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This HuffPo post caught my eye recently (see main exerpt below):

“The Four Addictions

I’ve discovered four addictions we all have that destroy more dreams, more hopes and more lives than alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex combined. When I refer to addictions, I am not focused on any of these. To me, those are habitual symptoms or effects brought on by four much larger causes that are the root cause of those symptoms.

They are:

1) The Addiction to opinions of other people. As a society, we’re addicted to what others think about us and how others’ views of the world affect us.

2) The Addiction to drama. Some 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.

3) The Addiction to the past. These people have an unhealthy attachment to events or situations that have occurred in the past. They’re stuck in how things used to be.

4) The Addiction to worry. This addiction is comprised of all the negative and self-defeating thoughts that make us anxious, disturbed, upset and stressed, that hold us back in life.”

The post is of interest to me because I used to have severe cases of all four addictions discussed, especially addiction 2 (I have a collection of T-shirts reading “Drama Queen” my late husband offered me) and 4 (I used to feel that the best way to succeed at something was to worry about it to death, almost literally).

I can proudly say that today, I almost got rid off addiction 1 given that since I realized that most people are sheep and most people have no clue what they are talking about anyway, why would I subject myself to the opinion of anyone? Accepting to be at the mercy of other people’s opinion is the same as accepting to be in the situation where the “blind is leading the clueless”. Originality is the ultimate gift, the one human character that has provided us with all the evolution we enjoy so much to this day. Original people are changing our wold constantly from Socrates, to Leonardo Da Vinci, to the Google Boys, to my beloved Michael (his ideas are wild and will change the world!). It is not easy to remain original and it is a very lonely state, but boy is it addictive! A good addiction though :)!

Should I also add that caring too much about other’s opinions diminishes our courage to do what needs to be done, especially when what needs to be done is unpopular or will make you look like the devil to a bunch that tries to decide for everyone else?

As for addiction number 3, I am not sure where I stand on that one. All I can say is that I am attached to traditions, but good and healthy traditions, the ones that made me feel so good that I would love to pass it down to anyone I have the chance to pass it on to. But I have no patience for events of the past that are simply irrelevant aujourd’hui, nor old ways to do things that do not make or keep us better off.

Overall, I agree with the author that any or a combination of any of these addictions has greater negative consequences than any of the usual addiction suspects. These four addictions are indeed affecting the deeper part of us, become part of our ESSENCE, and they do prevent us from a being the happy, healthy, capable people we all crave to be. And if our souls and consciences are sick, then we will try to numb them with  alcohol and/or drugs and/or food and/or gambling and/or sex… or anything that one person can leap into  in order to numb the pain caused by such deeply rooted disease…

I urge you to read each one very carefully, and ask your self if and how this applies to you. Please be honest with yourself. And if you want to push the exercise further, then ask a trusted loved one how they think you fare on each addiction. It will hurt to hear the diagnosis but it is necessary if you really want to regain your freedom. Per example, I did not appreciate at all having to admit that I cared about other people’s opinion to a degree that it was a liability for me. Moi, Magatte Wade, Queen of Attitude and Femme Flamboyante, slave of other people’s thoughts? No way! You just don’t understand!!! But yes way! So Michael and I embarked on a journey  where he introduced me to the heroic tales of great human beings (especially Leonardo Da Vinci and Socrates, his two great heroes). And because I care so much about entrepreneurship, he also used the examples of amazing entrepreneurs that did succeed because  they did not care what others thought (like the founder of Fedex who got an F on his paper describing his vision for FEDEX, his professor said it could not be done…).

So what is/are your addiction(s) and most importantly, how are you addressing them?