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It’s Alright To Worry, If You Keep It At 20% (You’ll Be Happier And More Likely To Be Successful)

It’s Alright To Worry, If You Keep It At 20% (You’ll Be Happier And More Likely To Be Successful)

Imagine what you would achieve if you knew you couldn’t fail.

If you had a guarantee that whatever endeavor you chose to pursue would be successful, you’d worry less and you would be willing to embark on all manner of challenges. We are generally aware that success is part hard work, part opportunity and part good luck. Nothing great comes easy and for most people, a lot of preparation and consideration goes into any kind of new enterprise.

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The trouble is that when fear takes hold, an imbalance occurs. Instead of using pragmatism and allowing for a realistic assessment of a situation, we instead let images of the worse case scenario take over our thoughts and focus the majority of our energy on worrying about the worst thing that can happen. We focus on the possibility of failure more than the potential success.

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The main thing that people look for in any new phase in their life; whether it be a new business venture, a new relationship, moving house, moving cities or a change of career; is a sense of security. We all want the assurance that there will be a high chance of success. That the gain will outweigh the risk. Nobody wants to outlay a lot of money without any chance of recouping it, nobody wants to risk their health and well being, nobody wants to put themselves and their families in a position of disadvantage. When a new opportunity presents itself, it is only natural to consider if it will improve your life or end in disaster. It is easier to do nothing and be safe; but will it give you satisfaction? Is never trying anything new a good way to live? Will you always have regrets? How will you know what you are capable of if you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone?

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Unfortunately we end up spending the majority of our time and energy on worry instead of using that momentum to actually make our dreams happen. Rather than dwelling on possible failures, the wisest and most successful people will acknowledge and address the risks and the possible losses, but instead of making that the focus, they instead become more solution oriented. With careful planning, a bit of research and a lot of courage, triumph comes from the act of participation. Sometimes, even when we crash and burn, the journey is its own reward. The lessons and gains we get along the way may be unexpected and just because things don’t end up as we had hoped, that doesn’t mean that we are necessarily worse off. We may succeed in other ways, even beyond our initial hopes and imaginings.

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Instead of 80% worry – 20% work, try 80% optimism – 20% risk assessment

This means that the time and effort you put towards imagining things going wrong, could be put towards addressing this as a possibility, but at the same time, thinking of solutions to equip you to deal with these events should they happen. In other words, you are not being naive and pretending that everything will go according to plan and nothing will go wrong. Instead you consider all the possible outcomes and equip yourself with the tools, the knowledge and the alternative solutions to see you through a disaster.

To worry is only normal and in fact is quite healthy because it allows you to consider the risks and make informed and calculated decisions. In fact, worrying and anxiety has been closely associated with your level of intelligence. The more frequently you worry, the smarter you are. Within reason. There is no point getting into a state and wasting the energy you could put towards achieving your goals on stressing about failing.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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