoccupation with externals
• high regard for outer-self/low regard for inner-self
• sudden wealth syndrome
• sudden poverty syndrome
So if you have some of these symptoms, what can you DO about them?
First: Be aware of the symptoms.
Awareness is key to living a full and joyous life.
Second: Clear the cause.
Instead of trying to make more money, get a bigger RRSP account, etc., first, think about what achieving these goals will do for your well-being. You may discover that pursuing them isn’t worth it.
Third: Simplify your life.
Imagine being free of the need for the “material” way of life.
It’s certainly okay to have things, but the problems arise when we become chained to debt to get the material objects we think will bring us a feeling of completion. No “thing” can bring us fulfilment. Only we can create the kind of inner peace and joy that being connected to life can bring. As Art Buchwald famously said, “The best things in life aren’t things.”
So ask yourself, “Do I really need this in my life? Or can I do without it?” And when you know the answer is no, do yourself a favour and stop pursuing it.
Business & Leadership Coach
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