Do you remember what you were worrying about in 2013? Or what your big, all-consuming problems were two Christmases ago? I doubt it. You know why?
Because 97.4% of the things you worry about never happen.
97.4% of the time, here’s what happens when you ignore what you think is a problem:
- The person you’re worried about does exactly the thing you’re worried about and nobody dies. And nobody cares.
- Somebody else fixes it.
- It wasn’t really a problem in the first place.
Yes, we’re taught to face our problems, head on.
“Turn around and kill the bear,” Anthony Hopkins says.
“I’ll give you a war you won’t believe,” Rambo says.
“I’m all about that action, Boss,” Marshawn Lynch says.
“Let it go,” Idina Menzel says. Yeah, I’m with Queen Elsa on this.
I had a neighbor, Garvey, who was in a constant state of turmoil. He worried about gas prices and air pollution. He worried about his migraines turning into brain tumors, and his kids being kidnapped, and unemployment. At block parties, we’d joke that when the zombies came, we all hoped to be in Garvey’s car — he had survival blankets and extra ammo in his trunk.
He didn’t travel — too many logistical problems. He didn’t eat out — did those cooks wash their hands? He didn’t accept that promotion at work — too much responsibility.
He died in a car accident 8 blocks from his house. He was 41.
The sad part is not that he died — we all will, sooner or later. The sad part is that he lived every moment of his life in a state of self-imposed, totally unnecessary distress.
Because the disasters that DO happen? You’ll never see them coming anyway.
Think back to any truly difficult times in your life. What happened? Was it something you’d been worrying about for months or years? Something you’d been preparing for?
Or did it land on your head like a meteor falling out of a clear blue sky?
97.4% of the time — it was shockingly unexpected.
So why worry? Why spend even one minute in panic mode, when you could be doing something useful? Sleeping late, writing a novel, drinking single-malt scotch, sailing the open sea or updating the really good porn apps.
Do you know who survives tsunamis and plane crashes and IRS audits?
People who were somewhere else that day, having a beer, not worrying about a damn thing.
You think this is fine advice for plain old anxiety, but you have REAL problems?
You’ve got 48 people depending on you to make the payroll this week.
Your grandmother was robbed.
You lost your dog.
You can’t pay the rent.
There’s a maniac in the White House.
Don’t you always get it done? Don’t you always find a way? Haven’t you proven to yourself, time and time again, that you have what it takes to survive? To overcome adversity? To always find what you need?
Stop pretending the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It really isn’t.
Refusing to worry is an act of faith.
Refusing to worry is a revolutionary act of faith. I cannot truly believe that the Universe knows what it’s doing — and simultaneously believe that I have something to fear. The best way to show my gratitude to the Quantum Dude or Dudette is to TRUST.
The best way to show my gratitude to the Universe is to trust it.
Trust what is right in front of me. Believe that things are unfolding as they should. Know beyond all doubt that no matter what happens — spilled coffee or my boyfriend banging my BFF or bankruptcy— I will handle it.
Stop reading for the next 10 seconds and try something: I want you to TRUST and FRET at the same time. Ready? Go!
How’d it go? Exactly my point.
Now, before you start screaming at me in the comments — yes, there are few problems which will, in fact, worsen without intervention:
- Small kitchen fires
- Termite infestations
- Brain tumors
- Clogged toilets
- Obstruction of justice
And— could any one of these things have been prevented if only you’d done more worrying?
Right. Have a beer, man. The Universe has got this.