If you spend your time worrying about something that might happen in the future, you’re wasting your time. It might never happen. In which case you’ve been miserable for no reason. And you could have spent your time more profitably. Or simply taken it easy and felt good. Or just had some fun.
Sure, a bad thing could happen. And probably will happen now and then in your life. But it is rarely 100% guaranteed.
I don’t say bury your head in the sand if there are black clouds on the horizon. You should certainly contemplate the bad scenario – and ideally come up with a contingency plan to deal with it. Or consider ways to make the bad scenario more tolerable should it come to pass. Even better, dream up ways to turn it to your advantage.
But to dwell on it and to hope desperately it won’t happen will just make you miserable and anxious. And like I say, if it doesn’t happen, you’ve been miserable unnecessarily.
Worrying about the future leads to anxiety. You will feel sick to the stomach, maybe bite your nails, and won’t be able to enjoy the things you usually enjoy. All this gloom might even lead to long-term depression.
Thing is it’s all a fantasy – a mental construct – if the bad thing hasn’t happened yet.
And if that bad thing does happen, it might not prove as bad as you thought. If it does, well, you’ll have had more time feeling miserable with all that worry in advance.
Bottom line is, it’s better to spend your time profitably – getting on with things.
And you might even get some good news to offset the potential bad scenario, making it that much easier to deal with if it does happen.
The Roman philosopher Seneca (in his Moral Letters) said:
It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery, engulfed by anxiety that the things he desires might remain its own until the very end. For such a soul will never be at rest – by longing for things to come it will lose the ability to enjoy present things.
But it was my dad who said: “No point worrying, it might never happen.”
Author and journalist