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Corporate Addict America

The U.S. Supreme Court decided last year that corporations are people and so, to some extent, they are.

Corporations are certainly run by people and those people often think and behave addictively, as defined in my book Addict America: The Lost Connection.

"Obsessive, compulsive, out of control behavior done in spite of negative consequences to self and others" is the simple definition of addiction. At its heart, addictive behavior is driven by the need to feel good about oneself and to overcome those messages from early childhood which we have internalized – "I'm not good enough," "I'm worthless," "I'm a failure," and "I'm not important" to name a few. When parents are critical, when we are compared to our siblings and found lacking, or when we are simply ignored, we take in these messages and carry them into adulthood and all subsequent events are filtered through them.

So it's no wonder that corporate CEOs, presidents, and board members continually need more and more external validation to prove their worth. They reach their positions of authority because of their continual striving for self-worth, but nothing is ever enough, because they are trying to fill an internal emptiness with external gratification. Therein lies the addiction.

When we see a corporation that is already making billions yet refuses to pay its workers a decent wage, we ask, "What is that all about?" In terms of addiction, though, it makes perfect sense, because the people in charge are trying to drive their profits high enough to make the world see that they are important, good enough, worthwhile, and successful. The problem is, that doesn't work, and so the negative consequences are that these people still carry their negative messages and everyone around them and under them suffers.

We do have some heroes in the corporate world – Bill Gates and Warren Buffett quickly come to mind. These are men who built their worlds by doing something they enjoy and at which they naturally excel, not from a compulsion to beat everyone else and prove their own worth.

We need to personally define success as it relates to our own quality of life, which is an internal value, rather than success as defined by what we think others admire. When we enjoy what we are doing and we are being creative or helping others, we will not be focused on what we don't have. We can be in recovery, be in the moment, and feel fulfilled.

Let's pray for that light to come into those corporate souls and shine on everyone whose lives they effect.

Be In Light