Worrying kills us faster than we think it does

Don’t die each day worrying about solving all the problems you have and fearing you have very little time left for you to live!
Remember: there was a world before you and there will be one after you are gone. One of the favorite obsessions we have is to worry. We worry not only about the day-to-day challenges that confront us but agonize over everything that’s wrong with the world! We worry about our finances, our relationships, our health, our lives; even as we worry about the way our communities think, our neighbors behave and the way our countries are governed. Worrying kills us faster than we think it does.
In fact, we die a small death, each time we worry. Because that time could have been spent wisely__LIVING. And there are only two ways to LIVE without worrying: 1. Accept your Life and your world for what it is and/or 2. Take immediate action to remedy the situation that’s worrying you. It is when we do neither that we die. And, believe me, the tragedy is that most of us are subconsciously worrying all day, each day of our Life. Over a period of time, this subconscious mental activity has become an integral part of us. Years of worrying have created an imaginary belief in us that without us, the world, at least our world,  will come to a standstill. That’s when we must twiddle our toes to remind ourselves that the ‘I’ within each of us is powerless. Imagine, you think of twiddling your toes. And your toes twiddle. How did the instruction get transmitted in a nano-second from your CPU, your head, to the event-site, your feet? And if you think YOU managed that, think again.
Consider this: Did you create yourself? Did your mind develop because of you? What if you had been created with a manufacturing defect that disallowed you from twiddling your toes? To be sure, several hundreds of thousands of people on this planet cannot twiddle their toes. Recognize that you are a nobody__just as I am. We are just fellow-farers. Albert Einstein invites us to look at ourselves from a cosmic angle if we want to place our lives__and our worries__in the right perspective. He says, “When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint; something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.”
So, quit worrying. Only then will you stop dying – and start living! Enjoy the scenery as you travel instead of agonizing over the seat not reclining or the arm rest not being comfortable on this amazing once-in-a-lifetime bus ride called Life!

Postpone Worry, Not Happiness!

I have read somewhere something so simple, yet so profound – “Every minute that we spend worrying, we miss out on living!”
On Christmas eve, a man named John boarded a plane and settled down in his seat in the front row of economy class. He looked morose and beaten. He was going home for Christmas, just as almost every other passenger on the plane was. After the doors were closed, the captain emerged from the cockpit wearing a Santa cap. He picked up the public address microphone in the front of the aircraft and said that since the airline was celebrating its 25th anniversary, everyone on board will receive a coupon that will entitle them to two free return tickets to Las Vegas and back – from wherever they lived in the US, as long as their city was serviced by the airline. Every passenger on board cheered in delight. People clapped. A couple of them in the front jumped up and hugged the captain. But John was listless. He was not excited. He was looking the same – distraught, disturbed and forlorn. A slightly older man, Greg, sat next to him. Greg didn’t know John from before but was amused that his co-passenger was not happy with the airline’s surprise offer!
Greg asked John: “Did you hear that – two free return tickets to Vegas? Are you not excited?”  
John replied: “I did hear that. But I have so much on my mind. I am unable to celebrate this offer.”

Greg prodded on: “Is something worrying you? Do you want to talk about it?”
John replied: “Something? Everything’s worrying me – My wife’s been sick with cancer for over 2 years. She’s not getting any better. My job is lousy but I have to keep it because I need the money to pay for her treatment and to support my son’s tuition as he goes to college in a few months. Our home needs renovation but I haven’t enough savings to be able to do that. Isn’t all this enough to put a good man down?”
Greg put his hand on John’s hand, which was on the armrest, squeezed it and said: “Let me tell you a story….A man and a married woman are making love when her husband comes home unexpectedly. The poor man has no choice – the husband can come in any moment – so, naked as he is, he jumps out of the bedroom window. Outside it is cold and raining, and a group of joggers are running by. Having nothing better to do, he joins in. After a while a man running next to him asks, “Hey, do you always run naked?” “Yes,” says the man as he keeps jogging along. “And do you always wear a condom when you run?” asked the other man. “No,” he answers, “only when it is raining.””
John burst out laughing. He laughed so loudly and for several minutes, non-stop, that the flight’s crew, who were readying the plane for take-off, were alarmed. They rushed to John to check if everything was okay with him. They couldn’t believe that the most sullen passenger on board, who didn’t even get excited when the Captain announced that freebie, was laughing so hard. Was he mad, they wondered? John couldn’t even answer their queries. He was in splits. He held his stomach and laughed as Greg smiled mischievously beside him. After almost 20 minutes, John calmed down and thanked Greg for making him laugh.
John said: “You know Sir! I haven’t had a laugh in months now. Thank you!”
Greg asked John a question in reply: “When you were hearing my story and then laughing, in that time, did your worries trouble you? I mean did you care to worry?”  
John replied emphatically: “Of course not! How could I worry? Your story was so hilarious. I couldn’t think of anything else but of the man running naked with a condom on and justifying his action with a straight face!”
Greg said: “My dear friend. This is how you postpone worrying. Your worries cannot solve any of your problems. Your worrying about your wife’s cancer cannot cure it. Your worrying about your son’s tuition cannot help you pay it. Your worrying about renovating your home cannot make it look better than it is now. When you are steeped in worry, you are missing Life!”
There’s a great lesson in the conversation between Greg and John. Which is – worrying serves no purpose. If worrying about our problems can help us solve them, none of us will be having any problems. Because most of us are worrying all the time – aren’t we?! Worrying takes us away from living, from happiness. The biggest price we pay by worrying about the Life we want or don’t have, is that we lose the opportunity to be happy with the Life we have. Instead, if we focused on whatever is with us, on whatever is happening, and stopped worrying, we will live better, happier and healthier lives!

"Fulljoy" Life – Then your troubles won’t double!

If worry could solve even one percent of the problems that we face daily, worrying may be perfectly justified as a global pastime. Yet while it is evident that a large mass of humanity worries most of its lifetime away, there is no evidence to suggest that worrying has been productive at all.

Worrying causes frustration and plunges you into a depressive spiral. Everything and everyone seems to be getting after you. One thing leads to another. And by the end of a destructive spell of worrying you are dealing with more crises than you originally had started off dealing with. Worrying comes free so everyone does that. But remember the problems it seeds are very, very expensive!

A business acquaintance, by sheer accident, introduced me to this learning. Several years ago, I was in Bengaluru on work. And I was running late for a meeting. The one I had just finished had ended badly. The client owed my Firm a substantial sum of money. We had been following up on our claim for over a year. We had been promised a resolution and payment at that meeting. But the client reneged, disputed the claim and refused to make any payment that day. The meeting ended sourly and in a stalemate. I was both angry and worried as I rode in the car for the next meeting. I was angry because what the client had done was unfair and unethical. I was worried because I had issued cheques to parties, who were long overdue for payment by us, in anticipation of this inflow. I did not know what I should do. In such time, I reached the venue of the next meeting. It was a large company. And they were prospecting my Firm for a potential service contract. I was late. So, I tried to rush the security guard at the registration desk. He didn’t seem to bother. I yelled at him. When I finally reached the reception area, I found the receptionist speaking on the phone. It appeared to me in a few minutes that she was on a personal call. I gestured to her that I was late for a meeting. She impatiently gestured back asking me to be seated. I scowled at her.

And the chatter in my mind went: Damn! Why is everyone after me today? How am I supposed to pay off those vendors and meet the wage bill of my team with this inflow not coming through? I am now late for this meeting. And I am not likely to be making an impression with my presentation with this new prospect because I am both late and in a lousy frame of mind! Damn!

Finally, I was ushered into an empty conference room. I hooked up my laptop and tested my slide deck on the screen. An executive in formal attire walked in. I did not look up at him. I wanted to avoid any polite conversation. I just wanted to present my Firm’s case and go back, perhaps, to worrying. The fire in my cash-flow was far more demanding of my attention than a potential business deal. I assumed the man was one of the members of the leadership team to whom I was to present that day. After setting up my deck, I looked away from the man. It didn’t occur to me that I was behaving like an oaf. I was consumed by my desire to drown in the seductive, ruinous comfort of my worry! I paced up and down the side of the conference room that I had occupied. The executive must have felt it bizarre that his guest was not even acknowledging his presence in his own office!

After what must have been several moments of silent gazing by him and a pretentious meditative pacing by me, he spoke up.

He asked me, in a cold, matter-of-fact, tone: “AVIS, do you always look so beaten, morose and wear this frown all the time?”

It appeared that a million-volt thunderbolt had hit me. I froze in my tracks. I turned around. Looked at the executive and sheepishly said: “Errr….Well…..I am sorry….I was preoccupied….Errrr….!”

He was in his mid-40s then and I was in my mid-30s. He appeared to be a nice bloke. He smiled and spoke calmly: “I can see that you are worried about something. And angry too with something. If you make this presentation carrying those two emotions, let me tell you, you will piss off everyone. I am already wondering why I am here when you are not here!”

I apologized. I thanked him. I walked across to his side. We exchanged business cards. I discovered he was the Head of Strategy and awarding my Firm the mandate, should we make the cut, was in his hands, apart from the CEO’s. I knew the CEO well. And that’s why I was there. I pulled myself from the brink that day, thanks to this gentleman’s unsolicited yet fortuitous intervention. The presentation went very, very well. And we bagged the contract!

But more than that, the value of the wisdom this man has imparted in me is priceless. He taught me, in a nano-second, how worrying can ruin a perfect moment pregnant with opportunity! He taught me the power of now! It took me several years of struggle, tears, pain and suffering, to internalize this learning. But if he had not sowed that seed that day, I would not have been able to tame the worry beast in my Life!

Bob Marley 1945-1981
I was reminded of this episode this morning as I read a story in the latest issue of OPEN magazine on Rohan Marley, the legendary Jamaican reggae singer, and Rastafarian, Bob Marley (1945-1981). Rohan, now 40, told OPEN that his father had taught all his many siblings to not just enjoy Life but to “fulljoy” it!

Think about it. How much of your precious living moments are you sacrificing on the altar of worry daily? How much of your time do you look beaten, morose and are wearing a frown__like I did that day in the conference room in Bengaluru? Don’t you want to “fulljoy” Life?  If you do, then know that to “fulljoy” Life means to not worry and be happy! Because, when you worry, as Bob Marley famously and beautifully sang (“fulljoy” this song, clinging on to its every lyric…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIM3GHvBQjY), you only double your troubles!