I made a visit to the doctor when the pressure in my ears was so intense I thought I would implode.
I was a young man living in a beautiful coastal city. My job was owner of a popular neighborhood children’s clothing store. With that came worries – lots of worries.
I worried about whether I would make enough sales to make the rent and buy more merchandise. I worried that the neighborhood crooks would steal me blind when I was busy ringing up sales. I worried that I might buy the wrong merchandise and take an everlasting financial bath.
With worries come health problems. You could say on this trip to the doctor that it really was all in my head. The diagnosis? Ear infections. In both ears.
But It Feels So Natural
My grandmother was an inveterate worrier. In fact, she worried so much that I wondered aloud, “She’d be worried if she had nothing to worry about.”
Have you ever felt like that?
It feels so irresponsible NOT to worry. There’s always that unexpected storm lurking around the corner, ready to soak you. Someone could steal your identity when you’re in an unsecured coffee bar, surfing the net on your smartphone. That coworker you love so much might be sharpening her knife so she can stab you to death. The economy could finally fall apart into so many pieces that America will become a wasteland that looks like a scene from the Terminator.
If you’re a victim of constant worry, understand this. Worry is just a bad habit that has grown from the way you deal with what happens to you.
Worry is an emotional response. When things go wrong, you feel helpless. Maybe it seems like there isn’t anything in the universe you can do to help yourself. So you give in to fear. You do it because it’s comfortable, familiar, and may get you something you want – like sympathy, help, or money. Do it often enough and the chains of habit will be so tight you can’t shake them off without help.
Would you like to break those chains for good?
Read on, my friend.
The One Thing You Can Do Now to Reduce Your Worries to Almost Nothing
Breaking the shackles of worry isn’t as impossible as you might think.
You may also be saying to yourself, “Come on, I can’t possibly get rid of worry altogether.”
Sure, you can’t get rid of worry altogether. After all, hard times will come. You can’t stop that from happening. It’s a guarantee as good as the fact that some days will be bright and sunny and others will be cloudy and filled with storms.
But you can control how much you choose to worry.
There’s one thing that will give you that control. It works better than anything else you’ve ever heard or tried. It’s so good that Dale Carnegie made it the subject of the first chapter of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. It contains five words that have the power to change your life:
Live in Day-Tight compartments.
Now let’s look at 3 ways you can do that.
1. Live in the NOW.
Forget the past. What happened, happened. You can’t change it. So don’t waste time worrying about it. Learn from it. If it’s painful, don’t repeat it if you possibly can. Deal with it the best way you know how or can discover with help from others. Then move on.
Forget about the future. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead. On the contrary, plan for a positive outcome. But make sure your plans include an allowance for fudge. Plan for at best, 60% of your time to be uninterrupted, delayed, or prolonged. The extra 40% will cover events like an 800-car train crossing the road on your way to work, that conversation you want to have with a coworker returning from vacation, or that extra hour you need to convince a customer that buying your product is in her best interests.
Forget about the rest of today. If you want to do your best work now, you can’t if you’re worried about other things. If you delegated something, leave it with that person. When you’re inside at work, you can’t guard your car from criminals beyond locking your doors and turning on the alarm (that everyone ignores anyway). If you try to make the sand fall through the hourglass faster, you’ll end up breaking that hourglass.
2. Close off the rest.
Let me let you in on a secret.
This is illustrated in how a computer works. Let’s say you have 12 programs running at once. Isn’t the computer doing all those things at once?
What it’s doing is also illustrated in the fact that you can only have one window highlighted at a time. In other words, you give that program priority when you highlight it. So what your computer does if it has one processor is this – one task at a time. It just does it at lightning speed so it looks like it’s multitasking.
If you’ll concentrate on what is right in front of you, you’ll do your best work. Worry won’t be allowed to visit you from the past or the future. You’ll be so riveted to the now, you’ll have tunnel vision.
And it will set you free from the shackles of worry.
3. Just do your best and let the results fall where they will.
If you’ve ever been under a deadline, you might feel like you’re being chased by a wild, rabid dog that can’t wait to devour you. It’s reallly hard to think clearly when the pressure is so real that you feel surrounded by stone walls that are closing in on you.
So forget about the pressure.
Do that and you’ll flow like water from the end of a hose. You’ll feel calm, natural, and together. When you’re watering flowers, can’t you get the job done just as well with a hose or a pitcher?
Relax and you’ll be able to marshal your energies freely.
Now Break Those Chains
You’ve got a 3-point plan to reduce your worries to almost nothing.
So the next time worry tempts you to run away, be afraid, or give up, you’ll know what to do.
Then you’ll be happier, more productive, and a lot more at peace.
What worries you so much it keeps you up at night? How can you apply these principles to reduce those worries to almost nothing?