Part 1: What Are You On?


“Slow down!”

“Calm down!”

“Indoor voice!”

“What are you on?”

As a child, I was always being shushed, told to be quiet, or to “turn it down a notch.”  In order to fit in I had to walk on eggshells to comply or continually justify myself to others.  Have you ever had those questions directed to you? Have you ever asked them of others? Even though we have been admonished spiritually to “judge not so that we may not be judged,” some do it arrogantly and with a sense of entitlement.  And most do it regularly, instinctively, and harshly.  Too often the question, “What are you on?” or its variations were asked judgmentally or negatively of me, as if there were something “wrong” with me for being so “energized.” Or, the implications were even worse implying that I had to be “on something” or oblivious to reality to be so keyed up or overly happy.

I’m High on Life, Are You?

Other times the question was asked almost enviously, in the context of, “I wish I had an ounce of your energy, drive, or passion.”  To some, I guess I was too strong of a wind that upset the status quo.  To others thankfully, I was and am like a refreshing breeze inspiring movement, change, and energy.  If I am not reserved, quiet, or calm, I must be “on something”… right? Surely I must not be aware of all the painful, unhappy, and wrongs going on in the world. For the record I do not drink alcohol, smoke anything, take any drugs (prescription or otherwise), or even drink caffeinated coffee or soda. I have a natural high.  I’m high on life.

So instead of me thinking something was wrong with me, the correct question should have been, “What’s…

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Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author of six books, and trainer on value-based living themes.  She also offers Effective Communication, Diversity, Leadership, Time Management, and Goal Setting workshops.  Visit her at or contact her at 301-428-4831.  You may email her at

1 thought on “Part 1: What Are You On?

  1. Thank you Barbara, you are so dynamic.
    I like how you wrote “What are you on?” Beautiful thinkings!
    Keep up on your doings.
    I will send you something you would like to read.


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