Are you a worrier? What do you worry about? As I have gotten older, I find myself worrying more. Perhaps that’s because I know more and understand what can happen? I don’t know. But when I find myself worrying about what might or might not happen, I ask myself two questions.
First, I ask if it’s something I can control. Often it’s something I can’t control. I can’t control what other people do; I can’t control what companies or the weather do; I can only control how I react to whatever it is and how I let myself be affected by it. So if I have no control, why waste energy worrying about it?
Second, I ask if it will matter five years from now. Usually I decide that in five years, this incident will not matter at all in the grand scheme of things, so again, why waste energy worrying about it?
There are a lot of things in life we can’t control; there are some things we can. I live by the maxim of expect the best but plan for the worst. But I no longer spend time and energy worrying about what might happen if it’s something I can’t control.
There is an old English rhyme that goes like this:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
The rhyme has been around in one form or another since the 14th Century. Since then, there have been several variations on the same theme: because something small was left undone, something big was lost.
We don’t go through life thinking of every possible consequence of our actions; we would never get anything done if we did! But we can take care of the small things before they escalate into big things. It could be something as simple as calling a friend or family member you’ve had an argument with to apologize; that person could be your lifesaver in the future – do you want to take that risk? It could be as simple as routine maintenance on your vehicle so you’re not left stranded somewhere with a major problem. In these hard economic times, it can be so easy to let things go and hope for the best. If you think about it, there are lots of examples.
So take care of the small stuff now; before it’s too late.