“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength,” wrote Corrie ten Boom. Most of us worry more than we would like to. We worry about our careers. We worry about our children. We worry about the direction our lives are taking.
What would you be capable of if worry never crossed your mind? Who would you be if it weren’t for self-doubt? If you were sure that failure was not an option, what great things would you attempt?
Most people do not live in fear of hard work, ingenuity, or any of the other main ingredients for success. We live in fear of failure. The funny thing is, we guarantee this for ourselves if we allow fear to stop us from trying.
Fear and worry can be healthy – to a point. Worry is the thing that gets us to work on time every morning. Fear stops us from touching a hot stove. In fact, worry has been shown to indicate a high level of intelligence.
These feelings protect us. They certainly have a place in our lives. The problem is not that we feel worry at all. It’s that we let it get too big in our minds. When given the chance, fear will begin to overtake our psyche. It grows wildly. It starts to crowd out the good stuff. We allow our sense of fear to creep into parts of our brain where it doesn’t belong. When we allow fear to overtake our sense of reason, we risk losing our capacity for hope and ambition. To make room for our fear, we end up dropping the things that could truly make us great.
Worry is at its most powerful when we are on the brink of something amazing. Perhaps you are buying a house, starting a business, or trying to get pregnant. You may be moving across the country for a dream job. The logical part of your brain has decided to undertake a calculated risk. You understand that the potential rewards far outweigh the risk of failure. You become excited – and with that comes the familiar tint of worry. Our minds have a way of jumping straight to the worst-case scenario, no matter how unlikely it may be.
It is easy to listen to our fear. It seems reasonable. It’s simple and safe to never go beyond the familiar. That’s why they call it a comfort zone. You could give in to worry and decide to never run and take the plunge. Your life would remain comfortable.
Imagine the energy you waste on worry were put to a good use instead. The next time you feel like giving into fear, don’t ignore it or fight it. Worry only grows larger when we try to push it under the rug. Instead, listen to it. Get to the root of your worry. Dig deeper than the fear that has risen to the surface. What is fueling it at the core? What are you truly afraid of? Failure? Growth? Disapproval? Then, once you have identified the monster, you can fight it. How likely is the outcome you are worried about? Could you move on with your life if this did happen? Do you trust in the universe to lead to to the place where you are meant to thrive?
Things may go wrong. That’s a part of life. However, more often than not an unexpected or unwanted turn can lead us to something even better. This is how we grow. This is how we move forward in our lives.
You could give in to your fears, but you will only end up standing still. Instead, you could choose to nip them in the bud. Listen to your sense of caution, and balance it with reason, hope, and trust in your life’s unique journey. Use your fear as a tool. Let it work for you, rather than against you. It is only when we try to shut our fear down without listening that it begins to overtake our minds.
The original article can be found here.