We spend so much of our lives in a state of worry. We think about the worst-case scenario, we plan for the worst, we fear that we will fail almost as much as we fear we will succeed. Our society has a powerful industry based off the notion that the absolute worst could happen—the insurance business. I know from experience what it is like to live in a state of paranoia, and I also know that so much of what we fear (I recently read 80%) never actually happens.
For those logical minds out there…how unproductive it is to be spending so much time focusing on the bad? If we were a process in a manufacturing building, we would probably be operating on less than 10% efficiency. As an operations manager, that would lose you your job.
But what, you ask, do we do instead of worry about the worst? Well…
What if…and this is crazy…what if…the best thing happened?
Right now I am going through a transition phase in my life, like so many of my brothers and sisters surrounding me. I hear people saying they want to do good; they want to leave a legacy. I am creating mine at this moment, and with each step, I face new possibilities.
Recently, I have been focusing on what bad things could happen. Yes, I have not been heeding my own advice. I say to myself: “What if I lose? What if they do not like me? What if I do not have the time? The money? The will?”
I was explaining this to a friend, and suddenly it hit me. (Expressing ourselves is truly therapeutic.) I suddenly made the realization as I was typing, and I said to her, “what if the best thing happened? What if I won? What if I got to change the lives of young athletes, like I have always wanted? What if I created something spectacular? Magnificent? Unbelievable?”
Now, which one feels better?
The other thing about worry—look at the nature of it. Here we are, in this moment. Nothing else truly exists besides this moment. When we worry about the future, we think about something that has not yet happened. We cannot affect it. We cannot change it because we do not yet know what it is!
Every time that doubter, that saboteur, comes in and tries to get your stress levels elevated, instead of asking, “What if I fail,” say to yourself, “What if I succeed?”