When I was a young child, I used to worry a lot. I don’t know how I learned this habit, but it seemed to have a hold on me for many years.
During my teenage years, I worried about whether I was cool enough. During my early adult years, I worried if I was successful enough. During my mid-twenties, I started to worry that all my hair would fall out.
Then one day, I had a breakthrough.
I finally saw that worry is simply making mental pictures of what you don’t want.
Worry is the act of using your awesome mental powers of projection to invent a scenario where something goes a different way than you’d hoped. If you keep visualizing negative or fearful outcomes, your brain goes into a loop called worry.
But here’s the good news: the ability to worry also gives you the ability to focus on what you do want.
Let me give you an example. During the past year and a half, I had some serious financial ‘worries’. This was due to me taking a large salary cut and starting my own business.
At first, I was all full of bravado and bluster. I was going to set the world on fire. Yet as the months wore on, with very limited results, I felt the worry creeping in. I started to imagine what would happen if my business failed, if I couldn’t make the same amount of money again. I started to imagine a bleak future of scarcity.
And guess what? Things got worse.
My energy dropped. I couldn’t seem to get results. Every day I felt the drag of worry pulling at me, limiting my ability to make an impact.
One day, while in a deep pit of misery, it hit me: I am creating this situation through imagining what I don’t want.
I decided to shift my attention and imagination. I wrote a big list of the things I truly wanted in my life, and started to visualize them more clearly. I spent a few minutes every morning getting excited about the new opportunities that were coming.
Did the results come to me overnight? Of course not.
But what did change was my energy. I was suddenly able to focus forward and see ways to make things happen. I was able to move closer to what I was visualizing simply by asking myself ‘how can I make this happen?’ .
Amazingly a few months later, I’m glad to say that the results are starting to appear. My ability to focus forward and get excited about what is coming has been a huge factor in making that happen.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
If you make mental pictures of something you don’t want, you deplete your energy. If you keep doing it, that is when worry kicks in.
But if you flip your imaginative power on its head and start making strong mental pictures of what you do want – especially things you can influence the outcome of – you will start to feel a rise of energy and strength.
What is the solution to worry? Get focused on what you want, and get excited about making it happen.