Can we all stop worrying?

We worry about a lot of things–in business and in life. Our customers. Our kids. The future. Our legacy. Grocery shopping. Our portfolios. The new product launch.  Our blog. The scathing comment on our blog. The season finale of our favorite TV show. Our parents. The mortgage. What we’re doing for lunch. I could go on and on, but you get the point. We are a worrisome bunch of people. We just can’t stop agonizing over every detail of our lives. It’s an addiction of the worst kind.

Yesterday, I tried and experiment. Every time I caught myself worrying, I decided to make a note of it. Yesterday was Saturday–not a typical work day–and, still, I found myself worrying about things 34 times. Some things were big, others small. Some things were about what was happening in the moment, some things about what I was anticipating in the future. But all of it was worry. 34 times.

6:00am – I overslept; how am I possibly going to get all of my morning stuff done?

7:03am – Another “Like” on my Facebook Page; how can I make the page more meaningful as it grows?

7:45am – Great! Another student loan payment!

9:18am – Is this dog going to rip my arm off?

10:05am – What picture should I use for tomorrow’s blog post?

11:11am – How do I respond to the insulting remark that woman just made?

12:17pm – Philosophical pondering: which is better, to forego freedom in order to stick with a commitment or to forego commitments in order to honor my freedom?

2:33pm – Am I going to have time to finish this presentation this afternoon?

4:37pm – Should I make an upcoming project part of my current blog or start a new one entirely?

5:01pm – I will never listen to another non-fiction audio book again. I’m so sick of having to rewind over and over again to make a note of my favorite quotes.

5:47pm – Halfway to a friend’s house and I just realized I copied down the wrong address.

7:38pm – I really shouldn’t be eating all of these potato chips. I can feel myself getting fatter.

Yes, and this was Saturday. Imagine if it were Monday. I wouldn’t have time to write down every time I worried, and that would be yet another thing I found myself worrying about.

What I Mean by Worry

I should be clear that I am not exactly a proponent of the “just fugghettaboutit and drift through life aimlessly” mentality. I believe that we should live with intention. We should plan, and we should execute. In order to do so, we have to things on our mind. We have to be considering variables in the task at hand or weighing options for our future. We have to be doing some critical thinking. We have to, you could argue, be worrying.

I always like what Seth Godin said about worry: “Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance.” It’s true. The worry that’s bad, the worry that we should avoid, is the worry that we experience. The emotional worry. The worry that we feel. The stuff that makes our chests feel heavy and clouds our mind.

So, I would like to encourage you today–whether you’re reading this on Sunday or Monday, whether the day is a breeze or a wreck–to stop worrying. Don’t stop planning. Don’t stop thinking. Don’t stop living. Just don’t let it get to you. Don’t let worry mess your judgement. Don’t let worry toy with your heart.

You haven’t failed yet. Just do the best that you can do with the resources that you have and, if it turns out poorly, you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it anyway. So, yes, fughettaboutit and just live your life–worry-free.

This message was brought to you by three little birds.

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