What Worries You Masters You

“What worries you masters you.”John Locke

“I define non-clinical anxiety as, “experiencing failure in advance.” If you’re busy enacting a future that hasn’t happened yet, and amplifying the worst possible outcomes, it’s no wonder it’s difficult to ship that work.” — Seth Godin

Have you ever wondered why humans worry? According to researchers, it’s because we live in a Delayed Return Environment. (I learned this from a great James Clear article.)

Delayed Return Environment is a fancy way of saying that feedback we get in our day to day lives isn’t always immediate.

We save money, investment in ROTH IRAs, and in a few decades, we’ll have a retirement fund. We work hard and then we get paid every two weeks.

It’s like applying for a bunch of jobs. You send out a resume and cover letter into the black abyss of the internet, and if you’re smart your resume will get past the AI recruitment process, and then if you’re lucky you’ll get an interview or a polite decline. But most of the time you get back nothing. No feedback.

It’s the equivalent of your significant other giving you the cold shoulder—it’s maddening.

The problem is we let this delayed feedback control our lives. We worry about problems in advance—things that haven’t happened yet—so we inevitably create this future we don’t want because we are spending all our time too distracted to actually live.

A problem multiplies when we layer anxiety and worry on top of it.

Not only are we dealing with a problem, but we’re also dealing with our worries about the problem. And then we start worrying about the fact that we are worrying.

But what does worry get us?

Peace of mind?
Clear thought about how to prevent risk?
Courage to be ourselves?

No. All worry gives us is more worry.

What we really need to do is focus our efforts on the present. We are where we are, good and-or bad. The only thing that will improve and enjoy our lives is being alive today. Happiness is the absence of worry.

If something worrisome is bothering you—a potential outcome you want to avoid—then make a list of things you can do right now to prevent it. And then make a list of things you would do if the worst happened. And then get back to living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1045

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