To worry or not?

Here are two message toward your personal success in the New Year. The first comes from “Managing your Mind,” by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope, Soundview, 1995.
“Don’t worry, be happy” may be a naive and foolish slogan. But to be needlessly concerned can be very stressful. How to decide?
It is useless to worry about:
< B>oThe unimportant
One way to tell is to consider: “Will this matter a month or a year from now?”
Another is to find out whether the issue is a mountain or a molehill. Ask yourself, “Just how awful would the outcome I’m concerned about, be?”
< B>oThe unlikely
All kinds of dreadful things could conceivably happen but many are improbable.
< B> oThe unresolved
If you have no control over something that may or may not happen, you’ve worried for nothing if it doesn’t occur.
However, worry is useful if it acts as a:
< B> oDanger signal
It alerts you to the probability that something is wrong (e.g., you haven’t heard from a friend who always phones you on a certain day).
< B>oAction trigger
It may prompt you to take preventive or cautionary measures (e.g., you put an emergency pack in the car because you worry about winter weather).
< B>oCoping rehearsal
You prepare to cope with possible future problems (e.g., you may have fire alarms and wood stove chimneys checked regularly because you worry about fires).
The second message comes from an article sent by Michael Cameron, past Quetico Centre employee, now in Winnipeg.
A man named Jerry was a successful restaurant owner with a perpetual good attitude. He could really motivate other people with his positive outlook.
He always seemed happy. When others complained to him about how tough their life was, he would listen and then point out: “Life is all about choices. No matter what happens to you, you choose your reaction.
“You choose to be in a good mood or bad one. When you have bad luck, you choose to be a victim, or to learn from it.”
He said he reminded himself of that every day, and it worked.
One day, Jerry was held up at gunpoint in his restaurant. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, someone found Jerry soon after and rushed him to hospital. He recovered.
Weeks later, a friend asked him how he was. “Great! Wanna see my wounds?” His friend replied, “No thanks,” but asked what had gone through Jerry’s mind during the robbery and in the trauma centre.
Jerry said, “As I lay on the floor bleeding, I was scared. Then I remembered I had two choices–to live or to die. I chose to live.
“The paramedics were great. They kept reassuring me I’d be fine. But in the emergency room, the staff’s expressions scared me again. Their eyes said, ‘He’s going to die.’
“Then a nurse shouted at me, ‘Are you allergic to anything?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘to bullets!’
“Then they laughed, and I said, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I’m alive, not dead.’”
Jerry lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors–but also to his attitude of making positive choices.
< I>Linda Wiens is an organization effectiveness advisor, editor of a socio-economic newsletter, and vice-president of Quetico Centre.

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