I read somewhere today that if we were to keep a record of all the things we worried about during a given period of time, we would discover, in reviewing them, that the great majority of our anticipated problems or troubles never come to pass. This means that most of the time we devote to worrying, even the constructive kind that prompts us to try to come up with a solution to what is troubling us, is wasted. Imagine that! I for one can totally subscribe to this, as I am often the person that over analyses things and causes myself to worry for nothing. Its incredibly easy to do, very often I am not even aware that I am doing it until a complete nervous wreck I decide to sleep on it, wake up in the morning and forget all about it. So in truth, we not only caused ourselves unnecessary mental anguish, but also took up valuable minutes and hours that could have been spent elsewhere.
We all know the expression life is short, make the most out of it while you’ve got it. How many of us can honestly say that is how we live? I often wonder if it is totally possible to life without fear of failure. I mean we all have to work to survive, unless you’re one of the lucky ones that is graced with a large trust fund. How do you really make the most of life when you have a mortgage to pay, bills to settle, a family to raise? When we are single, independent and totally free of commitments I guess that motto is realistic which is partly why I tell anyone that I know under the age of 16, to have as much fun while you can, because once your an adult and responsible for yourself and others, that footloose and fancy free ability to live to the full is primarily gone. Yes we can take advantage of holidays and time spent doing things we enjoy, but as each new responsibility comes along, it brings with it a new level of concerns and things to worry about.
To avoid spending too much time caught up in worry, it is often necessary to subject potential sources of worry to the coldly objective and analytical light of reason. Tough love I’ve once heard it called. Allow me to take you through a scenario. A friend of mine once found himself in a rather difficult situation. He had to choose between two women. Now in all honesty, any man being totally honest with himself, and anyone else for that matter would probably try to keep both of them on the go. Not only would this broaden his options, but it would mean that he gets the best of both worlds. However, circumstances lead him to this situation whereby he had to make a choice. Now there is no easy way to break someone’s heart is there? No one likes to be told sorry but it’s over. No one wants to ever hear that there is someone else on the scene. But in the cold light of day that is exactly what you are going to be doing to someone in making this decision my friend. The truth was he worried himself sick, couldn’t get his words out quite right once he’d made his decision, got so wound up by the whole situation, and landed up losing everything over his inability to choose.
Serves the man right I hear you thinking. In a way I’d agree with you, but let’s examine it a little closer. Yes agreeably someone’s feelings would have been hurt had he chosen one over the other. Yet that decision would have set that person straight, allowed him to find happiness with the other and a whole lot of worry and unhappiness could have been avoided. It is that cold analytical ability that allows us to cut through the emotion of worry and cut to the chase. Not so easy, but it would seem an essential skill that we could make use of in our daily lives. I know I could use a dose of it from time to time.
I know I was invited to go sea fishing once with some friends from work. Now having been sea sick once on a ferry I was pretty adamant that I was going to get sea sick on a tiny fishing boat. I spent many days declining the offer, and making excuses. However being what they were, my friends refused to accept no as an answer and before long I found myself standing on a somewhat worrying looking fishing boat, heading out to sea. I’d spent a sleepless night worrying about shaming myself by throwing up over the side of the boat for the rest of the day, but to my surprise I found that I was not affected in the slightest, and spent a rather pleasant day fishing with the guys from work. I did avoid food, and admittedly felt a bit green when the wind picked up on our way back to port, but my fear was unfounded, and the hours I’d spent worrying about it would have been better spent getting some shut eye in order to have been bright eyed and fresh for a day out on the sea.
The moral of the story is the next time we find ourselves in the middle of worrying about some matter, we might be wise to stop and ask ourselves what the odds are of the problem really coming to pass. We may be able to go on to something more constructive and spend our time more usefully. Keep on smiling.