Tom Ferry, the CEO of YourCoach and self-help author of Life By Design: 6 Steps to an Extraordinary You, has identified four addictions that he thinks are the worst to affect Americans. He explains that he identified these four addictions upon self-reflection prompted by a friend who asked him the following questions about his life plans: - Why are you here -- what's your purpose? - How do you want to show up for others -- what are your values? - What are your god-given talents? - Five years from now, how is the world experiencing you? - Who would you already be if you were already there?
Armed with these tools to untangle his own desires and strengths, Ferry dove into this self-exploration and emerged with new ideas about what holds people back. The four addictions that he says "destroy more dreams, more hopes and more lives than alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex combined," include the addiction to opinions of other people, the addiction to drama, the addiction to the past, and the addiction to worry.
The addiction to the opinions of other people he ties to our social behavior. He recommends that people assess whether or not they are concerned about what others say or think, have good ideas and intentions that are never acted upon, have spent beyond their means on conspicuous consumption, constantly seek the approval of others or go to extreme lengths to avoid disapproval, fear public speaking, or fear owning up to opinions.
The addiction to drama, Ferry identifies as the flaw of "people are drawn to and consumed by any event or situation that occupies their thoughts and fills their mind with negativity, which often brings attention to them in unproductive ways." This includes, in his mind, people who love to gossip, are always in the middle of a crisis, obsessively follow the news, react before they reflect, make a bigger deal out of anything they can, or people who are "pot stirrers."
The addiction to the past can come from an unhealthy attachment to past situations or events, says Ferry. People addicted to the past constantly talk about the way things used to be, resist change, and argue for the past claiming that things used to be better. He says these people have physically or mentally peaked and perpetually fail to plan for a better future, allowing relationships to become stale, uninteresting, and without passion.
Finally, the addiction to worry is defined as all the negative and self-defeating thoughts that make people anxious, disturbed, upset, or stressed. People addicted to worry are often depressed or fearful about everything, gravitate to other worriers, use escapism such as media to an unhealthy extent, wake up at night from "mind chatter", and always contemplate the worst-case scenario first. These people may use food, alcohol, or drugs to control their moods and feelings.
Ferry encourages readers to liberate themselves from these four addictions to improve their lives.