I come from a long line of worriers.
My grandfather was a worrier. He would wring his hands for days before he’d travel about what the weather might be on the day he was set to start out. And when he’d arrived, he would become obsessed about what the weather might be for his return.
My father is a worrier. He worries about the weather too. And the stock market and his business and his health and his children and their children and whether he should retire or not retire and what may or may not happen in the next hour or on the next day or the next week or the next year. And did I mention that he worries about the weather?
I’m a worrier too. And I can be even more resourceful than my father.
“Worry saps energy, warps thinking and kills ambition,” said Dale Carnege in his classic How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Donald Trump says, “Worry is a waste.” And it is.
Worry is the bastard child of Fear.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fear resides deep in the ancient part of our brain, the amygdala. It served us once. When we hunted on the plains and needed to avoid the predators: the mastodons and the woolly mammoths.
But as I drove to work this morning, I noticed a curious thing: the plains appeared devoid of wild beasts.
Today, fear is the predator.
Fear limits. Fear paralyzes. Fear diminishes. Fear robs us of opportunity.
With fear, we fail to life fully.
I’m reading a great book: Feel The Fear …And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Jeffers says, “We can’t escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all of our exciting adventures; it is not an anchor holding us transfixed in one spot.”
But how do we transform it? By holding it and moving through it. By feeling it – deeply – and doing what makes us afraid – anyway.
It sounds overly simplistic. But it really is supported by the “evidence.”
Mark Twain said, “I’ve seen many troubles in my time, only half of which ever came true.”
Jeffers says: “It is reported that more than 90% of what we worry about never happens. That means our negative worries have less than a 10% chance of being correct. If this is so, isn’t being positive more realistic than being negative? Think about your own life. I’ll wager that most of what you worry about never happens. So are you being realistic when you worry all the time? No!”
Fear never goes away. As long as we grow, fear goes with us. Those of us who journey out on the edge recognize fear as a pretty steady companion. But the paradox is, that in moving through our fear, we do grow.
And here was the big revelation for me: everyone is afraid. We’re not alone. No matter how successful someone is, no matter how confident someone appears, fear looms in the dark recesses, in the unknown, the untried, the unexplored. Whenever we risk – whether in business, in relationship, or at play – we invite fear.
But as Jeffers says, “Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.” If we don’t confront our fear – and move through it – we stay stuck. And fear full.
“Courage,” Mark Twain said, “is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” He also said, “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”
Ultimately, the conquest of fear is about trust: trust in ourselves. “All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way,” says Jeffers.
Trust. Trust that we can handle it.
The F* Factor. Whatever comes my way. I’ll handle it.
I wonder what tomorrow’s weather will bring?
“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.”