The Buddhist rule on worrying is simple: if you can create change, do it. If you cannot change a situation, stop worrying about it. Worrying about things you cannot change increases stress and reduces productivity.
This rule is very applicable to our personal and business aspirations. But how do we know which situations are ripe for change and are therefore worth our worry? Follow these five golden rules of when to worry.
You can solve the problem. Examine the situation as objectively as possible. Make a list of action items you can accomplish or assign to others in order to solve the problem or at least contribute to the solution. If there are none, then move on.
You can influence the decision. We are often faced with having to accept a decision we do not like. Either we have stated our opinion and it has been rejected by the decision-maker, or we have no voice in the decision. If you cannot influence the decision, you have no choice but to focus your attention and your worry elsewhere.
You can stop wasting time. We often feel pressed for time, juggling our multitude of business and personal responsibilities with imperfect success, leading to more and more worry and anxiety. Take the time to examine your schedule. Time management apps that you can download to your smartphone, laptop, or tablet abound. Free and paid versions include features such as the ability to define and time personal and work activities, review time logs and calendars, run detailed reports and pie charts, back up data, and export results to fully analyze how you spend your time and thus gain greater productivity. Greater productivity reduces worry.
You can correct misinformation. Often the very problems we seek to solve, the decisions we seek to influence, and the time we seek to manage are adversely impacted by misinformation. Of course, we often see the facts misrepresented or spun to favor our opponents. Despite this obstacle, we do have the responsibility to present correct information to the best of our ability. Once you have presented the facts as you know them, they may help solve the problem, influence the decision, or remove time wasters, but if they don’t, your worry is only wasting your energy and time.
You can improve. You should worry about improving yourself because personal growth is totally under your control. If you have tried your best, then stop worrying. Your best may be imperfect, but if it is the best you can do today, it is perfect for you.
It is human to worry, and our angst often drives us to greater success. By focusing on these five productive areas of worry, we can reduce unnecessary stress and improve productivity.
By Lisa Pafe, Lohfeld Consulting Group Principal Consultant