4 Ways to Combat the Disease of More

I have somewhat of a man-crush on a guy I’ll likely never meet. It started about two years ago when I stumbled upon one of his books.

When someone asks me who my favorite writer is, I typically say “James Altucher.” He and I would disagree about some fundamental things in our lives, but I love the way he writes.

He’s honest, raw, extremely candid. And he’s been wildly successful because of it.

Further, he’s a tremendous interviewer. He runs a podcast and it’s fascinating to hear him get to deep, sometimes dark, places with his guests in a matter of a few minutes.

photo courtesy: unsplash.com

See, I’m crushing again. He’s great.

Last week, he had a guest on his show named Turney Duff. I’d never heard of him until that podcast.

Turney has an incredible story, you should listen to their interview here.

I was gripped by the things that Turney went through as he climbed to the top of Wall Street, made more money than most people could dream of, secured all the power he could want in New York City and threw himself in the gutter in the process.

Drugs, sex, cheating, lying, addiction.

He said something in that interview that has rattled around in my head for over a week now. In response to James asking him what the problem was that he was facing, Turney said:

“I had the disease of more.”

He went on to unpack how his chase for more damn near killed him. More fame, more money, more power, more sex, more highs.

More. More. More.

The reality is we’re all sick with this same disease. We may hide it better than he did when he was on his cocaine-induced, sleep-deprived benders, but we have the same disease.

If only I can get that promotion…

If only we can move to that neighborhood…

If only she would see what I do for this family…

If only he would look at me that way again…

If only I could call the shots…

Like Turney realized, it’s a deadly game. More won’t satisfy. In fact, most often, it further fuels and breeds an unhealthy addiction.

It’s like chasing a receipt that’s blowing away in the parking lot when it flies out of your shopping cart.

You sprint after it. The receipt stops. And the second you reach your foot out to stomp on it, it blows away.

The disease of more. The hope that fulfillment comes with that next thing, only to realize it’s further away yet again.

Here are four ways I’m working on my own disease of more:

  1. Admit It – like most addictions, admitting you have a problem is the first big step. The danger is when we believe we’re immune.
  2. Grow in Awareness – admitting the problem leads to a heightened sense of awareness when we start to stray, when we start to believe the lie that more “fill in the blank” will give us what we’re searching for. When we’re aware, it leads to the third point.
  3. Ask for Help – most of us have people in our lives that are ready and willing to help fight this disease alongside us. But they can’t help if we don’t ask.
  4. Arrange Priorities – Turney talked about the things that actually mean something now that his disease was brought to light – friendships, his relationship with his daughter, the career projects he’s working on, his care for doing the right things. Working through the disease sheds light on reclaiming meaning in the things that matter most to us.

More is certainly an alluring concept. We’re bombarded with the false promise that it will actually satisfy.

For me, I’m fighting to shift my focus from more – to enough.



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