We spend a lot of time asking questions that are impossible to answer, and letting the uncertainty paralyze us. Let me give you an example. I’m writing a book. I don't know who will publish it, when it will be finished, where it will be sold, or how it will have the impact that I dream it will. In the hours I’ve wasted worrying about those unanswerable questions, I might’ve already finished the book.
Before the book, it was my kids, my marriage, my career. Wherever there is uncertainty in my life, these questions play on a loop, making real progress seem daunting.
By burying my head in minutiae, I’d lost sight of the actual goal — aka writing a book.
Sometimes, the secret to success is actually thinking less. We just need to get out of our own heads. Because worrying isn’t positive or productive. That said, there are two questions that I consider critical to your success, and encourage you to spend your time mulling over: “what?” and “why?”
Let me show you what I mean.
What about what?
What is your goal? What is your objective? What is your dream?
Being specific about these unknowns is the first step to achieving them. Just don’t let your thoughts veer into the questions you can’t answer yet. Don’t talk yourself out of a dream before you’ve finished forming it. This kind of thinking should feel dreamy, creative, full of possibility, and unencumbered by the logistics.
When I think about my project, I feel exhilarated. I get excited about the stories I am sharing, the mixture of personal growth and scientific research I am weaving in, and the prospect of having a physical reminder of this remarkable time in my life.
Dive into your personal well of images if they are available. Maybe you can imagine a book cover, or a dream home, or a job where you feel valued and energized. Maybe you just know you want to feel good. That’s a great start.
Let yourself imagine and play until the images are so real you can touch and smell and taste them. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to turn these dreams into realities without ever worrying yourself awake at night.
Positive, hopeful mental imagery triggers the release of happy chemicals like serotonin. Many spiritual philosophies promote the belief that our thoughts (and our feelings about those thoughts) create our reality. Create a world of optimism and possibility for yourself.
Why the why?
Why this dream? Why this place? Why that job?
The “why” is the reason for the “what.” I’m writing my book because it’s so fun. The pleasure I get from writing is reason enough. When I forget that, it’s easy to get bogged down in the how, the where, and so on.
We've all felt like failures at some point, but maybe didn't always know how to recover from that devastation. I want to help other people by telling my story. And I want to remember how I did it, because I know tough times will come again. They always do.
Do you want to help yourself, your family, your community, the whole world? Focus on how fulfilling it feels to be of service. Do you want abundance, comfort, peace? Focus on the joy that ease will bring you. Be as specific as possible. You may have a very long list, and you may want to write it down. Your “why” may also be as simple as, “I want to feel better.” There’s no reason more valuable than that.
In a way, everything I write is for me. It’s a way for me to record and remember moments of clarity. But I hope this strikes a chord in you as well. Worry is a universal struggle, and taming it is a crucial element in identifying and achieving our innermost desires.