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Since I got lots of interest in my last article on worrying, here is some more on the topic.
Do you spend too much time worrying about things? Do you feel that it is cutting into your ability to succeed in life? When you worry about future events, your attention is literally pulled into the future. The scary thing is that as you focus on what may come, you may be inadvertently causing it to happen. That has to make you worry even more!
First I want you to become more proactive in your worrying. If you let your worries occur on their own, you are out of control. Take control of when and where you will worry. Obtain a folder or a box (often referred to as a worry box). When you catch yourself worrying about anything, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your worry box, and save it for worrying about later. You are effectively deferring the worrying to a later date.
Next you should schedule a time, such as once or twice a week to do all your worrying. At that time, you take out your bits of paper and review all the things you need to worry about. Some of them will no longer need worrying about, so you can just discard them (woohoo!). For the remaining items, you should prioritize and create plans to deal with them. I suggest no more than one hour for all your worrying. If you run out of time, just put the remainder back in the box for the next scheduled time.
This may sound a bit silly to you, but try it and you will see it works. This technique should stop you from worrying about the same thing continuously.
Another cool benefit of this technique is that the time delay will often neutralize the feelings associated with a problem. If you look at something a day or two later, it does not seem as bad as it did then. You can then be more objective in coming up with a solution.
If your box is empty, do continue to open it at the scheduled time and look at the empty contents. I want you to try to worry about what it is you don't have to worry about, and I want you to try to worry about what you may have forgot. I bet you will end up laughing about how happy you are and that it can't be bad when all you have to worry about is an empty box.
As a postscript, my friend Allan schedules his worrying time for 3am on Monday morning. If he sleeps through then he has missed his time and has to wait until next time. Clearly if it was not worth waking up for then it was not worth worrying about.
Here are some more ideas for you to try:
Consider what would be the outcome if you did not worry, if you just dropped it. In most cases I bet the outcome would be positive. Maybe get picky about the quality of the worries you are willing to put into the box. Discard some of them before you get to the meeting.
Put your worrying into perspective. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the end of the world, where would you rank your problem. Most problems are not as big as you think they are.
Put a dollar value on your problem. How much would you pay to have it solved? Then put a dollar value on your time. Since worrying does not solve anything, how much are you going to spend to NOT have it solved???
Apply the SEP formula (Somebody Else's Problem). Are you worrying about something which is not even your problem? If so, drop it.
Extra credit if you can delegate some of the items on your list. I mean, if you can schedule it like a to-do, then you should be able to get someone else to do the worrying for you as well.
I once heard of a business in the states somewhere, where they would worry on your behalf about your problems for a fee. They offered no solutions, but promised to sit around the table and get really worried on your behalf. I think that is a cool business!
Write down your worries, but instead of putting them in a worry box, fold them into paper aeroplanes and fly them out the window. If you live near the ocean, try putting them in a bottle and throwing them out to sea.
One I heard from a tape by Wayne Dyer, is to go to the beach at low tide, and write your worries in the sand. See how long they last there. Life is too short, and your worries are even shorter.
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