“FEAR is the tool of a man-made devil. Self-confident faith in one’s self is both the man-made weapon which defeats this devil and the man-made tool which builds a triumphant life. And it is more than that. It is a link to the irresistible forces of the universe which stand behind a man who does not believe in failure and defeat as being anything but temporary experiences.”-Napoleon Hill, Outwitting the Devil.
When we speak about worry, we are also speaking about fear, fear of the unknown, fear of imaginary outcomes, or fear of things that may or may not ever happen. What I encourage you to do is not to become unhappy or encumbered before the tribulation; but in the meantime, look to the present or look forward to better things because the truth of the matter is what you are worrying about hasn’t happened yet and there’s a good chance that it won’t. The objective here is to focus your thoughts and concentrate on the present along with the things you can control and limit the habit of anticipating, exaggerating and imagining bad outcomes.
“Fret won’t fill a bird’s belly with food or a flower’s petal with color. Birds and flowers seem to get along just fine, and they don’t take antacids. What’s more, you can dedicate a decade of anxious thoughts to the brevity of life and not extend it by one minute.”-Max Lucado, Fearless
Worry accomplishes nothing but stress, anxiety, panic and additional problems and often has the ability to bring that very thing you are worrying about to life. Worry has more questions and possible outcomes than answers and solutions, it creates more work and requires/expends more energy. It’s like warming up with a 5K minutes before competing in a 10K race; as a result we are drained before the race begins and less likely to be able to handle the adversities of the task at hand. This process of preparedness only spells failure. Focus on the present, anticipate and prepare.
There’s a huge gap between worry and reasonable concern. When worry is allowed to create panic it resembles foolishness whereas though most other fears are just baseless. Reasonable concern on the other hand is based on sound judgement, having facts, and/or having or noting previously known experiences. Worry derives most of its strength out of our own weaknesses and as you know, our weaknesses are our own responsibility to sure up through personal development, learning from experiences and from the knowledge of others and most importantly through the daily application of those things. We cannot measure our progress without intentional application, recognition and reflection as to who we are, where we started and what areas of growth have or are occurring. Decreasing your habit of worry begins with you!
“Let us, then, look carefully into the matter. It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things. What shall you gain by doing this? Time.”- Sêneca, Letters from a Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium
In the book, Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill, he reminds us to “Keep doubt and fear and worry, and all thoughts of limitation. The personal messages we deliver ourselves become us; in this case, “shoot the messenger”. It is you that is hurting your quality of life. Words and environmental influences cannot directly reach your soul, only your internal messages can. We must do our best to maintain a positive disposition in order to promote healthy thoughts. This task is as easy as you allow it to be once self-control and discipline are established. Each of us has the authority within ourselves to flip the switch. The question here is, do you really want to worry less or are you more comfortable in a state of depression, unhappy, gripped by anxiety or panic, or missing out on all the good things?
Remember this, “Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.”-Unknown
- Does my concern have sufficient reason?
- What is my current mental state?
- Is this worry real or imaginary?
- Why am I wasting my time on this? What is it doing for me and what is it taking away from me?
- Make a list of all your worries over a period of time and highlight which have actually come true. (Undoubtedly there will be fewer highlighted items than un-highlighted).
- Learn what eases your mind and helps you calm your mind down and do those things when needed.
- Evaluate your worries? Are they necessary? Are they groundless? Are they appropriate?
- Focus on the present.