Thursday, 3 September 2009
Worries and imaginary fear
“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
I came across this phrase a couple of weeks ago, and I chuckled.
It’s funny – many years ago my secondary school teacher taught us about unfounded fears and worry. He said that many people hold off doing certain stuff or making certain decision because of unfounded fear or worry. “What if…” precedes every thought in their minds. These fears and worries paralyze people, and many whom had tried were amazed to discover just how much of their deepest fears and worries were misplaced and imaginary.
Imaginary fear and worries can be your worst enemies, for they stifle your potential for greater things in life. A little fear is a good thing – it helps you respect your challenge. There is a Chinese saying that “only a new-born calf is fearless of the tiger”. A small amount of fear helps you prepare for the fight and increases your chance of success – it is a good thing.
On the other hand, worrying over unfounded fears stops many people from accomplishing something that they could have succeeded otherwise. Unfounded fears not only stop you from trying, it has that inert ability to come back and haunt you in the later years – “what if I had gone ahead with what I wanted to do?”
Recall the things you did not have the courage to do, especially those which you fussed and worried over the consequences at that time. Do the “disastrous” outcomes seem less disastrous to you now? Do you often wonder what would have happened had you tried, and succeeded? Or looked back at the decisions which you had the courage to make. Would your life be different now had you not had the courage to make that decision then? Would you have missed out on the wonderful results had you shrank from the challenge and let your worry overwhelm you?
Whenever you are faced with a challenge in life, evaluate your own chances very carefully. While it is often difficult to accurately gauge your success rate, it is easier to self-examine your own evaluation of the outcome. People who are leaning towards an appraisal of success in their chances often convince themselves by over-inflating the worth of a victory, and downplay the cost of a failure. And vice-versa, people who think they might not succeed will usually exaggerate the cost of failure and convince themselves the fruits of success are not all they’re made up to be. Be honest with yourself how badly you want to taste success, rather than moderating your evaluation of the rewards according to your chances of success. Sour grapes taste especially bad in the wine of life.
But whatever you do, don’t worry unnecessarily. “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Keep walking fellas.