Fear of the future – what could happen, what might occur, what someone may say or think, what could befall you – most fear – lies in future assumptions – the forethought of grief and trouble.
While some resort to Buddhism or Christianity – the wise use both – here is a simple formula that may assist you in expanding your peace of mind.
I’m not referring to the Law of Averages, although this, too, should be borne in mind – Dale Carnegie wrote that the US Navy used the law of averages in order to boost their sailors’ morale. Sailors who were assigned to high-octane tankers were initially really worried that they would be blown up when the tank exploded. So the Navy provided them with some exact figures: Of the 100 tanks that were hit by torpedoes, 60 stayed afloat and only five sank in less than 10 minutes, leaving time to get off the ship.
How about this system that employs reason – when we force our minds to think about numbers and names, to calculate and remember, we force out the emotionalism and exaggeration that breed fear. For example, we trained hotel clerks to deal with angry guests by asking them questions like, “what is your vehicle registration number? What room are you in? What time did you check in? What was the name of the person? What was he wearing? How much, exactly?” this reduces overreaction and calms people.
With this in mind, let’s consider the following: 40 percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway. Things over and past that can’t be changed by all the worry in the world: 30 percent. Real, legitimate worries: 8 percent. Only 8 percent of your worries are worth concerning yourself about. And of that 8%, you can probably only control 6%, and you can prepare for as much as you wish.
What to do about the 6%? Well, I write down everything I worry about and make a separate list of the things I can actually DO something about and/or prepare for. Then I create a DO LIST and get to work on it every time I worry about the future because the source of most fear lies in the future.
Can I prevent death? No. But I can drive carefully, eat correctly, have good funeral plans for my wife and myself, have an up-to-date will, buy life insurance, etc. Do I worry about our business? Of course. So I get to work on it, and so forth.
But worrying about things that MAY happen and that I CAN’T control is just silly, and I need to remind myself of this: “Can I control what Bob will do? No. Am I emotionally attached to that (Buddhism)? Is God ultimately in control, and will He do what’s best for me? Will he give me the strength to deal with it? Will He test me beyond my ability and resources (Christianity)? What are the odds of Bob ripping me off? Let me pray and meditate and exercise and spend time in nature and work.”
ACT. When you’re busy, you don’t have time to worry! And preparing as well as you can for all eventualities will add to your sense of control and peace of mind; IF-THEN questions will help: IF that happens, how am I prepared? How can I prepare?
Finally, when making a decision, ask yourself, “What is the WISE thing to do in the light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams?” And please cease worrying about the opinions of other people – that, alone, will give you great freedom.