May 1, 2008.
"I'm an old man who has known a great many problems, most of which never happened."
Are you the proverbial worry-wart, constantly tied up in knots about one thing or another? If so, you probably have this worry thing down pat. You worry about this and worry about that. If you're prone to worrying (many of us are), chances are pretty good that you worry about just about everything.
But what has all that incessant worrying and fretting ever done for you? Has it made you happier? Has it made you healthier? Has it made your life one bit easier? Has anything good whatsoever ever occurred as a direct result of worrying yourself sick? Not a chance.
Yet many of us continue to worry about all sorts of things from daylight to dark. Some of us are so busy worrying that we never get around to truly enjoying the best life has to offer. And that's not good.
"Worry is the stomach's worst poison."
Sometimes it seems like our worrying will never stop. We agonize over what has happened in the past. We worry over what might happen in the future. We even lose sleep over things that may never occur. In fact, we spend the majority of our worry time worrying about things that will never, ever happen. Sounds crazy, but it's true.
Why do we waste so much energy and emotion worrying about virtually everything under the sun? Simply put, we allow our negative emotions to gain the upper hand, setting off a self-destructive chain reaction. Instead of seeing solutions, we see problems; lots of problems. The more problems we see, the more we worry. The more we worry, the more problems we see. Slowly but surely, we lose control of our lives.
"Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? How did they work out? Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn't most of them turn out all right after all?"
Let's face it; we have an uncanny knack of making mountains out of the smallest of molehills, turning even the tiniest of problems into seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The moment we start worrying, the problem rapidly takes on larger than life dimensions. Instead of seeing the way out, we focus on the size of the problem in front of us.
The more we worry, the bigger the problem becomes. Then, as the problem gets bigger, we worry even more. Before we know it, the problem has ballooned to impossible proportions. We then sadly resign ourselves to inevitable defeat, conning ourselves into believing that there's just no way we can win. But there is.
We just need to pop the balloon.
"Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable."
Theodore N. Vail
Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." Never were truer words spoken. If you think about it for a moment, most of the things we fear, dread or worry about never actually come to pass. That's right, they never actually occur.
Life is tough enough without us wasting time worrying about things that may happen, that could happen, that might happen... but never do. So here's a better idea. Maybe, just maybe, we should start worrying less and start living more.
That means living with more optimism, more enthusiasm, more energy; more of just about everything we want in life. By focusing on making the most on the moment at hand, we not only start moving our lives in a positive direction, a powerful direction, we also relegate our worries to the back burner - right where they belong.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." I think old Ben was right on the money, suggesting that we stop worrying and start striving to make our lives all they could be and more.
Now that's not a bad idea. Not bad at all.
The Bottom Line: Start focusing on what you want to happen and then make it happen right now.
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