I was in my hometown last week, where after almost 15 years, I met one of my school friends. His father died last month, so my actual purpose of meeting him was to give my condolences.
Since I was meeting him after such a long time so it was the time to open our hearts out. I knew he was into his family’s business of Confectionary, but he hardly knew about my profession and like others, in general, he was also of the view that I am into some kind of stock market investments.
Keeping my work aside I preferred to talk about us and family. Among other things, he very candidly told me that he is living a stressed life. Health wise he is not keeping well due to some chronic gastro problem, his only child is an Autistic, which again is a cause of worry for the family and due to all this, he finds difficult to concentrate on work which in turn is affecting his Financial situation too.
With all this, he also requested me to advise him on some “good Investments” to secure his Present and Future.
I asked him the line of treatment he is following for his and his child’s health, to which he replied that there is no specific treatment going on as of now.
In the past, he has undergone all sort of treatments from Allopathy to Ayurvedic to Homeopathy and these days he was trying some Electro pathy (Not sure what it is). And for his child again he tried with many doctors in different cities but to no avail.
Now when he is not finding a solution in his personal life so he at least wants to be secured from the financial front.
But for me this was challenging as in my experience if you are not doing well on the personal front, it is impossible to get your finances in order.
Though I could sense his cause of distress, that time I preferred only listening to him and his concerns and told him to come to my place tomorrow with details of all the investments he has.
To me, his only cause of Pain was “WORRY”
Sounds a simple and common word but has major implications if not acted upon timely.
Worry has many faces. You know it with names like Fear, Stress, Anxiety etc. Some worry is important as it motivates you to take proactive and corrective action on the factors you are worried about. But as they say, an excess of everything is bad, so excessive worry results into Chronic stress and Procrastination.
Worry and Its Causes
The major causes of worry are Fear of Unknown, trying to control the uncontrollable, wrong expectations and comparisons.
In the book “The art of Good Life”, the Author Rolf Dobelli, in one of the Chapters, has quoted one experiment once conducted by Canadian researchers on Sparrows.
Sparrows have a variety of natural Predators – racoons, owls, falcons etc. So, Researchers decided to block off a whole area of forest with nets, shutting out the sparrows’ natural enemies. This was to give Sparrows a safer environment.
Then the researchers dotted the forest with Hidden loudspeakers. In one area of woods, they played the noise of predators and in the other unthreatening natural sounds.
The Sparrows exposed to the “bad” noises, laid forty percent fewer eggs, the eggs they did lay were smaller and fewer of them hatched.
Many of the Chicks starved to death because their parents were too afraid to forage for food, and the Surviving chicks were weaker.
The experiment clearly showed that it doesn’t even take a real threat to influence a whole ecosystem- Fear is enough.
What goes for sparrows also goes for human beings. Worse still, we are not just afraid of predators but many different things. In fact, the majority of our worries are Superfluous as in either problem that is turning in your mind is not that dangerous or it is something you cannot do anything about.
- Will I get promotion this year?
- Not sure how my child would score in his exams.
- Parents are not keeping well.
- My Cholesterol levels are going high
- Whether I will save enough for my Retirement.
- Stock market fluctuations
- Interest rates movements…
…are some of the areas which worry us in our personal life. This is not all, some people’s worry is related to the outside world, like Global warming, geopolitical tensions, Sports, Neighbours, Relatives.
Some of the worry is real, which may have come from your experiences, observation, but many times its just imaginary
For e.g. Stock market fall is real but it will start falling only when you start investing in is Imaginary. Death is real, but you will die after writing a WILL or buying Life Insurance is imaginary
My friend’s worries were not something he could not do anything about. But he needs to understand that he can only control his actions but not the result. And he needs to ensure that the actions he takes should be in right direction.
But what is the right direction? Now that is a Big question.
The right direction is the one which will take you to the Right Goals and Right goals are where the Expectations meet with the reality.
He may be expecting 100% recovery of his and his child’s health issue, but whether it is possible or not, for that he needs to be correctly diagnosed first, consult a professional doctor who should be expert in the respective fields and follow the line of treatment to the T. Autism sometimes does not have 100% possibility of recovery and this is what he has to understand and his Doctor has to counsel him and his family.
He should not change the line of treatment frequently and whenever any question crops up in his mind he should go back to the same doctor and get the things cleared.
While answering readers queries on money control I have seen many questions when people ask for 18-20% kind of guaranteed return in one year as they have some requirement lined up. Now such kind of expectation can’t be met but to understand this they need counselling, which is not possible in Online Q&A relationship.
Is this difficult?
No. But it’s not that easy too. To do all this you need to switch off all the loudspeakers around you.
We all have many loudspeakers around us in the form of Relatives, colleagues, neighbours who keep on budging in with their experiences, stories and suggestions to confuse us.
Some of the loudspeakers we ourselves switch on to, and the major one is Google. You treat Google as your best advisor and seek out every answer from it. But that again is wrong as it is only a search engine, which may take you to the content and the information you are seeking for, but using that information wisely, requires knowledge and experience.
In your financial Life, there are many different loudspeakers which rather than easing out your worry increases it, which further results in indecisiveness and stress. Some of them are Business newspapers, Business News Channels, Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp Groups, Blogs etc.
Not all are Bad, but you should better treat them as a Place of Information, not as advice. And keep in mind that 80% of the information you read is useless to you. The remaining 20% can be used to improve 80% of your life. Rest 20% of the life is about accepting and letting go.
So, what to do about it? How should you manage your worries?
Write down your Worries –
Yes, it helps a Lot. Bring your worries from your mind to a piece of paper.
Writing gives you clarity and understanding on the Real and Imaginary aspects of the worry. According to Dr Beilock at U. of Chicago, “When [you] write, [you] might reappraise the situation — thinking about what has to be done, rather than what [you] might lose.”
Unless you know the actual concern, and the reason behind it, you won’t be able to find the solution. This is why it is important to write down your goals and understand it’s “WHY”.
Take help –
Once you are clear on your goals. Just try to answer, if there is a Real solution to it and if yes, can you do something about it? Do you have enough understanding, knowledge and bandwidth to answer this concern? If not can you gain that knowledge that professionally, in the limited time you have?
If not the Seek help. Google it. Not for finding solutions but to find the Professionals who may help you resolve the issues. And Consult them.
Worry is in your mind, so do not fill it more with Junk by reading more on the Worries or talking to people who are also a worried lot. Do not be afraid of taking professional help.
Focus – Now when you have started working on your concerns either yourself or with a professional help. Switch off all the loudspeakers around you and stay Focussed on the actions.
Try to understand that most of the voices around you are only noises and you should not confuse what’s new with what’s relevant.
The more time you spend on your social media posts is part of your limited time which you would have spent on resolving your concerns and worries to make your future better. The attention you are giving to your WhatsApp messages is the attention you are taking away from the person sitting in front of you.
Every new product, Breaking news, Multi-bagger Suggestions, Opinions, Facebook and Instagram posts wants an audience and the moment we read it we pay – in focus and time.
Clear away from distractions. Watch less TV, avoid technology that is “FREE”, Read more – Information is best absorbed in written form, Avoid Websites that are full of third-party ads.
Worrying is generally focused on something uncertain about the future, like passing a test. Once you’ve finished or completed what you were previously worried about, you see it with new eyes.
If you have never done it before than better to take help of professionals who either have done it themselves or have helped people do it.
Worry is Good, but too much worry is Bad.
Use your worry to have a better life, and act on it before it converts into a Stress.