When I was 6 years old, I was terrified of my next door neighbor.
He towered over me like a giant. When he grinned, he had the smile of a slick used car salesman. He would make the most outrageous requests of me. And inside I knew that nothing good could come of any interaction I had with him. He would tease me and make me feel as helpless as a roach running for his life from an angry human’s stomping foot. He would threaten me with intense pain and embarassment if I didn’t go along with his schemes. It seems I spent every minute with him resisting his charming, cruel ways.
So the only place I felt really safe from him was in my fenced-in back yard. But to be honest, I think I spent most of my time inside the house, where he couldn’t get to me.
Even years later when I saw him, I pretended to be glad to see him so he wouldn’t kill me. He asked me to ride on the handlebars of his bike.
I said, “I don’t think so.”
Then I said goodbye – and never saw him again.
What Keeps You Up at Night?
Maybe you don’t live next door to a living, breathing bully.
Or maybe you do.
There are other bullies in your life, though.
What about the stress of wondering whether you’ll be able to afford to rebuild the engine in your car when you don’t have that much money on hand?
How about the possibility that if something were to suddenly change at your place of employment, you could be out the door without a thought?
Do you ever worry that the next visit to the doctor might reveal that you have cancer, even if you’ve followed all the health advice you can get your hands on?
Or maybe what keeps you up at night is more subtle.
What if you were to discover that your broker had been stealing from you and you are suddenly flat broke?
What if your son or daughter gets caught making and selling meth and ends up in prison for 12 years?
What if you were to come home to an armed robber who will shoot first and ask questions later?
The Common Thread
You can worry about big things or little things.
There’s always the possibility that something in your life can go wrong – every day.
The problem is you can’t stop most of it from happening.
Worry is a common response to life’s unexpected problems.
For some of us, worry is our response to the possibility of unexpected problems.
And for all of us, the responses we have to the different situations we encounter are habits.
Do you see a pattern here? That’s good, because that is what habits are. They’re patterns. You develop them as a way of coping with life. You develop them so you don’t have to think through every moment of your existence. They make life easier because they are involuntary actions like your breathing and your heartbeat.
This might make you depressed. It’s understandable. When a habit is ingrained, it’s like having to repave a road to change it.
The good news is … you can!
The Magic Bullet That Will Anhillate Your Worries
How would you like a formula that will let you anhillate your worries whenever they threaten you?
This might seem to good to be true. It’s no new idea though. You can thank Willis H. Carrier, who came up with it over 100 years ago.
This magic bullet consists of 3 steps you must take whenever worry comes at you like a freight train. Do this and you’ll save your health and your sanity. You’ll be able to think clearly, solve problems, and move on from the whole incident feeling stronger, more resilient, and more courageous.
If you’re worried you might not be able to remember these three steps, let’s reduce it to 3 words.
As you’ll see, the order is critically important.
Step 1: What is the worst that can happen?
This whole process requires you to muster up as much courage as you can and face what lies before you. If you don’t have as much courage as you’d like, these tools will help you immensely.
Part of what makes us scared is not knowing what we face. Will that handsome stranger try to strangle you? Will that new car you just bought blow apart when you turn the key? Will you come home one day and find a note from your spouse informing you she’s leaving you?
If you’ll define what is bothering you, you shut out the rest of the world. You close the door to irrelevant could-be situations.
It’s vital when you do this to see the worst case scenario through – all the way to the end. Could you die? Get fired? Go to prison?
Or is it really not nearly that bad?
Your mental journey to the end will give you the answers. And if you have questions, and time is on your side, ask for help.
Step 2: Prepare to accept the worst if you have to.
Now you’ve been through all the possible scenarios.
This part will set you free.
Accept the worst. Expect it. Know that it could come. This will prepare you to brace for whatever happens.
And who knows? Maybe it won’t be as bad as you imagined after all.
With that in mind, let’s move to the next step.
Step 3: Calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
You’ll be calm now because you’ve taken the time to imagine everything that could happen. You’ve stepped back from the mess to see which path seems best. And you’ve made the courageous decision to follow that path.
Now you can set your sights on making things better.
With a clear mind, can you see anything that would have escaped you if you’d just given in to the crippling force of worry?
If it’s something you can do, why not give it a shot? What do you have to lose now?
After all, things might not have to be as bad as they would if you left it to chance.
Use This Every Day
The next time a problem comes your way, pull out this magic formula. You’ll be freer to control what you can and make the best of what you can’t. You’ll solve problems and grow in confidence. And others will look to you for strength when their lives are spinning out of control.
Go ahead and try this. I’d love to hear how it works out for you!
What situations in your life cause you the most worry? How can you use this formula to anhillate the worries associated with those situations?