Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Why Worry About the Future

How to cope with anxiety when it won’t do you any good.

Fear is Rarely Rational

We all worry about the future. For instance, right now I am waiting on some contracts that could change my life.  It’s a bit nerve wracking. Or it should be. Mostly – I just keep plodding along hoping for the best not really spending much time thinking about it.

How do I manage to stay so calm? Well, practice.  Meditation helps, certainly. But I also understand that the best way to ensure a good future is for me to actively work towards it.

You see, I’m not passive. I am actively shaping my future.  Even if I have to wait for something to happen, I’m not actually waiting for it to happen. I am working to see if I can make other things happen in the meantime.

I like to divide potential futures into 2 basic categories. Things I am in control of and things I am not.  There is a third category – things that will have no impact on my future at all.

When I worry about the future, I try to focus on those things I am in control of.  For instance, waiting on someone else to make a decision, is not something I have control of. Sure, I can follow up and see if I can help them make a decision in any way – but ultimately, I need to allow them to make that decision.

Having something to sell them, that is something I can control. I find that since I focus on things I have control of instead of endlessly fussing about and focusing on things I can’t control, I end up creating new opportunities for myself.

And this is where I think my Humanism comes into play. It is really tempting to resort to supernaturalism to try and influence someone else’s behaviors and decisions. But because I chose not to rely on supernaturalism, I don’t fall into that temptation. Instead, I look for constructive solutions to my problems in the here and now.  I don’t have to wait – I can do something. It may not be related to the thing I am waiting on – but it just may open up a new opportunity to me. And that’s all because I didn’t waste my time, energy or money on things that are beyond my ability to control.

The next time you find yourself worrying about the future, stop. Instead of worrying, assess whether you can do something about this or not. If not, find something you can positively influence instead and work on that. This will have a double impact on you. It will reduce your stress and anxiety and it will help you create new opportunities to improve your future. This pragmatic approach is double plus good in my book.

How do you cope when worried about the future?