Humans are smart. Or at least we like to think we are. What sets us apart from other organisms is our ability to think.
A part of our thinking process is getting ready for the future. We try to build up different possibilities for the future, trying to predict what will and will not happen.
This comes from our ancestral instinct to avoid pain, to be in control of things. But this future sighting also has a negative side. For our ancestors, a wrong prediction of the future could be futile. But in the modern world, most of our time is spent on predicting events of little or no value.
We build up different scenarios in our head, scenarios which may or may not become reality. We tend to think the worst will happen and start worrying about the worst case scenarios. This worry starts to enclose our thoughts. We stress on these potential scenarios so much that we start devaluing the pleasures of daily life.
But worrying about the future isn’t always the best. Here is why it’s not worth it to worry about the future:
1. Future is rarely as bleak as we imagine
How often have you spent hours and days worrying about something? And how often does your worst imagination comes to life?
The reality is much better than how we envisioned it. The truth is the worst rarely happens. And even if it does, it is not as bad as we imagine. The things which we believe to be the end of the world are just small obstacles that we overcome.
Most things we pull our hair worrying about today don’t even matter in a few months or years. It’s just our imagination playing little games with us
2. We suck at making predictions
Another reason why it’s not worth to worry about the future is that we literally can’t make correct predictions. There are too many variables involved.
In January 2007, Steve Jobs stood on a stage and unveiled the first iPhone to the world. If you would have done a worldwide survey in December 2006 asking people about what they think mobile phones will look like in a year or so, not many would have predicted an amazing touch device. But there it was.
I recently saw the video of how excited and surprise the crowd was when Steve Jobs scrolled using his finger. And now it’s something which we do every day.
We are too biased in our nature and uninformed to make proper predictions.
If we were good at making predictions, we all would be rich sports-betters. Are you? Because I surely am not.
Even when the iPhone was released, how many would have predicted that in the next 12 years the touchscreen phones would be so powerful or popular? That they’ll pack 4 or 6 or 10s GB of RAM? But here we are.
3. Most things are out of our control
As much as we are in control of our actions, we don’t control the outcome. There are other people and external factors involved. That’s why it’s a waste of time to worry about them.
You’re worried about how your presentation will go. But as much as it depends upon your skills, it depends upon the viewer’s mood and point of view.
You’re worried about if you’ll get the contract. But once you submit your proposal, it’s out of your control.
You’re worried if people you’re going to meet will like you, but it depends more upon their perspective than your behaviour.
You’re worried if you’ll pass that exam, but once you write the exam there isn’t much you can do about it.
If there is nothing more you can do, then what’s the point in torturing yourself by worry? Instead, focus on what you can do next to increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Worrying is a waste of time. You should definitely be prepared for what can go wrong in the future, but just sitting there and stressing about it won’t get you anywhere.
If you are unsure about the things that can go wrong, the best thing you can do is to act. Take action to increase your chances of winning. Nothing was ever achieved by sitting on your ass and worrying.
Stop worrying, start living.
Thank you for reading! 🙂