To be Human is to Worry (but She’ll be right mate!)
Where I’m from we like to put people’s minds at rest by telling them: “She’ll be right mate!” Our way of saying don’t worry.
You might love to book a time to swim amongst the dolphins, but we prefer to swim amongst the sharks. Well that is the perception from the outside looking in. Is it just the laconic spirit of our nation, or is it simply that sharks really are not a big worry for a sun and surf loving country?
A lot of worry is based on unrealised concern and can really drain you. It can bring you to a point of obsessing that pushes everything else into the background. A lot of times it can be downright irrational, what you are worrying about. In fact, not looking more closely at your pet worry leaves you ignorant of the true facts about that worry. Take a look at some of these:
Cows are more dangerous than sharks:
You are statistically far more likely to die at the hands (sorry, hooves) of a cow than you are to be savaged by a shark. People hear shark they swim away. Cows? Not a problem!
Stairs are more risky than elevators:
Elevators have so many features that they are incredibly safe. Stairs on the other hand are an accident waiting to happen. Who’s used a phone whilst on the stairs? A huge number of people are injured or killed falling down stairs.
Falls from chairs kill more people than falls from great heights.
Chairs are comfortable to sit on, but how many times do we use them for climbing or some other weird purpose? Not to mention simply falling out of them, tripping on them, it goes on and on. Now heights, we have a healthy respect for. Ain’t going to experiment with rock climbing from Mount Fujiama. Or offer to pop outside and clean the office windows on the 52nd floor.
There are many platitudes that have worked their way into our advice to friends and family who worry, to the point of distraction:
- “worrying is paying interest on a loan you haven’t taken”
- “70% of all worries are never realised”
- “XXXXXXXXXXXXXX” (place your personal favourite platitude here!)
People who are worriers (an awful lot of us) when faced with a complex project at work use different techniques to approach that project. Why not for our personal concerns that keep us awake at night?
I propose that if we can at least run our worry through a Risk-O-Meter, determine the results, we have to some extent done something about that risk (and worry). It would be a step in the right direction in overcoming what can be an irrational but paralysing habit.
Take the questionnaire below and move on with some sort of action, or pack that worry away as something you are willing to put up with if it happens.
My concern is …. _________________________________________
Answer these questions:
What can happen?
What can be done if it happens?
How likely is it to happen?
Is it worth doing something now?
What are consequences if it happens?
Impact of taking action now?
Just running through these questions and responses start to help with realisations like:
Some things I have no control over stopping them, but I can be prepared.
I am getting hung up on things that are likely never to occur. Is the cost of the constant worry a greater threat than the concern itself?
This worry is important to me and I can have an action plan ready, right now, to lessen the hurt if it eventuates.
If you go through the above steps and this results in you doing something (yes, DO SOMETHING!!) then you are on your way.
If you put it on your protracted “to do“ list, then there is some hope. But tell someone so you are accountable.
If you do nothing because you are in control and you address your concerns in an appropriate and timely manner, you beauty!
If you are still not convinced that you need to address your worry, you may be enveloped by a cocoon of fear, that is totally irrational. Might I suggest you consider that the things we fear most (the sharks, the elevators, the great heights) are disguising far more subtle things such as cows, chairs and stairs.
You will begin to realise how ridiculous it is to do a risk assessment of the likelihood of tangling with a cow. That most risks are unforeseen and don’t warrant your obsessing over them.