Hmm, I don’t know how that header should be completed.
Do you? No?
Then, let’s find out together.
In my opinion, the standard saying: “Don’t worry, be happy” seems to be too simplified because not only do I doubt that one can be happy all the time, it also would be too exhausting, though a friend of mine did once exclaim jovially: “Worrying works for me! 90% of the things I worry about never happens!”
I guess the philosopher Michel De Montaigne got an even better perspective on this topic: “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.”
All in all, I guess that being anything else but worried is already a huge improvement.
It’s a challenge not to worry. I used to be a worry wart (yes, even as a kid); nevertheless, at some point in the not so recent past, I read that worrying is planning for a negative future. That really blew my mind open in the best of ways, as I want to live in the NOW. So, I stopped worrying.
Looking at it from my preferred perspective of rationality, worry is pointless, since it would not alter the circumstances. In fact, worry only steals one’s joy and keeps one extremely busy doing literally nothing.
Why then, do we spend so much time worrying?
We are often driven by greed and fear. Worry is actually a subset of fear—a low-grade kind of fear.
Worry is a misuse of our great imagination.
Worrying is what we do to avoid taking action—it’s our habit.
Worrying is a mistake. It’s simply not what our mind and our brain were meant for.
“Worry does not keep it from raining tomorrow, but it does keep it from being sunny today.” – Shannon L. Adler
Now for some good news: If you are reading this, you are still alive.
That means that regardless of how difficult your past problems or worries might have been, you got through them in that moment of NOW when you could actually do something about them.
Because you are reading this, it means that you survived every single past moment of “worry” and that you have never failed. You made it through every moment of “worry” or you wouldn’t be here. So, Congratulations!
Now, don’t you feel much better already?
So, we have established that being stuck at the level of “worry” neither helps nor serves us. On top of that, worry is unnecessary and it would never lead us to a higher level of creativity or action since worry keeps us down at a level where there is no creativity and no action.
No Action, No Change
When we create something, we no longer just react to what happens to us; instead, we are pro-active.
Nonetheless, if you don’t know what to create, don’t do anything for now. The fact that you don’t know what to do means that you don’t have enough information yet. So, don’t do anything just for the sake of it.
Because it is not one’s action but one’s intent that makes things happen. Most people try pure action instead of firstly aligning their “energy” with their intentions, resulting that they become overwhelmed by too much “nonsensical action”.
This need for action can be reduced to a minimum by simply allowing yourself to focus on what you desire (check against your goal map) until you feel a positive energy begin to move within. If you practice this, you would know when the time is right to take action.
Yes, action is necessary for change, though it should always be the last step: focus on what you desire, step back and wait until you feel a positive emotion to take action—it would be the right action and it would be effortless.
How does one get away from worrying?
I personally use this method; I convert my “worry” into concern (this word has more maturity, dignity, and creativity in it) and I can act on it. Because when I am concerned, I take action in the NOW.
Because when I take action and create something NOW, there is no need to worry about it in the future, since if I am able to resolve something in the NOW, it logically would not be a problem in the future any longer.
What we create now, we need not have to worry about in the future.
We all have more control over our own lives than we realize.
A practical application of concern vs. worry
Am I right in assuming that the recent stock market gyrations might have worried some of you a bit?
Despite the fact that those market gyrations concerned me too, I am not too worried about my investment portfolio.
Why is that?
Because, firstly, I invest for the long-term and, secondly, I must preserve my capital to achieve my goals. So to that end, I always ensure that I have a risk-insurance against the “sure-have-risk-stock-market” in place.
Most investors can describe their returns of their portfolio (= easy to calculate), but most of them cannot describe the risk in their portfolio.
Isn’t it a bit surprising that investors don’t focus on what they can control (= risk) instead of on what they can’t control (= returns)?
So, that’s why I never leave home without having a risk-insurance in place. I hedge to reduce volatility because this volatility erodes my returns in several ways (that I dislike): Mathematically, Psychologically, and Logistically.
Hedging also reduces the likelihood that I would suffer from decisions influenced by one of the most powerful deterrents to an individual investor’s success in managing a portfolio—Loss Aversion.
Studies have confirmed that the single difference in demographics and investing behavioural characteristics between the most successful and the worst performing investors is: The successful investors used protection in their portfolios, while the worst didn’t.
My protection of choice is the Out-of-the-money Put Option on broad-based Stock Indexes. I call them SWANs – “sleep well at night” Put Options.
Yes, that protection costs a bit of money, but it buys me peace of mind, which for me is priceless.
Do I hope that the markets would crash just so that I can try out how my hedges work?
Definitely not, since it would create mayhem in many people’s lives (as My 15 Hour Work Week described it so appropriately recently).
Incidentally, I also have a fire insurance on my house; nevertheless, I do not hope that my house would go up in flames.
So, in conclusion, the ever-present choice to create my life by design instead of by default looks very appealing to me.
What about you?
Gosh, that was quite a long post and I would apologize, but as Blaise Pascal said: “I would have written you a shorter post, but I did not have the time.”
If you would like to read more about how I utilise those SWANs aka Put Options, drop me a comment in the box below, and should there be enough interest, I might publish a post pertaining to the details.