Thursday, July 26th, 2012

4 Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future

Written by: Bob Miglani


I was stressed and burned out always worrying about the future.  With all the chaos at work, I just couldn’t figure out how to deal with uncertainty of an increasingly complex career path.  I had a family that depended on me and a mortgage.

All the stress and anxiety due to uncertainty affected my life at home, my relationship and it took years off my health…not to mention turning into gray the little hair on my head I had left.  I was in a spiral of anxiety over thinking everything, constantly worrying about the future.

But over the course of the last few years, by randomness and chance, I learned…I grew and started feeling better because I understood how to embrace the chaos.

Here are four reasons to stop worrying about the future…actually these are four WAYS of helping to deal with anxiety and deal with uncertainty that helped me stop the worrying and move forward…hope they help you:

1.  You can’t predict it.  

Stop worrying about the future because you cannot predict the future.

The main tenet of a lot of our life stress and frustration is this nagging and seemingly scary feeling deep inside that you just don’t know what’s going to happen next.  From your career to your relationship to the way your kids will turn out to how ‘things will play out’ in your business—it is getting harder to figure things out accurately.  Things are so much more unpredictable today because of the complexity of our society. And it bugs us…it eats us up slowly from the inside and causes this vicious spiral of worrying and anxiety.

So STOP TRYING TO PREDICT THE FUTURE!  Stop wasting your time thinking about what CAN happen and start spending your time MAKING SOMETHING HAPPEN TODAY!

We may have made advances in medicine, technology and comfort, but we still cannot predict the future.  Accept it and move on.  Stop trying to predict what’s going to happen next.  In your job.  In your career.  In your relationship.  In your business.  Just stop trying to over think everything and stop trying to predict how things will turn out. Because you’re likely going to be wrong…and guess what?  You’ll worry even more!

2. You can’t control it.  

Stop worrying about the future because you cannot control the future.

Luck, randomness and chance contribute so much to the unpredictable nature of life that it is just unrealistic to think you can control things.  You can’t.  I have a hard time controlling my kids and it would be foolish to think I can control my career or anything else.

Break the root of worry by realizing that you cannot control or dictate things to just be.  It’s just not possible to have total control of your life when you are so intertwined with so much of the world (e.g. butterfly effect).  Instead, deal with the uncertainty of an unknown future by focusing your energy on only the things you CAN control, which are:  Your Thoughts and Your ACTIONS!

Freeing yourself from the handcuffs of control to start working on doing new things to support your goals TODAY is Ju-Jitsu for your soul!  Deal with your anxiety and deal with your stress head on by taking action of the only controllable element in your life:  Your mind.

3. You’re missing the best time of your life.  

Stop worrying about the future because you’re missing the best time of your life in the here and now.

There is so much you miss in life when your head is in the clouds worrying about an uncertain future.  “My kids grew up in a blink of an eye”, is what so many people say these days. Imagine, you’re here on this rock for a short time and you’re missing the best part because you’re caught up with trying to figure out the future.

Forget the future!  Focus on today!  Be in the present moment.  Force yourself to focus on what’s really important in your life – your family, friends, health and the rest.  Being in the here and now is the only truth.  When you feel better about all of that, you’ll be more productive in your career, your business and how you handle your customers, colleagues and employees.  You don’t want regrets in life looking back and realizing that you missed the best time of your existence.

During my tough time trying to deal with anxiety and stress a few years ago, I remember being at the park with the my kids.  It was a beautiful day. No heat.  Perfect breeze.  Great scenery.  But I missed it. Yes, technically I was there but my head was worrying about something somewhere in the future.  By the time I got home, I realized that I really didn’t appreciate and take in the fun in the park with my kids.  I was too busy thinking about the future to appreciate the present.

4. Sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.

Stop worrying about the future because sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.

Our minds play this weird game of attaching strings of thought with one another.  One thought leads to another and then to somewhere else and then to another place entirely.  And the next thing you know, your neck is in pain and you’re dealing with anxiety that came out of nowhere.  We get anxious and nervous about the silliest little things…only they seem little AFTERWARDS.  Sometimes we blow things out of proportion and exaggerate the bad that only our own mind thinks is going to happen.  As I went through my own uncertain up and down journey and observed good friends and family with their chaos of trying to deal with uncertainty, I realized that when you look back at the chaos of life that you’ve gone through – that it wasn’t all that bad.  Sometimes, you don’t even remember it!  Rough yes, but the scenarios you thought it was going to be…probably not!  You got through it.  You survived.  They say, “things work out in the end” because there is some truth to it.  Worrying about the future will not help you deal with it.

From a very personal experience, I believe that in order to stop worrying about the future, whether it’s your business, your career or  your life, you’ve got to come to the realization that while we may have the latest technology available to us on our fingertips, we’re not anything but human.  We can’t predict, we can’t control and we’re only here for a short time.  So forget the future.  Get in the present and enjoy every single moment.

As my mom used to say with such certainty and love, “If you’re going to worry…then worry about the here and now.  Have a cupcake Bobby…it’ll make you feel better:)”

Don’t Over Think It.  Accept It.  Move Forward and Embrace the Chaos!   |   Bob Miglani

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46 Responses to “4 Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future”

  1. Stuart Says:

    This is an excellent post. After a very difficult week of multiple things going wrong, this was just the right message to try to get my mind back on track. So, I tried to put the worries aside, and spent some quality time talking to my children as I put them to bed. Great advice!

  2. Bob Miglani Says:

    Stuart – thank you for your reply. Great to hear that you’re enjoying time with the kids!!! Wonderful!
    Best,
    Bob

  3. Hisham Z Says:

    Thanks for this post Bob! You know the articles that I find the most worrisome and depressing are those about how much you need to retire – typically found in magazines like Money and other personal finance magazines. When you compare what you have against what they say you will need I really stress out!! I start thinking about what am I doing wrong and how I need to work a second job, cancel all future vacations, etc! We feel like we are doing what we can to contribute towards retirement but still need to pay today’s bills and figure out a way to pay for my kid’s educations. I find myself second guessing every financial move we make. Should we send the kids to summer camp – if we don’t, is there a more cost effective solution for two working parents? Should we take that vacation? Should we buy a new car or keep driving the old one? And, I find it always leads me back to how will we ever retire if we don’t put that money towards retirement? Thanks for refocusing my energies! Now to cash in our 401k’s and take a trip around the world!! ;-)

  4. Laurie Says:

    wow I just loved this post! It really hit home. Keep up the great reminders about what life is about. This is on target for me ( like so many of us) who have gone through a total upheavel in the past years and are now on the other side. Thanks for good wisdom

  5. Bob Miglani Says:

    Hisham – Thanks for writing! Great point about over thinking our financial needs in our later years…or even thinking about how to pay for college for the kids. But over analyzing got me no-where but more anxiety! Keeping up Embracing the Chaos, Hisham!!!

  6. Bob Miglani Says:

    hi Laurie, Thank you for writing and sharing your perspective…and your kind words. All the best! -Bob

  7. lisa Says:

    Thank you for this!!!! I needed to read this today!!!!! It really hit home. I suffer from anxiety and worry and see to always think the worst….. Reading this brought to my attention that it will all work out in the end and worrying really only slows you down! Paralysis!!!!! I have missed so much in life, becausre of this!!! I have become bitter and very unpatient with people. And very much want to change my way of thinking!

  8. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks for writing and sharing, Lisa! Delighted that you found the article stimulating and remember to keep moving forward! Have a great day!

  9. jacjac Says:

    thanks, this one is great…too much pressure and worry is overwhelming me and this is a refresher.thanks…GOd bless us all…continue doing your great job…

  10. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks Jacjac!

  11. Donna J. Says:

    I think this website will be a great help to alot of people. I know that this will help me because I have a problem with worrying about alot of things and most of these things can be prevented if they are thought through before I let them really bother me..thank you for making this site possible.

  12. Bob Miglani Says:

    Donna-thank you for your nice words. I do hope that people benefit from my perspectives and life experience. Wish you all the best! -Bob

  13. Deepak jain Says:

    Mr. Minglani. Thanks for the best writing..Jainism has a theory of Subh-Ashubh and Sudhh…these are three types of “Awastha”means condition we remain.. and there is “Pariniti” means result/reaction for each of them..Most human remain in Subh. and Ashubh Awastha, only Saints live in Sudhh awastha..All it means that our if our action is Subh, our result will be good, and if our action is Ashubh, we’ll have a bad result.

  14. Bob Miglani Says:

    Deepak,
    Thank you for writing. Your perspective is very interesting. I hope we can all attain high levels of understanding in our own journey of learning to deal with uncertainty in life and happiness.
    All the best,
    Bob

  15. chris Says:

    I worry all the time and it’s affecting my sleep, my work and my life as a whole. I am making a commitment to seek strength for this website and just for today just let go…I never had this problem until my son turned 18 and became more independent. I see that my worry is fear based and related to my inability to protect him as much as I used to be able to.

  16. Bob Miglani Says:

    Chris,
    Thanks for writing and sharing. I go through similar concerns lots of times. And even though I have analyzed and over analyzed, I sometimes feel the same. A few things that have helped me to pull my mind from the brink of spinning out of control based on fears is to focus my mind to the present moment by throwing myself into a project so specific that it requires my constant attention. One thing I have started doing is running. I run on the treadmill, in a park, on a sidewalk…anywhere. I found great relief in forcing my body to force my mind to be in the here and now. With an added benefit of a good health. Another idea that I’ve employed is to make ‘appointments’ with a friend or two to meet face to face. No phone, no facebook, no txt…just face to face. Developing deep social bonds with people allows us to lighten the mood through sharing and having a conversation. And finally, I think you’re going through what a lot of people go through…and to know that you are not alone in your journey. Learn from others, be inspired and give of yourself to a cause, a purpose, a project by DOING, TAKING ACTION and saying YES to new experiences.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Bob

  17. Lisa Says:

    Good reading. My mind is constantly racing nonstop. It’s hard to control and so many times have I ever shared in the present because of this issue. I always think so negative or the worst case scenario so much. I’m destroying relationships and its destroyed much of my life and I know it has and acknowledge my problem but can’t control it. I have everything to be happy for but can not shake my racing thoughts and negative state of living. My marriage and my life personally are a victim to this illness. I read so many inspirational books and go to church and do so much research but nothing helping. I’m scared everyday and pray everyday to change this and work on self improvement but nothing is working. I’m am desperate in changing this about myself. What is wrong with me?

  18. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thank you for writing and sharing, Lisa. I understand your concerns because I’ve been there deep in that well with no sunlight often. Where your mind paralyzes your body with mere thoughts…it’s crazy!

    First thing you should know is that over thinking is perfectly normal to do. When I first started sharing my experience, lots of people came forward and opened up about their own debilitating thoughts. So YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

    Second, START DOING. Something. Anything. Take action in anything.

    For me, it’s been a few things where I have taken action in my life.

    Found a very difficult problem to solve: something that requires your complete focus on the here and now. For some playing a sport is helpful. Recently, I started running. I had never done this before. But now, I feel so great because physical exertion helps the mind to the present.

    Also, one task for me was to redirect those thoughts to paper in writing. Coming up with words, sewn together in a sentence, making it into a story helped me focus my mind on something I could grasp.

    And finally, another thing that often helps is speaking with lots of positiver uplifting people – some are friends, others may be people you meet in a place of worship or at the public library. I met some really great people while waiting for my daughter at soccer practice on a Saturday morning. Listening to positive podcasts and STOP watching or reading the news (which can be very toxic). Surrounding yourself with positive people, places and things often plant positive seeds in your mind, which you ‘harvest’ all day by simply smiling:)

    hope this helps. All the best and have a great day!
    -Bob

  19. Evo Says:

    Thank you for sharing this piece with us.

    My job has been getting to me off late as a result of changes in the structures and environment. Constantly over thinking every decision or aspect and wondering when the next bomb is about to explode… It has annihilated my spirit that I have always been proud of, and my ‘carpe diem’ attitude.

    Going to try and get it back… Easier said than done, but I admit, the 1st step is to stop worrying… It starts here!!

  20. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks for writing, Evo. I really do understand what you’re going through. It’s really chaos@work these days! Someone said to me the other day, “I’m dying inside a little each day” just waiting to see what next shoe is to drop. One thing I’ve learned is to stop your mind from even entertaining these thoughts of ‘what’s coming next’…because I used to be so wrong at trying to predict the future. See: http://www.embracethechaos.com/testnewtheme/2012/09/5-lessons-i-learned-on-how-to-stop-overthinking/. The key is to redirect that energy/effort spent at over thinking tomorrow to focusing on your thoughts, words and actions today. I know it is hard…but do-able. Stick to it…some tips on Daily Routines that have helped me to kickstart your day: http://www.embracethechaos.com/testnewtheme/2012/12/4-ways-to-kickstart-a-positive-day/

    Wishing you all the best!
    -Bob

  21. solomon Says:

    nice article, thanks bro

  22. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks, Solomon.

  23. Student Says:

    thank you for those great words,
    I’m a student and I burn half of my time worrying about what will happen to me in 10 years, while I should be studying for the exam for the nexy day.
    I realized that worrying keep us behind.
    and If we worry, it should be planning for the future and not worrying, and take it easy because we’ll never know what would happen

  24. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks for writing! Worrying about the future gets us only more worry. Enjoying the present moment allows us to really live! Wish you the best in your studies.
    Best,
    Bob

  25. Jesse Says:

    This has really helped me, thanks for posting this an keep on helping people!
    -Jesse

  26. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thank you, Jesse.
    Bob

  27. frida Says:

    Thank you. Made me feel a bit better.

  28. Chris Says:

    Really felt better after reading your article, Bob. Thank you so much.

  29. Bob Miglani Says:

    Chris,

    Thank you for writing. Best wishes,

    Bob

  30. Gary Carl Says:

    Hi Bob,

    Awesome! thank you for writing this. This article answered my nonsense worrying and now I’m heading home to my family that i haven’t seen for months because of my work.

    Regards,

    Gary

  31. Bob Miglani Says:

    Gary,

    Thank you for writing. The #1 destination in the world: home.

    Enjoy!

    Bob

  32. Sanjay Says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for sharing these encouraging words. Actually, these days I am little worried that something I did in the past, might cause problem in the future(may be after 10-15 years). I am trying very hard not to think about that, but these thoughts come back every now and then. Don’t know what to do. Any suggestions? BTW, where are you located?

  33. Bob Miglani Says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    Thanks for sharing. Letting go of the past is one of the hardest things I’ve ever learned to do. Some thoughts that might be helpful:

    1. Accept that it might always be a “Work in Progress”. This is because thoughts float in and out of our mind with seemingly no rational explanation. You might go for years without those thoughts from the past but then you find yourself one evening having it visit and then you can’t shake it off. Acceptance is also powerful tool to let it go because by fully accepting that whatever happened – is done and you can’t do anything about it. It’s done. By taking full responsibility for it might help you deal with it better.

    You might have been ‘that’ person back then but you’re someone slight different today. And that’s ok.

    Sometimes I felt guilty for losing my temper with my family members and this thought comes back to haunt me. I feel really bad for the way I acted in the past. When that happens, I try to reinforce to myself right there and then that I will never do that again. Use it as a reminder that it was ‘me’ from the past which is different from the ‘me’ right now. It’s a subtle difference but the point is to accept and then redirect quickly to actions in the here and now.

    What also helps me is to get myself busy into doing the work I am trying to do. I throw myself into projects that are intended to help me be a better person or to make a positive contribution to someone or a cause in the here and now. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than talking with or helping others. And by creating projects or finding ways to do that focuses my mind in the here and now and away from worrying about what happened in the past.

    Acceptance is a powerful tool. Done right, it can be liberating.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  34. Trish Says:

    Dear Bob – I really enjoyed and appreciated your piece. I was raised by a super anxious/cleaning OCD mother and a workaholic father. My sister barricaded herself in her room (reading/journaling and ???)and we barely had a relationship. We still don’t at ages 45 and 44, despite my attempts. Thankfully we’re cordial and attend each other’s functions and adore each other’s children. At any rate, I’m a huge worrier, p*ss on the present worrying about the future, plus have OCD (going over the same lists of reassurance over and OVER and OVER ALL day) and ‘checking’ the rooms in my house. I’m a single parent (divorced over 6 years), my hours have been cut at work and I broke up w/ controlling ex-boyfriend of 3.5 years – I couldn’t take some things anymore. I’m highly stressed and this helped me a bit. I’m also seeing a counselor and going to as many self-help groups while I can over the summer (while the kids have no homework). THANK YOU – I related to much of what you wrote and it helped me. God bless you!
    Trish

  35. Bob Miglani Says:

    Dear Trish,

    Thank you for writing and sharing.

    I hear you about having family members with OCD/workaholics, as it creates an unusual relationship around the house. Growing up I often felt that our ‘sports’ activities had to involve a broom and mop in the house:) Checking the stove 3-4 times a day was not out of the ordinary for us too!

    Glad to see that you’re moving forward and getting the nourishment from positive voices. This is really crucial – to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you laugh and feel good. One thing that also helps me is to identify a small project that can clear my mind and focus it towards the present. A specific goal that you want to achieve that consumes our thoughts in the here and now keeping it away from overthinking about tomorrow – is a powerful tool to help us stop worrying and start living.

    I wish you much happiness, prosperity and laughter in your life! Please do stay in touch.

    Bob

  36. Janet Says:

    I appreciate you are trying to help but I don’t know how to apply this. It is too trivializing to tell someone to “focus on the here and now” when certain decisions influence one’s future. Do I promote/retain my child at school? Do I take/leave a job? Do I move/stay? One cannot just live in the here and now, one MUST think about the future and one MUST try to predict it. Then how do I apply your advice? Weigh the options, decide, accept it, and move on? That does not change the weighing the options part and the pain of that exercise.

  37. Bob Miglani Says:

    Janet,

    I hear what you’re saying that we must try to plan for the future by taking actions in the here and now to get us to that point we want in life.

    What I am suggesting is that too often we get lost into the confines of our own mind trying to figure out the ideal path forward. Life is complex with so many different aspects that often change so quickly that it becomes difficult to predict how things will turn out. Can we be so accurate in our predictions? And sometimes when we cannot figure out the right approach, we get stuck, overthinking, worrying and living with anxiety about the future. And it this spiral of anxiety and worry that I am suggesting we avoid by bringing ourselves to the present moment.

    Living in the here and now doesn’t mean that we do not think about the future. For me, it means that I try not to get overly precise about it. I don’t get wrapped up in it. That I don’t get lost in that spiral where there may be no ideal solution or path.

    Yes, we must consider our future, accept that we may not be able to so accurately predict so stop overthinking and move forward and start living in the here and now. Taking actions that are in front of us.

    Thank you for writing. Best wishes!

    Bob

  38. Lorelai Says:

    Thanks for this post, I really needed to read these things right now. I am very young and I am going to do something very big in a couple months and I was so worried because I don’t feel ready… Now I realized I don’t need to be ready NOW, I’ll be ready when the time comes but now I just have to chill and work with what I have today without stressing too much about the future. These posts have a greater impact than you imagine on people’s lives, thank you again.

  39. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thank you for your comment, Lorelai. I truly am grateful for your nice words.

    You’re capable of handling anything…you just don’t know it yet!

    Best wishes to you!
    Bob

  40. Jing Says:

    Thank you sir for your great advices!
    I really needed this after all these years of only thinking about the future. i’m only 21 years old and i worry a lot about the future.
    I can not thank you enough for posting this. Cheers ^^

  41. kevin james Says:

    sir i sincerely appreciate your attitude towards life but its just like when you read about einstein,curie,mozart etc ,all of them lived for a purpose ,they didnt die unknown, somewhere some years hence people will still mention newton,plato ,aristotle etc though they lived centuries ago , i feel depressed that if i dont achieve anything then what is that purpose i lived for , clearly its nothing , i was just a consumer all my life ; this is the thought that bothers me the most,the thought of just vanishing into oblivion without a hint that i existed.

  42. Bob Miglani Says:

    Kevin,

    Thanks for your comment. I understand what you’re saying. Among millions of stars, we can seem like a speck. Perhaps we are but I do believe that it is not the stars where we ought be facing but the individuals around us. That’s what really matters doesn’t it? To add meaning and serve others around us through our encouragement, our contribution, our effort, our friendship, our work, our positive thoughts. I believe that each of us has something unique to offer to those whom we encounter each day.

    Tell someone you believe in them and watch how it changes their life.

    Each person’s life that we impact gives more meaning and substance to our own, giving us the nourishment we need to keep going. And don’t you think that sometimes we overthink the whole notion of a grand purpose? Maybe it doesn’t have to be so grand. Maybe…it’s the impact we can have a little bit each day to the people all around us. All you need is one person whom you affect to make you feel like you are living a meaningful life.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  43. Sam Says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post Bob.
    I’m still 21 and very much about my future. Kinda scared of failure as there are too many things dependent on me but I think this post just made my day :D
    Thanks alot :)

  44. Bob Miglani Says:

    Thanks, Sam. Wishing you the best of luck, prosperity and happiness in your life!

    Bob

  45. Matthew Says:

    I am 16 and so concerned about my future but when I read this it helps so much every time thank you!

  46. Bob Miglani Says:

    Matthew – Thank you for writing. Wishing you best regards,

    Bob

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