Understanding Addictive Behavior

Don’t complain you don’t have enough time, if what you’re doing all night and all weekends is watching the f-ing House of Cards, and playing games for three hours.

I heard Gary Vaynerchuck saying this many times, it gets stuck in my head. Our addiction to certain things, particularly the not so productive thing affect our daily life without us realizing it. It’s the time thief – binge watching, watching YouTube video, or merely reading. Sometimes, it’s just hard to understand why are we addicted to certain things and not the other.

So, I come to watch this – a TedTalk.

How to Make a Behavior Addictive: Zoë Chance at TEDxMillRiver

In this video, the speaker, Zoe Chance said that,

In order for a behavior to be addictive, it has to fulfill at least 3 of the 6 human needs (as described by Tony Robbins)

1. Certainty

It’s when we understand how things work. For example, when we know if we do certain thing, we will get certain result. And when we do it and then we really get it, that’s when the thing starts to become addictive.

2. Uncertainty

To balance the certainty, the element of variety and surprise is another thing that makes us addicted. That’s why people take risk and try new things. Or else, it will get boring.

3. Significance

The need to have a meaning. To be good at something. To be special and wanted. We want to be qualified at something and for others to look up to us on that.

4. Connection

Without connection, life is lonely. The need for connection is the need for approval, attachment and validation by other human being. Significance is the inner factor – our strength from within, while connection is the outer factor i.e family, friends and community.

5. Growth

The need for constant emotional, intellectual and spiritual development. It’s a need for self actualisation. We want to be better at the one thing we are significant at. Growth is also improving ourself to find more things that makes us significant. To be more than who we are.

6. Contribution

This is the married elements of growth and connection. The need to give, care, protect and serves others from what we are good at. To be able to contribute and give value to others is a very rewarding feeling.

Zoe shared the story of her own experience being addicted to a pedometer, and how it made her count her steps like a freak, until she broke her neck. Then, she brought the audience to relate the pedometer story with all the 6 human needs. She also explained by relating the theory with flashmob from the time when it wasn’t so famous until it becomes so viral and trendy.

Despite my search to understand how we could stop an addiction, Zoe closed her speech by encouraging people to establish good habits by using this framework – looking from the perspective on how a habit could fulfill the human needs and make life more rewarding and satisfying. Positive thinker.

Well anyway all in all, I think it makes sense. Totally.