Updated: Aug 5, 2022
When I raced the Lake Placid Ironman for the second time, I had the honor of racing alongside this wonderful gentleman. What his family endured is something no parent should ever have to go through. However, they didn't allow hate and negativity to dictate their life moving forward. They honored the legacy of their beautiful daughter and in turn, spread what is known as "collateral beauty" to those around them . . . most significantly each other.
So what is exactly the point in all of this? The point is as a species we seem to allow ourselves to worry about a lot of things out of our control. In many instances, things that really are not that important. We create fires out of issues that don't even truly amount to a spark. More often than not, worrying stems from a need for control. But the more we work ourselves into a frenzy, the less our bodies are able to deal with stress we've created.
The study titled The Contrast Avoidance Model (Newman & Llera, 2011), offers that "worriers are hypersensitive to jolts of negative emotion. Worry acts as a buffer. It shrinks the jarring and excruciating gap worriers have to bridge between feeling good and feeling bad, but it also keeps them in a state of constant negativity."
In my humble opinion, there are things to worry about and things to let go.
Things to Worry About
-a loved one has a progressive disease
-caring for an aging parent
-your child has been deployed to fight in a war
-spending enough time with the people you love
Things Not Worth Worrying About
-others opinions of you
-your past (it's dead and gone . . . leave it there)
-what others are doing
-what can go wrong
-anything that is out of your control
A good way to test if something is worth worrying about, ask yourself the following two questions:
1. How likely is it to actually happen?
2. Is it inside or outside of my control?
Now let's return to Chris McDonnell and his situation. Life can (and will) punch you repeatedly. There are things that will happen that are going to cause you to worry, cause you heartache, etc. The McDonnell family has endured the most horrific of tragedies. Realistically, there's just no way of knowing what this life may bring. Therefore, instead of being weighed down in worrying about the unknown, embrace the words of Dory, from Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming!"
In essence, why waste a moment of your life giving the time of day to something that doesn't deserve your time? STOP DOING THIS NOW! Imagine wasting days, weeks, months or years of your life missing the beauty in front of you, while constantly worrying about issues on the periphery of your life.
Let's do an example from an occupational perspective. You have a client who is constantly emailing and being rude to you.
1. How likely is it to actually happen? - Very likely since this individual does it at least twice a week.
2. Is it inside or outside of my control? -Outside of your control. You cannot control the actions of anybody (other than yourself); this person obviously has lost control somewhere else in their life and 'you' are simply their target of choice to exert their perceived power.
With the above example, reflect on the following:
1. At the end of my life, will this person be there holding my hand? (Nope)
2. Does this person care about me at all? (Nope)
3. Will this person be for me when I really need help? (Nope)
I'd say this indicates that this person is not worth a nano-second of your emotional well-being. So, stop wasting your time.
The bottom line is this: what the family of Chris McDonnell endured is something beyond worthy of worry, sorrow, grief, etc. It is soul crushing. Most everything else that we perceive as problems, etc. is simply minutiae that is not worth a second of your time, life, heart or soul. Let go of the weight of the world and live your life!
Let the words of Curly (from City Slickers) drop some knowledge for you which summarizes this entire newsletter. Listen closely!
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”