I remember the very first time I saw a “worry diagramme”. It was a revelation! I must have been a teenager at the time, and it was a life lesson right there. Its lesson has stood me in very good stead for the more challenging times in my life and countered the influence of a couple of compulsive worriers who were authority figures as I was growing up!
Most of you have seen a version. It’s basically a diagramme indicating the pointlessness of worrying about things we can do nothing about, and the simple, empowering step of taking action if we can.
A month or so ago I included a worry diagramme in a workshop I did with young artists of an Australian opera company. Many of them had imagined they’d be overseas pursuing their careers very soon and, of course, that doesn’t seem likely to be possible for a long time. Many were struggling with motivation, frustration, a sense of loss and lack of purpose. Others were experiencing anxiety.
We did two hour-long workshops a week apart. At the beginning of the second workshop I asked participants what had been most useful from the previous week and what they’d been able to most easily apply to their lives. Almost all referred to the worry diagramme. One participant said it was such a relief to realise for the first time that she’s not responsible for the things she can’t control. Previously she’d been carrying around the niggling sense that everything that goes wrong is her fault. Another participant said he was able to be much more objective about situations as a result of seeing and applying the philosophy behind the diagramme.
Such a simple thing and so easily applicable. Remembrance is the key.
So, a small but important reminder for all of us to commit to avoiding expending energy on things which are out of our control, to take positive action if we can, and either way – STOP WORRYING. As my dad would say: “It will be what it will be.”
After all, worrying is energy wasted in fear of future imaginings; fear of what might happen. It’s the pointless squandering of fun, joy, energy and awareness of the present moment. As Winston Churchill said:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.“
How about recognizing the futility of worry and ditching it?
How about lightening the hell up and allowing joy in the here and now?
How about all that extra energy you’ll have when you’re not worrying?
Sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s just a choice and a commitment. We’re all capable of it.
I think it’s time. Don’t you?