Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fear of the Unhappened

“Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”

My good friend Tom Petty said that on one of my favorite albums. Man, that album got me through some days…

Tom doesn’t know he’s my friend. But those lyrics sure make it feel like we’ve hung out a few times. I have definitely wasted my share of “right nows” worrying about “might bes.”

When I look back, I realize a lot of the stuff I worried about before it happened very rarely turned out the way I worried it would. In fact, I can’t remember one time where a situation turned out as catastrophic as I built it up to be in my head.

Even when shit has hit the fan hardcore and things have gotten really jacked up, I realized that when all was said and done, I did a pretty good job of managing the volume and velocity of the shit as it was being flung through the air.

If I could just stay in the moment on a more consistent basis, I would save myself a buttload of useless turmoil — and probably accomplish a shitload more.

I really like the whole idea of living in the moment. It’s a great concept. It takes a lot of work though. We’re constantly being pounded with messages telling us to get ready for what might not even happen.

In every other commercial, there’s either an effeminate British lizard or a strangely hot-ish lady with really red lips and an outdated hairstyle trying to sell us insurance for all the bad stuff on its way— or not. Turn the channel and you’ll find a greedy investment company that wants the money you have now so they can make sure you have some left if you’re lucky enough to get old.

“Do this so that doesn’t happen.” “Get ready for this by buying yourself some of that.” The world tries to make you live down the road instead of in the right now. After a while, the brain automatically wants to jump ahead to make sure it’s ready for what it thinks is coming. It can be exhausting.

Living in the moment requires some major reprogramming. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen often enough. But the times I’ve been able to do it, it’s been glorious. It’s like a 2-ton heavy thing being lifted from my shoulders. Feels like freedom.

I’m not saying having a plan is a bad thing. I’ll always be a planner. I don’t want to discourage the go-getters out there who have a 5-year plan for their 10-year vision. That’s admirable. And maybe necessary. I’m just saying that a little less planning for the unhappened might leave a little more room for the happening right now.

I gotta go. I’m supposed to be in a meeting to talk about a strategic plan for mid-term future success on a long-term basis… or something like that. Zzzzzzzz.


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