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Worry Fulfills the Worry (22/30)
Possibly confusing, but important
My business has been experiencing a major challenge over the last week or so. I’ve spent most of that time worrying incessantly about it, constantly ruminating on what’s already happened and imagining catastrophic scenarios that might materialize in the future. This preoccupation has interfered with other parts of my life and generally put a huge damper on things.
Tonight I realized something that seems obvious and self-evident but is extremely difficult to understand while you’re consumed by fear: this kind of constant rumination serves to fulfill exactly what you’re worried about in and of itself.
To illustrate what I mean by this, consider the nature of fear. You are usually not worried about an outcome itself — rather, you’re worried about the feelings that outcome might produce. Excluding death, most of our fears are actually about the downstream effects of the outcomes and events we fear: the sadness, angst and so on that we’ll feel if they come to fruition. In the case of my business, my fears are ultimately about how worried and distressed I will feel if any of these scenarios come true. And therein lies the irony: by constantly worrying about the situation, I am already fulfilling the thing that I’m essentially worried about.
This is all very meta and head-spinning, but it’s a powerful reminder. It has helped me to snap out of this cycle of worry by exposing its pointlessness. Fear is a useful tool, to be sure, but only to the point that it drives action. Anything beyond that is rumination. And rumination is simply a fulfillment of what you’re worried about to begin with.