Success Principles

Kicking the Worry Habit

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"Worry is like prayer in reverse."

I grew up on a Vermont farm. After college, I bought a farm of my own and operated it for several years. During this time, 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 price 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 I was making myself sick with worry, and I could pay a very heavy price. Reading that book may have saved my life.

I came to the awareness that worry is 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 positive proof of the principle of visualization—only in a negative way.

Somehow, I had it wired up that worry was actually virtuous. I guess I figured 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 away our power.

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 hospitals 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.

By doing so, you'll be healthier, live longer, have more fun and produce more of what you want.

The biggest lever for change is to be aware of what you're doing and realize how detrimental it is to your life. 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 simply stop worrying. You have to replace your worry by thinking about desired results—something good instead of something bad. Start working on the solution rather than a possible negative outcome.

Michael Angier is founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of SuccessNet—a support network helping people and businesses grow and prosper. Get their free Resource Book ($27 value) of products, services and tools for running your business more effectively. And most of the over 150 resources are free.

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