The Waste in Worry

If we were to keep a record of all the
things we worried about 
during a given period of time, we would discover-in reviewing them-
that the great majority of our anticipated problems or troubles 
never come to pass. This means that most of the time we devote to 
worrying, even the constructive kind that prompts us to try to come 
up with a solution to what is troubling us, is wasted. Thus, we not 
only caused ourself unnecessary mental anguish, but also took up 
valuable minutes and hours that could have been spent elsewhere. 

To avoid this, it is often necessary to subject potential sources 
of worry to the coldly objective and analytical light of reason. 
Once, shortly before a major concert before a standing-room-only 
audience, a member of Arturo Toscanini’s orchestra approached the 
great Italian conductor with an statement of sheer terror on his 
face. «Maestro,» the musician fretted, «my instrument is
working properly. I cannot reach the note of E-flat. Whatever will 
I do? We are to begin in a few moments.» 

Toscanini looked at the man with utter amazement. Then he smiled 
kindly and placed an arm around his shoulders. «My friend,» the 
maestro replied, «Do not worry about it. The note E-flat does not 
appear anywhere in the music that you will be playing this evening.» 

The next time we find ourselves in the middle of worrying about 
some matter, we might be wise to stop and ask ourselves what the 
odds are of the problem really coming to pass. 

We may be able to go on to something more constructive. 

— Brad Stevens