Why it makes no sense to worry – An article for logical people
“Worrying is like a rocky chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere” (Glen Turner, also quoted by Van Wilder, if you remember the movie ?).
Hi worrier! Welcome to the course for demystifying worries, mandatory in the curriculum of the school of life. Don’t “’worry”, you’ll do great and pass suma cum laude, because the principle is so simple and “clean”, that there’s no way back. Sounds promising?
If there is anybody in this world to understand what it means to worry about everything, that’s me!
Just a few of my usual worries:
- I won’t hear the alarm and be late
- I’ll forget to buy something
- I’m not prepared for a presentation
- I’ll make a fool out of myself
- I have something between my teeth
- X won’t like me
- The weather is going to be bad during my vacation
- Something happened to my friend who’s not answering the phone
- I’ll become sick of I don’t know what disease
- I’ll die single or eternally regret a decision I’ve made
… all of these were hanging above my head like a dark cloud full of precipitation (i.e. cold sweat or suffering crocodile tears). A permanent state of alert, restlessness, agitation and above all, a lack of connection with the present moment were my day-to-day reality.
But all changed when I finally read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (who lives in Vancouver, as am I, so the connection is easier… hahahaaa). This book, not very easy to digest to be honest, opened my eyes with regards to the fact that worrying makes no sense. But before I go into details, I would like to share some relevant aspects.
Worrying is, unfortunately, part of our nature. Stress has ensured since the longest time the survival of our species, because it would make us see any bush as a potential danger. It didn’t matter if there was a predator hiding in the bush, we had to be alert anyway, because “you never know where the saber tooth tiger jumps out to bite you by the bum”.
We inherited this behavior of worrying, although it does not really apply in our lives today. We live under the impression (conscious or not), that we can avoid dangers, if we worry: “if I worry that my boyfriend won’t call, he will call”.
- Reality shows that most the times it is either impossible to anticipate the future, or we cannot control a result
- 90% of our worries are not turning into reality
The statistic with 90% was shared by a friend of mine. Although I cannot validate scientifically the percentage, if I look back at my life, it doesn’t seem the be too far from the truth. What do you think?
Stay tuned, coming up next: the logical explanation why you shouldn’t worry… after the commercial break (just kidding!).
Let’s take an example: “I worry about not getting the job”.
There are two possible outcomes:
- I do get the job
- I don’t get the job
(I’m a genius, I know.)
If I get the job, I worried in vane, because eventually I got it.
If I don’t get the job, it happened because of:
- Reasons I can’t influence
- Reasons I can influence
In case of (1), these can be: the other candidates who applied (maybe some are internal or have more knowledge or more relevant experience), the interviewer’s preferences (maybe you remind him or her of their first love which was a great disappointment), etc. Whether you worry or not, you cannot influence these factors. So, neither in this case does it make sense to worry.
In case of (2), the reasons might be: you haven’t polished enough your application, you were late for the interview, you thought that the company produces fridges, instead of biscuits. In each of these cases, whether you worry or not has zero impact on the outcome. The only thing that matters are your actions. Only your actions can influence your results. You can bathe in a sea of worries, these will not change the result. This means that your decision is not whether “I should worry or not”, but whether “I should take action or not”.
The conclusion is that there are only two valid reactions to the present moment:
- Letting go
Worries do not change the outcome. Their only impact is your feeling of discomfort in the present moment.
And you will say:
“But Diana, the fact that I’m worrying, makes me take action”… you can take action without worrying and the result is the same. Spare yourself. Action doesn’t arise from worrying, but from the desire to obtain the job.
“But Diana, I worry I won’t do well at the interview”… then you either spend more time preparing for the interview, if you think you should, or you decide you did enough of what depended on you. Worries will not influence how you will do at the interview.
“But Diana, I worry I won’t know when I’ve prepared enough”… prepare until you feel satisfied. Believe me, you’ll know from within when you are ready. It’s called your internal GPS and it never fails.
In each of the situations, do what depends on you. Trust that the result will be exactly what you need now.
So, worrying makes no sense, only actions do. Looking back, don’t you that the times you’ve worried have been a waste of time? Choose to eliminate them from your life. Chase away the heavy cloud and full of rain and let the sun shine.
As the Jamaican says: “ya man, no broblem”. Now listen to “Don’t worry, be happy!”