“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”-Corrie ten Boom
When I read this quote in my mindfulness class at school one of my students grimaced and winced while shaking his head. I could see that he was upset so I asked him what was bothering him.
“It’s just that I don’t agree with that quote.” When I asked him why, he said that without worry he wouldn’t be motivated to accomplish most of what he needed to. He said that worry kept him moving forward. It really surprised me that someone would be so attached to their worrying that they would become offended when asked to reduce it. I asked him to reflect on what aspect of his worry was helping him versus harming him. We finally came to the conclusion that recognizing importance was helpful but that negative fortune telling and problem prediction were not.
Motivation to take action and worry are not the same thing. Worry is the judgmental defeatist self talk that tells you everything that could go wrong and all the reasons you might fail. Motivation is recognizing why the event is important and putting into action constructive steps towards accomplishing it. Worry drains you of the energy you need to accomplish something while motivation replenishes it.
When you have something important to accomplish remember to keep your self talk positive. Develop a realistic plan and envision good outcomes. Avoid mulling over all of the risks and obstacles. You can recognize that they are there without allowing them to take over the brain space needed to move forward. Keep the motivation and drop the worry.
As the Dalai Lama XIV says, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”