Save Yourself the Worry
Tips on how to limit wasteful rumination and inaction.
When I was working in my first-ever job after graduation, I was made to believe that whatever good or bad things happened to my assigned segment was all of my accountability. If the case studies that we want to feature suddenly backed out, it’s my fault. If the van driver needed for the shoot was late because of the traffic, it’s my fault. If our wardrobe manager was not able to pull out the right costumes and clothes, it’s my fault. If our location manager was not able to find a good location for our shoot, it’s my fault. If our resource person was late for an interview because of his/her other commitments, it’s my fault.
In short, I should take full responsibility for almost everything. With the same scenario day in and day out, things changed. I started worrying about everything — the weather, the traffic, other people’s commitments, other people’s standard of work, and many more. Rather than enjoying the present moment at work, my ‘once’ passionate self became tired and burnout.
Rather than being proactive, I became reactive. As a person who values good work ethics, I know that this was not good and healthy.
I must say that this bad habit of mine is a little tricky to let go of. Even after more than a year of leaving my old job, I still can’t help but worry about everything in my environment. When things didn’t go as planned, I became anxious as I don’t want to be out of control of the things I’m managing and the people I’m working with.
Later on, I’ve learned about the “Circles of Control” while listening to a podcast. This is adapted from Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence and Control. Basically, this concept states that there are three spheres: circle of concern, circle of influence, and circle of control. It’s very helpful to learn about the said spheres to “limit wasteful rumination and inaction.”
Indeed, as much as there are a lot of things going on around us, we can only do so much as human beings. Therefore, we must focus and attention to the things that we can control and influence. As my favorite content creator “Aileen Xu” always says, “Wherever our attention goes, our energy flows.”
To save yourself the worry, here are the practical things that you can do:
- When facing a challenge, assess the situation and the environment around.
- Ask yourself if you can do something about it or if you can somehow influence it.
- If your answer is ‘no’, let go of it.
- Focus your attention on the things you can directly control, the present moment. Let go of the past and do not overthink the future.
There’s heavy traffic, can you do something to control or influence it? Tomorrow will be a rainy day, can you do something to control or influence it? If no, stop worrying now. There is no value in spending any more time thinking about these things.