You wouldn’t choose to do it. You may even recognize from time to time you are doing it. But for the most part worry silently robs us and weighs us down.
Worry is a burden akin to putting on a vest in the morning and filling it with 50 pounds of sand. We finish our day wondering (maybe even aloud) why we are physically exhausted not realizing the weight of worry silently drained our vital intellectual and emotional energy.
President James Garfield once quipped, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” He was right. Peeling back the veil of worry we find it overshadows our lives with terrible misfortune that never happens.
In a study conducted at the University of Cincinnati, participants were asked to write down everything they worried about over a two-week period and predict what they thought would happen. Their predictions predominantly reflected grave outcomes and consequences.
Worry and the future
Looking at the predictions researchers were correct in their assumption about worry. When we worry we are prone to anticipate rejection, failure and disappointment. We pour these worries like sand into an anchor and labor dragging them around with us day after day. But at the end of the day, worry largely is an unnecessary burden.
In fact, 85% of the predictions related to what people worried about never materialized. That’s right did not happen! For every 100 things that occupied their thinking, 85 of them falsely created anxiety and unease.
So, that means 15 of the 100 worries actually materialized. The researchers found that in 12 of the instances (79% of the time) the people handled them better than they thought they would.
Bottom line about worry
In the end, the researches concluded 97% of the difficulties and troubles we allow our mind to dwell on never happen. So all of the fretting, anticipating, and predicting is simply robbing us of vital intellectual and emotional energy. Benjamin Franklin said, ”Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Shine the light on things you can influence and exert a measure of control over. The boundary of our performance and influence is largely established by the quality of our thinking. When our thinking gets clouded and soured by worry we significantly limit our ability to do our best work and experience joy.
Fighting the invisible battle
A battle rages every day. You and I awake to this daily battle that takes place in the invisible, intangible realm of our minds. It’s the battle for your thoughts. People who take their thoughts captive are able to raise their thinking, not giving worry a foothold. Winning this battle produces a special mental elixir, which creates better results along with greater joy and impact.
How you think and what you allow your mind to dwell on sets your direction and establishes the limits of your impact and influence.
3 Ways to Raise Your Thinking
- Give up the news. The research is too compelling not to do it. “Too much of our impression of the world comes from a misleading formula of journalistic narration.”
- Stop following people on social media who load your news feed with content that negatively affects how you fight the battle for your thoughts. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them or can’t be friends with them. You simply don’t allow them to fill your vest with sand.
- Understand and act on the difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem and a concerned person solves a problem. You might feel led to affect change and positively impact a cause that you truly care deeply about. If so embrace the calling and engage yourself in the process of creating a solution. Problem solvers are agents of change which is strikingly different from being a carrier of worry and spreading it like a virus.
Leo Buscaglia, the celebrated author and U.S.C. Professor, sums up the problem with worry well when he said,
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
The battle rages every day. Take every thought captive!