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Monday, June 8, 2015

Workplace High

Okay, I take drugs. I admit it. But I don’t like it. When I read the possible side effects or consequences from being on Lipitor, Levothyroxin, Metoprolol, and the like, I wonder what is really taking place in my body. Doctors tell me all this keeps me alive, which, so far, seems to be good.

Prescription drugs that manage health conditions make it possible for us to function without pain or to manage the breakdown of our health. None of the drugs I take appear to be habit forming or addictive. And I don’t use any medications to blur my reality or boost performance. In fact, I rarely, if ever, drink alcohol anymore...the blood sugar impact is terrible.

Apparently, the pressures of performance in our changing world have millennials on a different track. I was alerted to this by my friend John Stonestreet in a recent Breakpoint commentary. He cites a New York Times piece revealing that the millennial crowd has taken to prescription ADHD meds to give them an “edge.”

The drugs most commonly used (and abused) for upping performance are Adderall, Vyvanse, and Concerta. According to the Times article, non-ADHD pill takers get the effect of superhuman productivity from these additives. Many begin the addictive process of these drugs while in college, pulling all-nighters.

As you might imagine, the consequences are now showing up. It’s called crash and burn. Emergency room visits in 2013 saw a tripling for prescription stimulant overdose in the 18-34 crowd.

Now let’s face it. Drugs are everywhere in our medicated-loving country. But, usually, stressed workers seek their relief AFTER hours, not before they start their day.

In fairness, a good majority of people wake up and smell the Starbucks to get their juices flowing. And we see a LOT of these caffeine loaded drinks on the market. But the drugs causing the biggest damage are the kind doctors prescribe. And many of these abusers get them illegally.

The reason behind this trend is the larger concern. It’s based on a perceived competitive need. To outperform your coworkers, it’s time to get your Adderall on! Thus, if you look around and see some very wired young associates, and you’re wondering how they manage all that energy and activity…beware.

This leads me to ponder the meaning of an “abundant life.” The reason why most people work so hard, and are willing to kill themselves, is to have abundant stuff. Climbing a corporate ladder, becoming known, and stockpiling wealth are generally motivated by the desire for more possessions.

Our work life, in its best form, should contribute to an abundant life, but in a different way. Performing with excellence demonstrates good character. Working diligently reveals commitment. And serving others is a sacrifice of self in a most positive way. None of those workplace drives need be motivated by more stuff. And none of them require artificial performance boosters.

Jesus of Nazareth called us to live abundantly. His way of life leads to that path. As He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)

My friend Ed Stetzer writes, “Abundant life is not about what we have. It’s not about what we get. It’s not about what we claim. Ultimately, abundant life is about what we receive as a gift from the Lord and to live knowing we are stewards of the blessings of God.” (

Sometime today, perhaps you will take a moment to consider why you work the way you do. You might ask yourself whether you are truly enjoying the abundant life. You might even set a new course and make some adjustments.

If so, I hope this was just the stimulant you needed.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.

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