Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.Epictetus
What makes a man anxious? The answer’s simple –
The anxious man asks plenty of What-If questions.
What if I fail?
What if she rejects me?
What if I become a total loser?
What if I get sick?
What if something bad happens to me?
What if the plane crashes?
What if everyone laughs at me?
What if I lose all my money?
What if I get fired?
What if I get sick?
What if my business fails?
What if she divorces me?
What if my kids hate me?
What if someone I love gets hurt?
What if aliens descend from the sky and enslave the human race?
What if? What if? What if?
Here’s the answer:
What if you spend all your time worrying about What-Ifs while your life passes you by? You might as well be dead.
I don’t know what makes you anxious, and I probably never will.
However, here’s one thing that I do know, and it’s this.
Men are, by default, anxious animals. That dreadful intuition that something bad is around the corner, the crippling feeling of an impending doom… we all experience it. It’s inside the male DNA.
Accept the fact that we will never remove anxiety from our lives. Completely, anyway.
However, what we can do is to understand what it costs to be anxious. And if the costs are too high to bear, we will, according to our nature of self-preservation, reduce our tendency to be anxious.
What’s The Cost Of Asking “What If”?
Anxiety robs a man of one of his most important assets: his proclivity for action.
“What If” questions make us freeze in our tracks. “What If” questions make us second guess ourselves. “What If” questions are insidious… because they stop us from doing the most important thing:
“What If” robs your power as a strong, rational and sovereign man. When you ask “What If”, you are already accepting failure as a possible outcome. You are sabotaging yourself without even knowing it.
Now, I understand how, sometimes, it’s a smart thing to cover your bases, to consider all possible angles and outcomes.
And yet, I’ve learnt that it’s almost rare that I will make a mistake where it’s impossible to recover from. I believe that it’s the same for everyone else.
I am not asking you to be reckless. If you are, however, asking yourself too many “What If” questions, know that you’re getting tyrannized by your own mind.
Flipping The Script
How to stop “What If” questions?
“Stopping” thoughts don’t work. The more you want to stop thinking of a thing, the more you’ll think about it.
What you can do, however, is to replace the thoughts you don’t want with the ones that you want.
For example, you can start to think about positive What Ifs instead.
What if it turns out great?
What if my hard work pays off in the end?
What if she says yes?
What if they like me?
What if I get promoted?
What if I lose my flabby tummy and get ripped?
What if we live happily ever after, together forever?
What if you start thinking and feeling optimistic for a change, starting from now?