PLEASE NOTE: This post has been updated with new information and supporting data and re-published:
Practical Tips for Productive Living
Written by Marc Chernoff // 33 Comments
PLEASE NOTE: This post has been updated with new information and supporting data and re-published:
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Sandra Pawula says
I feel lucky because I no longer struggle with many of these addictions. But I’m still working on wanting approval and being overly dramatic at times in my emotional response.
I still accept and love myself. I realize change is a process and it happens step-by-step.
Thanks for this illuminating list. It’s right on target!
I’m addicted to #3 all the way, but in a different way than most others I know. The people I know think something like, “They have it so much easier than me…” Admittedly, I’ve said the exact opposite, “I had it easier than other people, so I SHOULD be better, more successful, more of everything…” I think the lesson is that when we compare ourselves to others, we never will be able to see who we already are.
Also, no matter what our present situation is, it is still our perception of the situation. We’ve got to do the work to remove our own biases to accept things for what they are, not how we perceive them to be.
Excellent post, as usual.
I was actually pretty shocked how accurate each point has been in my own life. I think we’ve all come across a time in our life when we were challenged by variations of these addictions. It’s actually because of these faulty thinking patterns that cause people to abandon their dreams and settle for unhappiness.
Thanks for the important reminders.
Kevin Benson says
Wow! Another enlightening post! I’m happy I found your site last year and signed up for your emails. I am now using many snippets from your posts/emails and your book like affirmations every morning. Each one resonates with me in a positive way. And each time I read them I see another aspect of meaning in what they say. Some of the points in this post will be added into the rotation tomorrow morning.
One of my big addictions right now is a combination of #’s 2, 3 and 9. I have been trapped in a vicious circle of believing haters while also feeling as if I’d missed my chance in life, or rather feeling as if it never started, but now I realize it is all to do with my thinking when I am alone. With your help I am getting better an conquering that negative voice in the back of my head. The way you write has an impact that cuts through all the negative debris clearly and succinctly. I have read many books in recent years and the way information is written or ideas expressed is almost as important as the information itself in terms of how or whether it sinks in. YOUR way works with me. Again, I am very happy to be signed up to your blog and invested in your book.
Wow! That’s one way to measure recovery. I am relieved to say that the only one that shows up for me from time to time is #8: Thinking and thinking, and OVER-thinking some more.
But that’s because I’m a gemini AND I used to live by the Socratic philosophy that an “unexamined life is not worth living.”
But after 30 yrs of being in recovery… I have to say that I now only do this when people are either inappropriate with me or respond negatively to me in some way. Then I look for what part I played in the dynamic or exchange (NA’s 10th Step).
As I’m sure you know, your client know she’s on the right path. Awareness is the very first step in creating change in our lives.
Thanks for the post.
I agree we all suffer from these issues. This can honestly be renamed: “9 Addictions 90% of the people in the World Struggle with”.
Jonas A says
Thank you! Great post, as always. I have followed your website for a while now, and it has helped me change my way of life. I still struggle, but often my days look much brighter. Number 3 is the best tip for me. Thank you from Sweden.
Jenny Thorek says
I am struggling with most of these right now. Putting everyone else first, existing rather than living, seeking approval from others, lacking the courage to step up and make the changes I need to make in order to be happy. As a mother, your feelings, needs and priorities take a big back seat and then you reach a Point in your life when you realise how unhappy you are and how selfish everyone in your life is. You have done the right thing for years only to realise it was probably the wrong thing after all.
So painfully TRUE, each and everyone of them. Takes a lot of physical, emotional and mental work to overcome them but like any change, can be overcome slowly with intention.
Love this list so much! There’s plenty of these I’m all too familiar with – they have a tendency of popping up anytime I do something that’s out of my comfort zone. So I’ve come to recognize them + greet them as old familiar friends 🙂
Here’s another one that sometimes feels comfortable to indulge in – I call it my “I don’t know” state of mind. Sometimes I find myself telling myself I don’t know what I wanna do, or how to do it, but almost every time, I do know.
The “I don’t know” is just some kind of escape route from taking action – which is the big scary thing that I sometimes wanna put off as long as I can.
So now I just know that that thought will pop up, but that I don’t need to listen to it!
So painfully TRUE, each and everyone of them. Takes a lot of physical, emotional and mental work to overcome them but like any change, can be overcome slowly with the right intention.
Thanks Marc and Angel. I thank the creators who made you.
Blessings to all.
Caroline Hames says
I have found your Positive e mails a huge source of strength and inspiration! I came across you in 2011 whilst recovering from being suddenly Hospitalised with a major GI Bleed, due to Medication for Chronic Back Pain. I was at a very low ebb, despite being a practising Christian. All your Wisdom reminds me how to make life work in a smoother fashion.
With Heartfelt Gratitude, look forward to gaining more wisdom!
Caroline , London
Love all of these. I was only asking myself last night what or who it was exactly in me who was powering my addictive nature. I knew it had to be the mind, but I couldn’t quite get it, then I read all of these today and understood the many ways that addictive thoughts and feelings in the inner world actually result in the addiction in the outside world. I have to start catching those feelings and thoughts and treating them properly with lots of relax and release methods rather than allowing them to become anything else.
Number 4 is very good for me… my entire family seemed to deny me the right to take up space, that’s exactly how it felt. I have never quite been able to put the feeling properly it into words words. The other day, I came up with “a feeling of having been ostracised”, or of not being allowed to be myself whenever I was at home, but this notion of “taking up space” works very well indeed.
And… I still have an anxiety about it today. I’m always asking myself if I have a right to be here, there or wherever, even if people are happy to see me.
People have also often said I have great ideas for myself (and I do) but I never do them, preferring the safe option most times.
There are also times when I’m just too scared to show myself, who I am, my true colours, then again there are times when there is just no stopping me. I’m on a roll, but there will be a price to pay for that each time.
The questions in my head during the bad times are always: Am I allowed to do this? Am I going to far? Am I showing myself up? Am I exposing myself? Am I in danger?
And I do a post-mortem after the event: Did I have a right to do that? Did I go too far? Did I show myself up? Did I expose myself? Was I in danger?
That is indeed a mental addiction I have, but today, thanks to this post, I have probably found the cause. I was made to feel bad about myself merely for being myself and taking up space. I must have made great efforts not to do either. Those efforts probably became second nature and now run themselves like clockwork!
Laura Duncan says
Thank you for this. Your website has been so helpful as I struggle with emotional growth as an older adult parent. I had a vision of what was supposed to “be” with my adult children, I have been disappointed. Having an addictive personality, I recognized today most of 9 addictions were describing me!!
Thank you, this have given me hope I can change.
We are living the same experience at the moment. I could not have put it into words better than this. Thank you.
Elsie Goycoolea says
Such an enlightening post! We know the common addictions, the ones that we have cornered and pointed our finger at. However, these are all addictions and ones that we just let swim by. We don’t notice most of these so thank you fro bringing them up!
Sergio Rodrigues says
The addiction that most relates to me is # 3,I keep comparing myself to someone else, as well as struggling with what “I could have been” and “I should have been”. Great post!
Alan herbert says
All of the above. I have been putting it down to abandomentvand adoption as a child or my mental health issues.
Its good to know other people are the same, although maybe I do it more than others.
Thanks for an interesting post! As for my addictions of this kind, I would mention thinking about the future – planning, etc – instead of living in the present and savoring every moment – transient but beautiful and unique… And our whole life consists just of such moments…
Hit the nail on the head – again! I am addicted to Marc and Angel’s daily emails, and say so in my blog elainesfocus.com with links to Marc and Angel’s page. My site has to do with Focus on Living Well – something made much easier when I get my daily dose, reminders of what I likely already know, but get distracted from by all the things in today’s column.
Forgot to put my website in the right spot in previous comment! Sorry.
Pam Baker says
I think no. 6 is something a lot of us are guilty of. That and no. 5, too!
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts with us.
I know some of your comments got lost/deleted this week when we updated our database and blog design. I apologize for this inconvenience. We do appreciate all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.
Wow! All I can say is wow! Thanks for this, you have no idea how this helped me… every point! xoxoxox
Hi really interesting post, each of these seem to overlap each other and at different times of my life have moved from one to another.
I cannot remember who said it but you must learn to love yourself to be able to love others, or something similar.
So much time is wasted on all of these time in our life we should be embracing and enjoying.
We plan on living a full happy life so come on join in
Fantastic post, these are all right on point! I am trying really hard to ditch these addictions!
I struggle with thinking over and over about the things I fear because of my anxiety. What if while traveling, I get trafficked into sex slavery? What if while traveling, I get kidnapped, and ….. you see where I’m going. I imagine the worst things that could happen.
I want to prepare, not predict.
I love what u said about us being products of our pasts, not prisoners. I find that beating myself up for mistakes has both isolated me from people and from progress. Forgiveness of self is an intricate part of healing. To heal, i find purposing my past to reach out to others helps my sense of purpose. It also relieves shame and guilt.
My blog niche is all about #6 but I’m sharing about my own personal experiences of learning to prioritize my health while working full time and sandwiched in between raising kids and caring for my 77 year old mom. So many of your struggles above resonate with me. I find that many women do compete with each other and would love this to swing to support and encourage. We can all have it all – it’s not an either or. Love this: ‘If you compete with others, you will become bitter. If you compete with a previous version of yourself, you will become better.’
I’m working on the second one at the moment. I’ve been in the same career for almost 15 years and a friend has come to me with a possible new opportunity for 2016. It’s scary when you start preparing for a possible leap in a new direction. I’m having to remind myself of all the skill sets I already possess and how I can adapt those to live a happier life. Thank you for the work you do!