It is important to listen when our spidey senses are tingling. They are telling us that something needs attention. It could be our health (I really need to exercise more), education (I hope I ace that upcoming test), family (I need to spend more time with…), finances (Am I saving enough for retirement?), job (I need to coordinate that meeting to address…) and the all-encompassing “What if…?”
However, we must ask ourselves “Am I just worrying or am I doing something about it?”
One definition of worry is: give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Worrying is like putting our car up on blocks, starting the engine and putting our foot to the floor. Our wheels are spinning to be sure. But, we have no traction and are burning fuel with absolutely no forward momentum or positive outcome. We are wasting valuable energy that could otherwise be put to good use.
At a high level, there are 2 sources of worry:
- Things we can do something about (areas in our control).
- Things we can do nothing about (areas outside of our control).
Let’s address the 2nd item 1st. For things we can do “absolutely” nothing about the best approach is to change our attitude (instead of continuing to “rail against reality”) and focus our energy on things we CAN do something about.
Several years ago a good friend was planning an overseas mission trip to a third world country. With any trip there are details to consider to ensure safety and comfort. In this case, there were many additional variables including: several modes of transportation through numerous countries (planes, trains, automobiles and border crossings), not knowing the local languages along the way (will I be able to communicate, read the signs, miss my stop?), comfort (over 24 hours of travel under these conditions with minimal sleep) and finally ensuring everything comes together (will we accomplish our objective of helping some people in need?).
As she was discussing the upcoming trip it was clear she was worrying (as any of us would!). An epiphany that was shared (which I “believe” helped) was: When we worry about things we often fast forward through numerous potential scenarios and possible outcomes — in an instant. Yet, the reality is that we seldom encounter these potential scenarios in a single “flash”, if they happen at all.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~ Mark Twain
More often than not when situations do present themselves, they occur “individually” providing ample time to address each. While that may be what happens in the “real world”, we dramatically accelerate things in our “thought world.” Our brains are extremely powerful; they work at lightening speed and can easily overwhelm us if we don’t control our mind and appropriately direct our thoughts.
So, when our spidey senses are “lit up” let’s use that energy to:
- Think – What is the issue (or issues) I’m concerned about? What are the options and ideas that I can consider in response?
- Plan – Which idea(s) should I execute on, when, how and with whom?
- Act – Put the plan into action – Immediately!
“The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” ~ Robert Frost
Because our brains work at lightening speed this simple process (think, plan and act) need not take days or even hours. We can use our incredibly powerful minds to go from worry to action in MINUTES!
We all worry (to some extent). The key is to quickly detect when we are in the worry-mode and convert that energy into action!
Want a fantastic book on conquering worry? Check out this recommended reading: