The Profit in Worry

January 26, 2018

Personal Growth

In the movie Bridge of Spies—based on a true story—a Communist agent is captured, convicted of espionage, and then exchanged for an American prisoner in East Germany, which at the time was a hostage state of the Soviet Union. There were many pivotal moments where people in power were about to make decisions that could severely injure the future—or end the life—of the Soviet spy. On two or three occasions, the American attorney who represented the spy throughout the legal and political process was puzzled by the Russian’s calm demeanor, despite the dire potential consequences surrounding him. He asked the spy, “Aren’t you worried?”

The Russian’s answer was powerful, and if we pay attention to it, it was life changing. He calmly replied, “Would it help?”

I can’t tell you how many thousand people I have watched worry themselves sick about what MIGHT happen. I have done the same. Does it EVER, ever help? No.

During any particular process—creating and maintaining a marriage, raising a child, job difficulties, a divorce, whatever—there are a great many decisions to be made about how to judge an event, how to feel, and what to do. We could number the decisions or steps. We could diagram them. Do this, then do that, how can I be more loving here, how can I help, do I even need to pay attention to this detail, and more.

But at no point in any process does it help to insert WORRY as a step. Worry will NEVER move us forward, and often it paralyzes us and makes all the other productive steps impossible.

The next time you consider worrying, or you find yourself already worrying, STOP and ask yourself the pivotal question: “Will this help?”

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