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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Ask MetaFilter on Worrying

How to Change my Worrywort Perspective | Ask MetaFilter

The thing I love about Ask MetaFilter is that it makes you feel like you're not alone. Just when you start thinking you're crazy for feeling a certain way, someone pops up with a question about the exact same thing. Over the weekend, a poor soul calling himself a "world class worrier" asked the hive mind how he could just let it go and find his inner Bobby McFerrin.

As always, the thread has a raft of helpful comments, but the best ones were along the lines of "when you realize you're worrying, tell yourself to knock it off." For all my character flaws, I pride myself in at least realizing when I'm being a jerk or obsessing over something I can't control, and whacking myself around the noggin until I knock it off.

I learned to get over this hump when I started keeping the books full-time for our small business. At first I always worried that I was doing something wrong, that I was going to forget to file some form or miss a bill. I finally threw up my hands and decided that I would do the best I could, and if it was wrong, someone would tell me and I'd fix it. That's all I could expect, and two years later (knock on wood), we haven't been audited yet. What that tells me is that as long as I give it the ol' college try, I can't possibly be the worst accountant on the block, and that's probably good enough.

Self-awareness always opens an escape route away from trouble, either via recognizing unproductive, faulty thinking (see above), or not painting yourself into a corner by overestimating your abilities. Understanding and accepting your limitations, whether it's a time constraint, dearth of resources, or a simple lack of experience, is as much an antidote to worry as the more conventional ones like meditation or positive thinking offered up in that thread.

About wood.tang

wood.tang's picture


Matt Wood is a writer, former IT drone, sometime realtor, and full-time stay-at-home dad. He and his family live in Chicago.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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