Worrying won't get you anywhere

Written by Paul on July 25th, 2008

This is the tenth in a series of posts about the lessons I wish I’d learned earlier in life.

This is a big one so listen to me carefully: Most things you fear will never actually happen. Even if they do, they’re never as painful or bad as you expected. So, I’ve learned that worrying about stuff is just a waste of time.

This is, of course, easy to say. But if you remind yourself of how little of what you feared throughout your life has actually happened, you’ll probably end up laughing at yourself. (I know I did.) Now think about how much time you’ve wasted worrying about trivial things.

How my friend and I used to waste time:

I have a friend who’s been interviewing for a few jobs recently. She’s experienced, talented, knows all the right people and has great interviewing skills. The problem is that she nails herself after the interview and starts worrying about everything. In fact, she’ll sit there and constantly check her cell phone for a call back. A week goes by before she hears anything back but she wasted a whole week! (She got the job she wanted anyways.)

When I started this blog a few months ago, I constantly worried about whether visitors would actually care about anything I had to say. Whenever a new post went up, I’d spend nearly the whole next day watching the statistics. And for what? What I didn’t understand at the time was that it simply doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I keep blogging and dealing with all the other things I’ve got going on.

“But, I’m still worried!”

Fine. First, you need to get some self discipline. (Need some outside motivation?) Second, go do something else. Seriously, if you just can’t get the worries out of your mind, at least put your energy into something useful.

The bottom line:

You probably have tons of other stuff to do.

Stop making excuses. Worrying isn’t going to solve anything anyways. Start spending your time working on other things. When and if something bad actually happens, just get started on the solution. Seriously, it works.

Image Credit: spaceodissey

5 Responses to “Worrying won't get you anywhere”

  • Going back to your $20 investment advice, here’s an $11 investment for this exact topic. Buy this book, and give it to every member of your family.

    How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

    This is the best book you’ll find on worry, and how useless it is. This is the biggest hurdle, but once you understand it, you’ll notice how productive you become.

    — 07/26/08 at 7:35 am

  • Hi Paul – I came over to your site from Liz’s “Blog to Show” event. Very nice blog!

    I like how the advice about going to do something else to help remove fear. Sometimes when there’s something to be fearful about, it’s not enough to just remove it from the mind because then there’s a void, and the fear will want to creep back into the mind.

    — 07/26/08 at 4:18 pm

  • I definitely agree with the positive replacement idea. It’s easy to sit in our own worry (for me, it happens at night). Doing something productive helps counteract the feeling of helplessness.

    — 07/28/08 at 7:59 am

  • Great advice! I am printing this out so I can read it when ever I need it.

    — 10/25/08 at 10:54 am

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