Yesterday I listened to the Ed Mylett Podcast interview with Matthew McConaughey. I recently finished McConaughey’s audiobook Greenlights, which I thought was more than alright, alright, alright. And I was interested in hearing more color.
The interview was good. The answers were good. But I found myself preempting M&M’s answers with my own. In other words, when Mylett asked a question, before letting M&M answer, I considered the question as if I was the one being asked.
There is great value in considering how an interview subject’s answers differ from your own. It offers an interesting contrast in perspective and philosophy. It’s kinda like hearing how different contestants on The Family Feud answer the same question. Only without the buzzer and big red Xs telling you that you are dumb.
Deep into the interview, Mylett asked M&M, ‘Do you worry?’
I thought this was a juicy question. So I paused the podcast to contemplate the question myself. And I found my own answer interesting. Because it was a 2 part answer.
The simple answer: Yes, I worry.
- But I don’t worry about things beyond my control. If I can’t do anything about the subject I let it go, like the girl from Frozen. I expect that I can deal with whatever happens when it happens. But I won’t spend time fretting over what that means until it means something.
2. I use worry as an active ingredient. I worry myself into action. And typically, I worry myself into pre-emptive action. As Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel said, only the paranoid survive. And like Beyonce, Richard Hatch, and the band that sang Eye Of The Tiger, I’m a survivor.
I often worry that my actions are not enough. I worry that something will go wrong if I don’t prepare. If I don’t do my homework. If I don’t invest my time and energy properly. Then I get to work.
I worry that I am running out of time. I realize that time is my most precious resource. (Well, that and my 10 pints of blood.) In order to accomplish and experience all that I want and avoid regrets, I have to make great use of my time.
I worry forward. I worry productively. I worry with an outcome in mind. And I use that worry to help create the desired outcome. But I don’t worry that I said the wrong thing. Or that people won’t like me. Or that I didn’t lock a door. Those things have all happened. And I survived.
Used correctly, worry is a great tool. It prevents regret and pushes you to achieve more, out of concern for the alternative. But if you can’t do anything about the situation, worrying in place is of no use. Focus on what you can do to prepare, and what you can do to respond. But don’t waste a moment of your life worrying about outcomes you can neither influence nor control.
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+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.