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"Kicking the Worry Habit" featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright © 2001 by Michael Angier. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
"You can't stop worrying. You have to start thinking about desired results-something good instead of something bad."
Kicking the Worry Habit
I grew up on a Vermont farm. After college I bought a farm of my own and operated it for several years. You might be interested to know that I learned the secret to making a small fortune in farming. It's kind of inside information and I don't pass it around to just anybody. Ready? Here it is: start out with a large one, and sooner or later, you'll have a small one.
Farmers don't lead easy lives. The work is hard and the risks are great. They're dependent on the weather and many other things outside of their control.
I used to worry all the time. I worried about livestock disease. I worried about getting bank loans. I worried about the buying price of grain and the selling prices of livestock. I worried about not having enough money. I was unhappy, fatigued and irritable. It had become a disease.
And then I read Dale Carnegie's classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In doing so, I realized that I was making myself sick with worry and that I could pay a very heavy price. Reading that book may have saved my life.
I came to the awareness that worry was like prayer in reverse. When we worry and fret over things, we make them bigger than they really are, as well as attract what we're fussing over. It's proof positive of the principle of visualization--only in a negative way. It's contrary prayer-prayer in reverse.
Somehow, I had it wired up that worry was actually virtuous. I guess I figured that I wasn't being a good parent unless I worried about my kids. I thought I was being irresponsible if I wasn't worrying about my business and my finances. Not so.
It took me over a year to kick the worry habit. It wasn't easy. It took daily diligence to eradicate it from my life. I occasionally slip back into worry for brief periods, but I don't stay with it. It no longer runs my life.
Worry is not our friend. It's our enemy. Jim Rohn says, "Worry is like an economic cancer. And if continued, it will haul you off into a financial desert where you will choke on the dust of your own regrets." How's that for a vivid picture?
Most of the things we worry about are things over which we have little or no control. If we think about it, it's stupid. Agonizing about what might occur and about things we can't control gives our power away.
Thankfully, most of what we worry about never occurs. The French philosopher Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, wrote in the 1500's, "My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened."
What do you worry about? In my research, I've found most people are excellent worriers. They worry about illness, lack of money, old age, taxes, the next generation--you name it! They burn up their energy, lower their resistance to illness and actually draw to them what they fear. Like Job in the Bible, "That which I have feared has come upon me."
Our hospital and cemeteries are filled with people who made worry an everyday companion. Don't be one of them. If you suffer from this affliction, you need to cure yourself.
The biggest lever for change is to be aware of what we're doing and realize how detrimental it is to our lives. If you find yourself upset or anxious, check to see if you're worrying. If so, focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. You can't stop worrying. You have to start thinking about desired results-something good instead of something bad. Start working on the solution rather than a possible negative outcome.
By doing so, you'll be healthier, live longer, have more fun and produce more of what you want.
Michael Angier is the founder and president of Success Networks. Success Net's mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best -- personally and professionally. You can download their free eBooklet, KEYS TO PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS from their website at http://www.SuccessNet.org (site will open in a new window).