What are you worrying about?
Being worried doesn’t make any sense. As my Grandmother always says, “You worry and you’ll die, you don’t worry and you’ll still die.”
And the ironic thing about worry, is that you know you shouldn’t worry, but that doesn’t mean it goes away. But you’re aware of it. So now you’re going to worry about the fact your worrying, and you know you’re doing this and you worry about it. It’s a vicious cycle and it doesn’t go away – until something else distracts your mind. Work. A hobby. That thing you worry about.
You could wager that there are things in life where it’s perfectly acceptable to worry – how much money you have left in your bank account, how well your current relationship is going, if your relative is going to survive another winter. If you’ve been mentally nodding your head, then your missing the point.
These are perfectly acceptable things to dislike about life, to get angry about, to get sad or emotional about – but not worry about. All these other things make sense, you dislike something because it makes you or someone you care about unhappy, you get angry because your frustrated by a person or thing, you get sad because of loss or desire. But you worry – for nothing. There is no psychological, evolutionary or societal advantage to being worried. All it does is stress you out. And that’s no good.
Now there are three very distinct kinds or worry:
- Worrying about something you are going to make happen.
- Worrying about something else that might happen upon you.
- Worrying about something else that will happen upon you.
If we look at the first kind – think of that thing that you will not do, for fear of the consequence of doing it. You have to make it happen, or you strongly believe that you want to, but you worry about it going wrong. Well just think about it.
Really think about it. What are you waiting for – is anything actually holding you back, or are you holding you back?
Well it’s scary – nonsense. Everything is. Everything you have ever done is scary. You’ve just done it before, so it doesn’t seem scary to you anymore.
Well I’m unfamiliar with – ridiculous. You want things to be different, but for nothing to change?
Well if it goes wrong – stupid. A lot of things go wrong – a lot of things happen differently from how you anticipated them to go, and that’s okay. It got you to where you’re most proud of today.
The fact of the matter is, you can not do it, and wish that you did it. Or do it, and wish that you didn’t. And every good story I have ever told starts with a variant of “I shouldn’t have done that.” when in fact I did.
We’re so afraid of what is broken, ugly and messy that we’re unwilling to break our cycle of boring constancy. Doing the same things, with the same people because we worry. Usually it’s about what people will think of us, how they will react. But it was Olin Miller who said it best, “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!”
One day, you’ll lie old and grey, and you’ll tell people of all the things you did. Most likely when you did the thing, you can justify why you did it. Most likely when you didn’t do it, all you’ll say is that you wish you had.
But when it comes down to it, the reason we hate the first kind of worry is because we don’t want to live with things worse than we have it now. If we never had it, then we wouldn’t miss losing it. But if we make a mistake now we might lose it and that just might be difficult to live with.
But do you really want to live a life, where nothing ever improves, because you were afraid it might get worse? The only thing stopping you is you. Get out of your way.
Now what about the second kind, the things that might happen to you. You’re worried you might be drifting from that group of friends or they’re actively pushing you out. Or your workload is ramping up and you’re not sure you can handle it. What if you’re not moving as fast as you thought you would be by now? All I can say to you then, is that odds are, everything will okay. It might take time, it might be uncertain for a while. But it will most likely be okay. The odds that your Earth will be completely shattered tomorrow are not very likely. Think – on a purely personal statistical basis, how many times has the thing you were worrying about actually came to fruition? If the answer is less than 100%, then don’t waste your time on thinking about such things. You’re guess is as much good as chance.
And finally there are things we worry about that WILL happen, of which there are few. You’re worried you will get fat. You’re worried politicians are becoming corrupt. You’re worried that a peer is performing better than you at this current time. You’re worried that you’ll die.
To that I say, you will get fatter, but you can reverse it just with a little extra work. Your weight fluctuates over the years. You’re perfectly fine the way you are for now, because you want to be. Politicians will corrupt, but they always have been. Don’t concern yourself with it, because it probably will never change. Sometimes you’ll do better than your friends, sometimes they will do better than you – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Just be happy for them, and have faith that in turn they will reciprocate. And finally to the last morbid point – unfortunately you will die. Everyone, everything does.
But if you’re dead then what will there be to worry about?
You should be no more afraid of dying, than you should be afraid of what was before you were born. Literally, everything you have ever worried about is gone – to you. Everything will be okay. Once you’re gone, so is everything, everything to ever be worried about. So just make sure you have one hell of a time while you are here, that you have plenty of stories to tell on your way out. Don’t spend that time worrying.
You don’t want to get to the end of your life, and worry that you never did anything with it.
So with that being said, what are you worrying about? If you worry, you’ll die. If you don’t worry, you’ll still die.