A story from Attitude is Everything
I used to worry. A lot. The more I fretted, the more proficient I became at it. Anxiety begets anxiety. I even worried that I worried too much! Ulcers might develop. My health could fail. My finances could deplete to pay the hospital bills.
A comedian once said, "I tried to drown my worries with gin, but my worries are equipped with flotation devices." While not a drinker, I certainly could identify! My worries could swim, jump and pole vault!
To get some perspective, I visited a well known, Dallas businessman, Fred Smith. Fred mentored such luminaries as motivational whiz Zig Ziglar, business guru Ken Blanchard and leadership expert John Maxwell. Fred listened as I poured out my concerns and then said, "Vicki, you need to learn to wait to worry."
As the words sank in, I asked Fred if he ever spent time fretting. (I was quite certain he wouldn't admit it if he did. He was pretty full of testosterone-even at age 90.) To my surprise, he confessed that in years gone by he had been a top-notch worrier!
"I decided that I would wait to worry!" he explained. "I decided that I'd wait until I actually had a reason to worry-something that was happening, not just something that might happen-before I worried.
"When I'm tempted to get alarmed," he confided, "I tell myself, 'Fred, you've got to wait to worry! Until you know differently, don't worry.' And I don't. Waiting to worry helps me develop the habit of not worrying and that helps me not be tempted to worry."
Fred possessed a quick mind and a gift for gab. As such, he became a captivating public speaker. "I frequently ask audiences what they were worried about this time last year. I get a lot of laughs," he said, "because most people can't remember. Then I ask if they have a current worry - you see nods from everybody. Then I remind them that the average worrier is 92% inefficient - only 8% of what we worry about ever comes true."
Charles Spurgeon said it best. "Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength."