One of the biggest enemies of success and peace is worry. Worry creates fear, drains your energy, prevents you from achieving your potential, while obstructing you from your goals. Not much happens – good or otherwise – when you are paralyzed with worry.
Research studies reveal that we typically worry five times more about things that will never happen than things that actually occur. That’s a lot of wasted worry!
Let’s say you have a new job and are worried about making a mistake. The worrying mind quickly jumps to a worst, and highly unlikely, case scenario: If you make a mistake, you’ll get fired. Rationally, you know this is improbable, but how do you prove it to yourself?
It’s simple. First, you break down the chain of events that would lead to your firing. Then you assign a probability to each event; a rough estimate will do.
So what are the odds of you being fired?
Even though each individual probability is just a rough estimate, the total probability, which is the product of all these individual probabilities, is a good ballpark estimate:
Probability of being fired because of a mistake = 0.25 x 0.1 x 0.7 x 0.1 x 0.05 = .0000875, or .00875% (less than one chance in ten thousand).
Now, doesn’t that put things in perspective? This kind of rational approach can help you get a handle on your worries. If the chances of you being fired because of a mistake are less than one in ten thousand, is there really much reason to worry about it?
To Win Over Your Worry:
- Get the facts. Most worry is based on false assumptions – things that we fear will happen as opposed to what is actually happening. Get the facts, and don’t let your assumptions drive your fears.
- Consider the worst possible outcome, If your worry is about the small percent over which you have control, what will be the effect if it does come to pass? Once you discover the worst possible outcome, you will often find that it is not as bad as you thought. You can probably live with it even though you may have to make some changes. Your stress comes from not understanding the worst possible outcome so you can deal with it.
- Begin to improve on the worst possible outcome. Create a plan that will begin purposeful action to ensure that the worst does not happen. It is difficult to worry about things you are working diligently to improve. The antidote to worry is taking action to prevent something from happening.
- Let it go. If you have done everything you can to prevent the worry from happening, let it go. Worrying is not helping anyone or anything. In fact, it is probably making you and those around you miserable. You must let go to grow!
- Take action. When you are struggling with worry, start working on your plan. It is difficult to worry while you are energetically working toward a plan. That realization can become a turning point that changes your worry into faith and optimism.
We remember the words of the wise baboon, Rafiki (that is an oxymoron!) from the Lion King, “Hakuna Matata!” meaning “There are no worries!” Well, that works great if you are living in the jungle …in a movie.
However, for today’s real world, we say, “No worries, take action!” Life’s rewards go to those whose actions rise above their excuses… and their worries.
Take these steps today to win over your worry!
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