There are good addictions and there are bad addictions. Daily exercise is a good addiction. Drugs are a bad addiction.
Addictions go by another name – habits. The brain likes habits because habits save the brain from work and conserve brain fuel (glucose and keytones).
So, naturally, the brain encourages habits.
In my book Change Your Habits Change Your Life I highlight some of the over 300 habits from my Rich Habits Study that separate the rich and the poor. In that study, I found that rich people have good habits and that poor people have bad habits.
The best good habits are those built around your goals. Good daily goal habits enable you to pursue your goals without much conscious effort. In a sense, you become a Success Zombie, unconsciously behaving and thinking in a way that seamlessly puts you on the path towards success.
But society likes to throw wrenches onto your automated path towards success. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go is the latest bad habit wrench, distracting millions from the things they should be focusing on and turning them into Pokemon Zombies.
As of this writing, there have been 15 million downloads of Pokemon Go, a game app. Pokemon Go has gone on to become the biggest downloaded mobile game in U.S. history. Why?
Because it’s addictive. There have been stories of Pokemon Go players inadvertently walking off cliffs because they were trying to capture a Zubat.
Behaviors become addictive when the behavior causes a spike in the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is one of the brain’s most powerful “reward” neuro-chemicals. It’s intended evolutionary purpose is to reward us for behavior that helps us survive as a species – in other words good behavior.
But it can also lead to bad behavior. Drugs, for example, artificially stimulate the production of and receptivity to dopamine inside the brain. In order to sustain this dopamine rush, individuals must increase their engagement, since the brain adapts by increasing your dopamine baseline.
Pokemon Go is just another drug. It’s causing millions to engage in bad time-wasting habits. Time-wasting habits are a hallmark of poor, unsuccessful people. That’s why I call them Poverty Habits.
There may be one redeeming value to Pokemon Go. It is getting millions of people to exercise because you need to run, jog or walk very quickly to catch those Zubats. Ironically, Nintendo may be doing more to help people become physically fit than Gold’s Gym and the YMCA combined, so long as there aren’t any cliffs between the Pokemon Zombies and their Zubat.