Worrying doesn’t help…

June 15, 2020

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this Charlie Brown quote – “Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening; It just stops you from enjoying the good.” 

Charles Schultz shared quite a bit of wisdom through his Peanuts comic strip of the years, as have other creators of great comic strips – the strip Calvin comes to mind. Today’s quote reminds us that worrying not only wastes time, but solves nothing and may actually cause harm by preventing one from seeing and enjoying the good things in life.

Worrying is certainly different from planning. One can look at some future event and do good planning for it – formulate a strategy for approaching it, what things to be aware of or to avoid and such. Planning is good. Worrying, however, is more about imagining all of the bad things that might happen, most of which are out of your control, and trying to think up solutions for them, too. Why worry about the weather, for instance, since you cannot control it. One may plan for bad weather by packing an umbrella or a jacket , in case it get cold; but spending time worrying about how it might change thins does not good.

At the root of our worries is something that I’ve opined her about in the past – our need to solve the unsolvable. Our minds are always trying to find the answer, to solve the problem, to see a way out of the situation. In many cases there is no solution, things just have to happen. In those cases, the “solution” is to let go and stop trying to find the solution. The prayer phrase, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” is the solution in those situations. Putting your trust in God’s hands and accepting that whatever happens He will be there with you to get you through it is the key to stopping the worrying.

Many times our worries are about upcoming interpersonal interactions – how will my date go or how will this person react to what I have to tell them. We are concerned (worried) about how we will be perceived by the other person or how the other person will react to the event. Maybe we are even afraid of the reaction the other person, and so we worry about it. None of that worry will have any effect on the situation, other than to consume us and prevent us from enjoying  other things in the interim.

Once you have given your worries to God, you are free to turn your attention to those good things that are going on in your life. You may be surprised how much that is good was going on around you while your attention was focused upon worrying. Maybe the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t worry, be happy” will start playing in your mind.

There’s a new week ahead. Don’t worry, God’s got your back.


So, you’re the reason that bad things didn’t happen…

October 11, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this:

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t pay to worry; most of the things I worry about never happen.”  (The Church Secretary)

I’ve sometimes heard someone comment, “Well, if I didn’t worry about it, who would?” I always wondered about that. Was the energy and time that person spent worried1worrying about something bad that might happen the cause for it not to happen? Do you see how silly that sounds? If you can see that in a third-party example, what do you think is the different if it is you worrying about something.

Now, this is not to say that one should never consider and plan for alternatives in upcoming events that may not go the way that we want them to. Contingency planning has some value, worry does not. You see, worry is not planning. Worry is undirected restless sleepconcern and the expenditure of energy without focus or purpose. Worry is trying to solve the unsolvable problem. Worry is man’s ego being unwilling to accept its own limitations and inability to control things that cannot be controlled.

Some people convince themselves that if they worry about something long enough and hard enough that they will someone influence the outcome. For others worry is the doorway to depression. They become inconsolable about the things that they worry about, but unable to let them go. I’ve shared here many times about my own release mechanism for worries – finally saying to God, “Not my will but thy will be done.” It works for me. Try it.

The Bible has this advice about worry:reading-bible

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

-and-

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

So, as the Aussies say – No worries, mate.  Be like Alfred E. Neuman of MAD magazine smiling-sunfame and adoption his tag line – “What, me worry?” Or, you can take the advice of Bobby McFerrin’s song – Don’t worry, be happy.

Have a wonderful, worry-free day – God’s got your back.


No regreats… No fear

July 4, 2014

“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong’. Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Like many in America, I grew up on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip. Admittedly I switched to the slightly edgier Calvin and Hobbs strip for the time that it existed, but Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts cast were always still there.

Schultz had a way of capturing the essence of the common man’s life and travails that few could match and Charlie Brown’s life became one with which many could identify.

Today’s Schultz saying certainly resonates with me. How often have I had sleepless nights worrying about dissapointed ladysomething that I probably couldn’t change anyway?  Sometimes the dread would be over events to come that might span many days perhaps a whole vacation that would be anything but a vacation for me or an upcoming closing on a real estate deal that I knew was going to be difficult. So, I also like another Schultz quote that seems to fit –

“I have a new philosophy.  I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”  (Charles Schulz)

Actually I’ve tried to adopt a much more positive attitude than those expressed by Schultz, I just like his sense of humor that is embedded in them.

I’ve written here before about dread and I found this little quote that sums that up nicely –turtle

“Regret and fear (aka. dread) are twin thieves that rob us of today.”- Robert Hastings

I chose not to let those twins rule my life or rob me of today. They may steal a portion of the night on occasion, but by morning I try to put them aside and live that day as if it were my last – exploring, learning, sharing, enjoying and relishing it.

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx

No doubt many of you may not even know who Groucho Marx was, but I grew up watching him and his brothers (The Marx Brothers) on TV and in movies, along with some other famous, but long gone comedy groups – The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello and Martin and Lewis to name a few. Groucho always had a quick retort or funny line to drop, especially on his TV show – You Bet Your Life. Remember the line, “Say the secret word and the duck will come down and give you $100”?

Yesterday is over and tomorrow will take care of itself when it gets here. Have a great today!


Three little words that may change your life… What, me worry?

April 23, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that may make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world. If you just had fun reading the post; well, that’s OK too. Enjoy.

When I was growing up a satirical monthly comic magazine call Mad Magazine was all the rage. I remember anticipating the latest issue each month. There were new Spy vs. Spy episodes  and great cartoons by Don Martin. The whole issue was an irreverent look at things happening in society. I noted at their web site today that recent issues have Alfred E. Neuman, the iconic gap-toothed kid who is always on the cover, twerking with Miley Cyrus and taking on the Lego phenomenon. Over all of those years and still today there was Alfred E. Neuman smiling from the cover each month with his tag line  – What, me worry?

Mad Magazine was launched in 1952 and is still around today, now in bi-monthly issues, and they have their own web site, too. I took a quick peak at the web site and can tell that they are still launching irreverent comic stink bombs into the minds of the children that they target. It’s still a hoot if you’re young. The humor at Mad has always been more sophisticated than the indicated target audience would seem to dictate, but I suspect that the audience has also caught up to a level of understanding of the satire involved. If you talk for long with a middle-schooler you’ll understand that satire and cynicism aren’t lost on them. Still it is on the surface a great temporary escape from reality and still has that great philosophy – What, me worry?

I believe that we could all use a little more humor in our lives and a lot less worry. I wrote about dealing with issues or worries in the post Deal with it. I also wrote about being at peace, which is for the most part being free from worries. Worries are a tremendous waste of time and energy, especially if they are about things over which we have no control. Did you remember to turn off the stove at home before you left? Did you mail the bills on time? Is anyone going to ask you to the prom? Will you remember everything for today’s test? What should you expect in today’s job interview? Is your really going to come visit for two weeks? Deal with it, be at peace and say to yourself – What, me worry?

It is particularly a waste of time and energy when what we are worrying about is something that we conjured up in our own imagination in the first place. That is often the case if we are facing some sort of confrontation at home or at work and let our imaginations explore all possible outcomes. What if they start yelling or crying, what will I do? What if they get mad? What if they can’t understand my side of things? What if I lose a friend? Don’t go there. Instead, relax, read a good book or watch a good movie and get your mind off of it. Instead, try to get to that state of mind of – What, me worry?

So, while Alfred E. Neuman’s little tag line might not be the bedrock upon which you want to base your philosophy of life, it certainly has value as a safety valve of sorts to prevent things from becoming overwhelming. Don’t take life so seriously.  If you find yourself drifting into worries about things that you know you can’t control, just look yourself in the mirror and imagine that little smiling gap-toothed character looking back at you and asking – What, me worry?