“Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it becomes due” - William R Inge
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Worry and trust cannot live in the same house. When worry is allowed to come in one door, trust walk out the other door, and worry stays until trust is invited in again, whereupon worry walks out. If we were to keep a record of all the things we worried about during a given period of time, we would discover, in reviewing them, that the great majority of our anticipated problems or troubles never come to pass. This means that most of the time we devote to worrying, even the constructive kind that prompts us to try to come up with a solution to what is troubling us, is wasted.
A doctor who had many patients that were in the large income brackets made a study on why they worried so much. Here is what they found. 40% of their worries were about things that never happened, 30% were about matters entirely beyond their control, 12% were related to the physical ills which were caused or increased by their emotional attitudes, 10% were about friends or relatives who were quite able to look after themselves. Only 8% were about matters that really needed their attention- but worry even in these cases was not remedy to apply.
Once, shortly before a major concert before a standing-room-only audience, a member of Arturo Toscanini’s orchestra approached the great Italian conductor with an expression of sheer terror on his face. “Maestro,” the musician fretted, “my instrument is not working properly. I cannot reach the note of E-flat. What will I do? We are to begin in a few moments”.
Toscanini looked at the man with utter amazement. Then he smiled kindly and placed an arm around his shoulders. “My friend”, the maestro replied, “Do not worry about it. The note E-flat does not appear anywhere in the music that you will be playing this evening”.
The next time we find ourselves in the middle of worrying about some matter, we might be wise to stop and ask ourselves what the odds are of the problem really coming to pass. We may be able to go on to something more constructive.
Worry can’t change the past, but it can ruin the present.