Tag Archives: worry

What Me Worry?

17 Dec

It’s been said that 97% of what we worry about never happens. And yet, for some of us, it’s seems almost impossible to put a stop to worrying. What is worry? The psychiatrist Carl Jung characterizes worry as a substitute for legitimate suffering. In other words, it’s neurotic, not helpful and a waste of time. Worry is when your thoughts run wild, sometimes to the point of being delusional and out of control. One negative thought attracts another, followed by another and so on until all you can see on your path is disaster. Everything is absolute, and everything is a catastrophe.

How does this happen? Why is worrying likely to cause a tailspin or downward spiral? When you start with one negative thought put out into the universe, the thought is like a magnet, attracting like thoughts. The level of vibration in a negative thought finds similar thoughts because they are vibrating at the very same frequency. Suddenly you have a bundle of worries, creating fear and depression. What you feel in any given moment is always the result of what you’re thinking at that moment.

Recently a friend of mine was selected to give a speech at an upcoming charity event. Betty is a highly intelligent and accomplished woman well known in her field, which is why she was asked to speak. Betty wasn’t thrilled, in fact she was petrified. Very much as I was when I was in New York to accept the Best Toy Store award for Magic Village toy store in San Jose, CA. And just like me this woman could think of nothing but catastrophe. What if I forget what to say? What if my voice cracks? What happens if I lose my place? What happens if I mispronounce a word, or worse yet, someone’s name?

In the weeks prior to the speech all she did was worry. Now think about this. She allowed herself to be consumed by fear and worry for weeks leading up to the event. Were these happy times for her? Of course not! Her worrying overshadowed everything she did in those weeks; her job, time with her family and friends, the pleasure in her romantic relationship, and her peace of mind. And, for what? Nothing. Worrying was a waste of her time, energy and happiness. Did she do well when she actually gave the speech? Absolutely, she was great. Did any of the things she worried about come to pass? Yes. Her mouth was a bit dry at the beginning and she felt a bit dizzy walking up the stairs to the podium. Then, she took a sip of water, took a deep breath and looked out at her audience. She suddenly realized she was just human, the same as everyone sitting in front of her. If she made a mistake, and she did, she still felt the thrill of getting to talk to so many people about why she supported the charity, and why the organization means so much to her.

Nobody asked for perfect, and you never have to show up perfect. We’re all human. We will make mistakes. It’s all part of life. I’ve spoken to hundreds of groups over the years and I will tell you this, not a one of those talks was perfect. I made mistakes. As long as I live I will continue to make mistakes. So what? Who cares? They don’t and I certainly shouldn’t.

Love,

Michael

Fear is Like Gravity – It Holds You Down

1 Nov

Be thankful for gravity. If not for just the perfect amount of gravity we would all be floating around uncontrollably, which could be a real problem as we dodge other people, cars, trucks and virtually anything not nailed down.

Fear, on the other hand holds us down too, but unfortunately in a more insidious and harmful way. Fear, when not faced and overpowered, will often freeze us in place. Afraid to make a decision, afraid to make a choice, afraid to take a chance, we often do nothing.

I have a very close friend in that position right now and I’m not sure how to help him. Brent has been married for around 30 years to a woman I’m not sure he ever loved. They have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Brent was never a great father but he’s making up for that now by being a wonderful grandfather.

Brent has been out of work for approximately 2 years and has not found another job. And I’m beginning to believe he doesn’t want one. Money is now tight. Very tight. I have suggested to him that with the kids all grown and his marriage an empty shell to just walk away from the life he’s lead, and begin a new life, one of his choosing.

But Brent can’t choose. He can’t make a decision. And actually as I look back on his life, he’s always let others around him make the decisions for him. I wonder why that’s so. He grew up like me in Chicago, but I don’t think his parents or his siblings had problems making a decision, only Brent. Brent has always been paralyzed by fear.

Recently, I read an article about a study of how people respond to emergency situations and it described an airplane crash with survivors. Some people would get up immediately and head for the exits. Others would instinctively look around for other survivors and help them to escape. And then there were those who just sat in their seats, paralyzed with fear, who did nothing. And that’s where rescuers found them. Dead in their seats. And there were more of these people then you would imagine.

I’m stymied. I love Brent like a brother and I’m at a loss as to how to help him. If I just gave him money he’d use it to pay his immediate bills, but in a matter of weeks he’d be back to where he is now.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t help Brent. Maybe all I can do is offer him the tools, the encouragement and the support, and the rest is up to him.

Love,

Michael

What You Are Thinking is What You Are Feeling!

11 Oct

What Are You Thinking?

Let’s begin with some bad news. Social scientists report that you have around 60,000 thoughts in a day. Of which, 54,000 can be classified as negative. The remaining 6,000 thoughts are positive.

It’s been said that you are what you think, so do the math. For every positive thought you have in a day you think nine negative ones. NINE! No wonder our mantra is, “Same crap, different day!”

But it’s not just the trash talking thoughts about you that you thought today. You’re the sum total of every thought you have entertained going back to when you were a young child. And, every negative comment you’ve heard others say to you or about you.

Think you’re a klutz? You’ll be tripping over things. Think you’re stupid? You’re almost guaranteed to fail the test. Think you are a procrastinator? Nothing will ever get done. Think you have two left feet? You’ll never learn to dance. Think you’re poor? You’ll never get rich.

We become exactly what we think.

And Feeling?

Here’s some more bad news for you. If you are feeling sad, lonely, fearful, dejected, doubtful, worried – you can thank those 54,000 negative thoughts. Yes, it’s true. Negative thoughts create negative feelings.

I suggest everyone learn to monitor their thoughts and replace every negative thought with a positive one. Now that you know a negative thought will generate a negative feeling it is easy to monitor and change the wrong thought to the right one.

Change your thoughts and you change your mind. Change your mind and you change your life.

With Love,

Michael

Everyone Dies But Not Everyone Lives!

15 May

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. ~A. Sachs

Recently I was speaking with an old friend about a mutual friend who had recently passed away. As we shared stories about our friend it wasn’t long before we reached a consensus, our friend never enjoyed a peaceful tranquil day in his life. Now that’s a pretty broad statement made about another, so let me explain.

Our friend, we’ll call him Jonathan, was a constant worrier. Growing up as a group of friends we would do some really crazy and stupid things. You know; typical boy stuff. Although we could usually get Jonathan to go along with our ideas it was never easy. When faced with any new challenge Jonathan would immediately go into “downside worry mode.” Soon after a choice was made we would begin hearing a litany of all the things that could go wrong with our decision.

I sort of lost touch with Jonathan after high school but my friend stayed in touch with him. He told me that after college he went to work for the Internal Revenue Service, got married and had two children, but never lost his penchant for worrying. My friend then added, “I don’t think Jonathan ever really lived a day of his life free from disappointment, guilt and worry.” That statement reminded me of the above quote from A. Sachs.

Yes, we all die. Death is certainly universal. It touches all living things and we can’t avoid it. But how many of us really live our lives to the fullest? How many of us on our deathbed can honestly say to those gathered around, “I have lived a full and complete life. Each and every day I faced new challenges but overpowered each and every one of them. I took calculated risks and succeeded more than I failed. I loved my brother as myself and gave everything I owned to receive everything I have. I felt the cold hands of fear daily but never let it win. I have lived a life of purpose. I have mattered.”

I don’t think many of us could make that statement. But it is never too late to live the life that this quote describes. If we so choose.

Life is lived in the moment, not yesterday and not tomorrow. And, it is in this moment that we create our future, the one we truly desire.

Each of us has been given the gift of free choice. Decide now to face and overpower your fears and worries, and to always choose wisely.

With Love,

Michael

I Worried and Worried – But Nothing Happened

1 Apr

I have been through some terrible things in my life…some of which actually happened. – Mark Twain

When was the last time you had to give a speech or get up in front of your colleagues and make a presentation? Was it scary for you? Were you so afraid that you lost sleep over it?

For most people it is the epitome of terror. In fact more people fear public speaking than fear death itself. Fortunately, you won’t have to give the eulogy at your own funeral?

As scary as it was when you finally had to give your talk it was nowhere near as frightening as your mind made it out to be in the weeks leading up to the event. The fact is for most people the daily fear they feel regarding an upcoming event is often greater than the fear they feel at the time the event happens.

Why does this happen and what can you do about it? In my book, Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life I talk about having to give a speech after accepting an award in New York City. For weeks leading up the speech I was a nervous wreck. Every day my mind raced as I came up with one excuse after another to try get out of it, including faking an illness. It was pure misery.

But at the moment I was called up onto the stage the fear seemed to dissipate and I knew I would be alright. Isn’t that usually the way it happens? We allow our minds to generate nothing but negative and catastrophic thoughts which in turn cause the fear based feelings we feel in our bodies. It ruins our days and nights, and for what?

Mark Twain knew what most social scientists know; that over 90% of the things we worry about and fear the most, never happen. They never happen.

So, the next time you’re facing a scary challenge remember that only one out of ten things you worry about ever come to pass. And when that one thing does happen it is never as bad as you made it out to be.

And remember: Happiness comes from living each day without fear.

With Love,

Michael

In This Moment Your Future Begins!

29 Mar

I’ve got a high school pal and every time we talk it’s always about the girls we used to date, the fun we used to have and the things we used to do. As if nothing of great import was accomplished in the intervening years.

I’ve got another friend that is always reliving the wrong choices she made in her past, the men she dated and married, and the opportunities she missed.

And then there’s my buddy who always does well but is constantly worried about something in his future that will probably never come to pass. And in doing so never really enjoys what he has now.

What I’d like to tell them is what my friends in New Jersey would say, “fugged aboud it!” And after that I’d like to tell them that the Universe always gives them exactly what they think about, worry about and give emotion to. With their minds consumed with past mistakes and worries of the future they are missing two vital components of life; one, the ability to enjoy their life now, in this moment, and two, using this moment to create the future that they truly desire.

Life must be lived in the moment. Only this moment counts. Your future is created in this moment. What do you think happens when you live in the past? You recreate your past, mistakes and all their baggage, in your future.

And what do you think happens when you spend your time worrying about the future? You create in your future the very things you worry about. Your worries come to life.

Because you create your life in the moment, and through your thoughts, choose those thoughts carefully and wisely.

Life is a gift when lived in the present. That’s why it’s called the present. And like any gift, just unwrap it and enjoy it.

With Love,

Michael

Master Your Fear!

22 Mar

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

Wouldn’t it be nice to live a life completely free of fear. Where we could and would try anything new because we would not be constrained by those awful, uncomfortable feelings fear causes us. Well, it’s not going to happen.

Nor would we want it to. Without fear, some of us might decide to do some pretty stupid things in our quest to posthumously receive the Darwin award. So in some instances experiencing fear is a good thing.

But most of the fear we as normal human beings experience daily is not real. It is created by the delusional negative thoughts we entertain. Something like 54,000 of the 60,000 thoughts the average person thinks in a day are negative.

So, as Mark Twain said, we are never going to reach a place of total absence of fear. But, we can stop fear from negatively affecting our lives by resisting fear and mastering it. And we do that by changing the fearful thoughts we think to positive ones.

How you feel at any given moment is a reflection of what you are thinking. Thinking  positive thoughts generate good feelings like love and joy. Negative thoughts generate bad feelings like fear and worry.

So the first thing we must do is identify a negative thought. And here comes the tricky part, and I know you’re going to ask, “Michael, how do I identify a negative thought that I am thinking?” Actually, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

Recognize when you’re feeling afraid, uncertain, doubtful or worried. Then stop and identify what you were just thinking. You’ll soon realize that what you are thinking are negative thoughts. The next step is to then let go of those thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. Something that typically brings happiness to you like thinking of a child, a spouse or other loved one. Or even a memory of a joyous occasion or event, or just a wonderful moment in your life. Concentrate on that thought and you should immediately find yourself feeling happier and more carefree.

Learning how to do this simple exercise will give you the courage to overpower and master any fear.

With Love,

Michael