How do you worry? While the emotion can be a formidable foe, we mustn’t forget that every coin has two sides. What do you feel as you worry? Does the worry lead to distress, finally cascading into a perplexed or confused state?
Author Robert Greene paints early humans as a benefactor of this misunderstood emotion in his masterpiece, Mastery. While the Business Insider published an article that plays on the distress our worries can bring, there is a one solution to disheartening worries that will empower you to be decisive. Worry will, as long as you allow it, become a trusted confidant. Unless, of course, you enjoy the emotional roller coaster.
Robert Greene has nearly two decades of brilliant and insightful books on the nature of mankind. If you’ve read The 48 Laws of Power, you’re likely better for it. His masterpiece, Mastery, should be taught in public school. With that being said, consider Mr. Greene’s words on the evolving prehistoric human:
“These early humans evolved the ability to detach and think, their primary advantage in the struggle to avoid predators and find food. It connected them to a reality other animals could not access. Thinking on this level was the single greatest turning point in all of evolution-the emergence of the conscious, reasoning mind.”
With that reasoning mind, they worried often — about predators, their families, where the next meal was coming from, and many other survival basics. These worries were necessary and decisive. They lacked the luxuries of the 21st century and so worry was advantageous and complacency meant death.
Switching gears for a moment, consider the person you love most. Think of how they have proven to you that they love you. Meanwhile, consider your favorite food and how it tastes. In fact, imagine the person you love has prepared that favorite food perfectly. That imagination wouldn’t have been possible if our ancestors did not harness the negatives they developed while simultaneously forging them into positive assets. With that being said, there are times when a person could be manipulated into worrying the wrong way as well.
The Washington Post recently referenced a study that supposedly proves that men cheat more often when their ages ended with 9. In fact, 18% of the 8,000,000 men on Ashley Madison were, in fact, 9ers. The person who allows their worries to control them may make a rash assumption here. They fail to realize, because they’re becoming distressed, that only 30% of internet interactions actually end in a meet up.
How to Define and Prioritize Your Worries
In order to overcome counter-productive worrying, you must, through practice and discipline, designate time alone to worry. Throughout your day, write any worries that present themselves in a specific place and leave them there until your set aside time. When that time comes, first and foremost, circle all the challenges that you wield no power over. If it cannot be changed, you cannot worry about it.
Next, prioritize your worries from greatest to least. Once you’ve got that in order, decide which ones must be solved the quickest. Then, begin devising the solution to your worry with the highest priority and the least time to solve. Take your time, relax, and make a game plan. Even if this occupies a whole hour, it will amass to much less time than worrying all day, and it will produce more concise and refined results. Obviously there will be decisions daily that have to be made on the fly, but the worry over those decisions and their repercussions should be isolated.
Pro Tip: Use the 80-20 rule. Focus 20% on the issue, 80% on the answer.
Make Worrying a Role Player in Your Life
Imagine this: the year is 1997 and the Chicago Bulls are tied 86-86 against the Utah Jazz. There’s only one possession left, so you’d imagine Head Coach Phil Jackson wants to see His Royal Airness Michael Jordan take the final shot. Instead, when Michael caught the pass, he himself also passed the ball. To Scottie Pippen of course, you might think? No, M.J. passed to the now Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. Steve Kerr, without hesitation, drained the deep ball and won the Finals.
Role players are important. Using those role players advantageously is the difference maker. Steve Kerr, a Point Guard who averaged 6.0 points a game and 15 minutes of playing time a game for his career, was a role player.
Take a moment to compare your life with the ’97 Chicago Bulls. Everyone has a mind that devises up a plan for their lives. This is comparable to Phil Jackson, the Head Coach of the team. We all have key characteristics that we rely on — some speak well, some have great imaginations, etc. Picture your key talents as your Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the team. Few people understand who their role players are, and those that do often rely on them very little.
Why don’t you take a pivotal page from our early ancestors and make worry a role player on the team? Understand how to worry to win so well that worrying the right way will lead you to your greatest achievements. Let worry be your Steve Kerr.
Featured photo credit: Kate Williams via unsplash.com