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Addiction is not about substances or behaviors, but is about disrupting the processing of pleasure; Science also tells us that stress alters the way we think. Parts of the brain that help us problem-solve shut down at times of stress, fueling impulsive behavior. When this behavior becomes excessive, the brain interprets the feelings as positive and cannot recognize the long-term consequences, telling us this is good; The good news in looking at the science is to know that the brain has plasticity to it. That means the practices people learn in treatment and in recovery affect brain function in a positive manner. An addict can learn skills to calm the emotionally reactive area of the brain, avoid triggers that activate the emotional area, and enhance the decision-making area where he can rationally think through his decisions, rather than responding impulsively and from such a strong emotional basis. THE ADDICTIVE CYCLE The Master Tinkerer Kai's boundary-breaking in water sports is rooted in the progressive thinking of those who came before him. Many giant leaps in what is believed to be possible can be attributed to Laird Hamilton, whose experimentation created whole new ways to ride waves, like tow-in surfing, foiling, and stand-up paddleboarding. Here's what Laird said about his innovations. I needed to improve my board control and balance in the summer to prepare for the winter storms, but there's no surf in Hawaii in the summer. I also wanted to take my kids out with me, so we began riding these bigger boards together. I saw benefits of manipulating these longer boards and then decided I didn't want to have to lie down to paddle into each wave. So I made this paddle and suddenly I could go out in flat conditions or small waves. Then I wanted to ride big waves and paddle across channels. All of a sudden you're catching more waves so you become better quicker. Allow the other person to save face. Acknowledge your mistakes before pointing the finger at someone else.

A article that's sold over 30 million copies and all it talks about is smiling more? There isn't some secret sauce that's been a hidden treasure to success? Then why are all these articles telling us if you do this one thing. If you knew someone who (1) smiled a lot, (2) was genuinely interested in your interests, (3) gave you honest and sincere appreciation and (4) showed respect for your differing opinions, you would consider them your greatest friend in the whole wide world. You would confide all of your issues and plans and thoughts and dreams into this individual. You would invite them to every occasion. These signs of good character shown in How to Win Friends and Influence People, are signs of a trustworthy person. We rarely know anyone like this because no one keeps it up. Being addicted means that at some point a person loses the ability to choose whether or not he is going to be sexual. He is unable to say no to his impulses and cravings. Be it alcohol, gambling, or sex, the addicted person either doesn't see it or denies the problems that his compulsive activity is continuously producing in his life, maintaining his denial with rationalizations. Sex addicts are preoccupied with and compulsive about their sexuality. They engage in distorted thinking, rationalizing, and defending and justifying their behavior while blaming others for the problems that result. Like those addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs, sex addicts progress through stages in which they retreat further and further from the reality of friends, family, and work, and potentially destroy those important relationships, sabotage careers, and risk significant health issues and violent death. Sex addicts describe their euphoria with sex similarly to that described by drug addicts with drug use. This may be an effect of endorphins and other endogenous brain chemicals that are excited during sexual behaviors, creating a drug-induced state. The mood-altering experience is not just the sexual act itself; Patrick Carnes, PhD, a pioneer in the sex addiction field, delineated key components of the addictive cycle as it relates to sexual compulsivity. With tow surfing and foiling, we couldn't ride certain waves because of the surface conditions, so we used technology to solve that problem. If you've been doing something for fifty years you can get complacent or bored, so for me that's also been a driver of innovation.

I've created things that've inspired me. I chose Unscared as the handle for my social-media accounts and the tattoo on my hands not because I'm never afraid of anything but rather because I'm not too intimidated to try almost anything. This is one of the reasons that I'm constantly experimenting on myself to see what works, what doesn't, and what lessons I can learn along the way. Then I try to pass those on to others. It took British inventor James Dyson 5,127 tries to perfect his bagless cyclone vacuum cleaner. Nobody had come close to creating such a revolutionary design, so he had to teach himself as he went along. This true autodidact could've quit many, many times. But he had a vision of what he wanted to create and was willing to spend five years and every penny he had to make it become a reality. It's so much easier to think of ourselves. It's much more comfortable to blame and criticize others for our shortcomings. Honest, sincere appreciation? Why should I give it out when no one has given it to me? We're waiting so long for trustworthy people to be in our lives when, in reality, we are the who need to show up. If we never take the intensity to prove our own trustworthiness. Why try to care or try to make things better, when we can't trust that it will ever get better? Take the lessons from Kathryn in Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The fact is, if we don't trust one another--and it seems to me that we don't--then we cannot be the kind of team that ultimately achieves results. Take the lessons from Phil Jackson in Eleven Rings. People can become obsessive about any activity that generates a positive mood for them, whether it is the self-nurturing feeling of eating, the excitement of gambling, or the arousal of seduction. Addicts find that just thinking about a sexual act leads to a preoccupation that in itself produces pleasurable and exciting sensations, creating a positive mood in order to avoid a negative one.

It can be employed at any time of the day in any situation. Often sex addicts seem as though they are not present even when they are physically there. Their mental arousal makes them less and less in tune with the emotional stresses that triggered the fantasy and creates a pressing desire to act out their thoughts. The fantasy, the anticipation, the planning, and the risk-taking are as important as the sexual act itself. For some addicts, the thinking about, planning of, and anticipation of the behavior is the most pleasurable part of their addictive cycle. As the addict moves into fantasy, his neurochemistry begins to unleash the chemicals that an actual sexual encounter would prompt. Spurred to action by sexual fantasies, the addict begins to prepare for sexually acting out. My actual sexual indiscretion was only minutes, but the planning and anticipating took hours. Like Dyson, we need to have big ideas, ignore those who think we're crazy for pursuing them, and just make them happen. Maybe that's something big, like summiting all the 14ers (peaks higher than 14,000 feet) in Colorado, or perhaps it's just a challenge that's intimidating for you, such as learning to swim. If you can use a device to help motivate you, track your progress, and share updates with friends, then go ahead and use one. But realize that lasting motivation doesn't come from a flashing display. If you're going to forge ahead and achieve a significant life goal, the desire has to be kindled inside you. Ready, Set, Go Thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers didn't insist on doing ten minutes on a bike or rowing machine, spending twenty minutes on calisthenics, and then downing an energy drink or pre-workout amino shot before chasing their prey. They just did it. In today's corporate, money-driven culture, we've been swindled into thinking that if we don't check all these boxes, we're going to have a poor-quality workout or get hurt. We also get so comfortable in a highly regimented gym setting that we avoid the dynamic unpredictability of a fun activity like pickup basketball, rec league soccer, or a game of touch football, which would give us the chance to express the physical qualities we've been developing for so long in the weight room. It's a mysterious juggling act that requires not only a thorough knowledge of the time-honored laws of the game but also an open heart, a clear mind and a deep curiosity about the ways of the human spirit. Take the lessons from Jesus Christ, for Christ's sake!

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 2/3rds of Americans don't trust each other, but we can't even trust ourselves. By fostering a committed trustworthiness to yourself, more people will trust you. More people can rely on you to be a non-apathetic human being. Then everyone collectively becomes more awesome. Trust is the first dysfunction. The Enormous Problem With Saving the World Would you like to save the world? I couldn't even remember things about my job or what was happening at home. I was mentally consumed with the fantasy or was covering my bases and finessing my lies. Engaging in pre-sexual rituals intensifies the powerful emotional and neurochemical high and drives the addictive cycle forward. Rituals are as varied in number and complexity as there are sex addicts. Some rituals may take minutes, others hours. Some sex addicts will travel great distances to obtain pornography and won't act out until they return home. Some will make elaborate travel plans in order to connect with partners from around the country or the world. The ritual might include changing into erotic clothing, listening to specific music, cruising by car in a favorite neighborhood, or going online. For some, the ritual involves the use of alcohol or other drugs. Just like fantasies in the preoccupation stage, rituals produce excitement. Then we try to further limit the risk of failure, subpar performance, or even getting shown up by imprisoning ourselves indoors. What we need to do is learn how to achieve a constant state of readiness and preparedness that enables us to mimic our ancestors and go from stationary to full speed, like Usain Bolt out of the starting blocks (okay, maybe not quite that fast, but you get my point).