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Does it ever pay off to worry at all?

Yesterday on June 7, 2021 I had a hiking trip in mountains with friends. I had my first rental care experience and I was excited. Car was automatic and I had to adapt to that as well a bit. And I had not been driving a long time before and was a bit unfocused and a bit worried… And then for a brief moment front wheel got off the side of the road and blew. As “unlucky” the event itself, luckily enough happened just couple of hundred meters away from the parking lot we hoped to arrive (versus in the middle of a mountain road).
Even though “I should know better”, suddenly I got  stressed and worried.
Why? Because my plans blew, expectations did not get meet and I had uncertainty for making a decision how to continue. In this state all the things I was lucky for did not matter much and focus of my mind kept pounding all the worries and forcing me to make a decision. The hanging decision (how to proceed with our day?) and sticking to it was the leverage the “worry voice” was using against me.
After consulting with rental company I managed to find the spare tyre, change it. Great! But now I had a major coach to make.
Option 1: follow the advice from rental company and drive down to change the car. This would mean we (or just I) and loose a lot of time and and my friends see less of the island on their holiday.
Option 2: ignore the advice and continue the journey hoping that replacement will be good enough. It would mean drive slowly respecting max speed limit of the tyre to 50-70 km/h. However in my mind it was slightly exaggerated and seemed like 30-50 km/h. Also thought that this might happen again and we do not have any spare scared a bit.
Each of the options came up with a lot of uncertainties and excuses, supporting their stance. And it was more like a “worry battle”. Eventually we made a decision to go step by step and see how it goes: try option 2 and if anything goes wrong, then we still have option 1.
At this stage even though decision was made, it was not firm! And that meant that I had left the door for the “thief of joy” (the name of my worry voice) to doubt and second guess my decision. This hanging in the air feeling, it took a lot of mental energy from me.
What helped was:
? nourishing my body with some fruit (sugar for the brain to replenish the energy) – after I had already calmed down, so my digestive system was operational.
? attempting to focus on the positive
? attempting to find reasons why this decision IS the best thing to do.
I say attempting because doubts kept coming back and any change was not neither instant nor permanent.
Eventually I remembered that I value my time over money, therefore this WAS the best decision!
After I convinced myself of rightness of the decision worried did not go away, however they became calmer. Instead those worries changed the strategy to focus on coping with unexpected changes – slower driving, more risk, bothering other people in the traffic with slow driving speed and uncertainty what will happen when I return the car.
What helped me was the mindset work:
? asking more empowering questions instead of cycling the same worries around
? looking for positive meaning for this surprise experience
? making that decision, committing to sticking to it, affirming that it IS the best thing to do
What helped me was being present to beauty around:
? connection with the nature as we walked the path
? engaging with my inner child to play – by stepping off the path and exploring around
Long story short: we had amazing day and 2 brilliant hikes. Both times adapting the plans on the go.
I even laughed as we drove down, that we got exactly what I promised just moments before the accident: adventure & “smooth sailing”. Indeed going down the winding mountain road we we driving really slowly and carefully. Be careful what you wish for?
As I dropped of my friends at their apartment and started my way back to my home I still had some adventures of my own. I put playing audiobook “Power of NOW” as a background and slowly drove the highway.
? GPS was acting up – not showing correct map and disturbing my listening
? there were spectacular red colors of sunset, however I did not manage to find a spot to stop to enjoy it
? GPS took me through some small local mountain roads, keeping me off the highway.
? I drove through some very thick fog seeing just couple of meters ahead until I got under the cloud cover.
? got a lot of material to reflect on
Fast forward to the next day when i returned the car – person at the reception did not even blink when I told that I had to change the tyre. Car is fully insured. So ALL the worries and doubts I had were TRULY for nothing. Everything was only in my head.
Funny enough its exactly that I heard Eckhart Tolle saying in the “Power of NOW” – part of us likes to believe that we can solve the problem by putting on more negative emotion and worrying onto it; by doing the same thing that has actually never worked in the past and hoping that this will be the first time.
Leads me to wonder: Does it ever pay off to worry at all? Why do we do this? What if…
Thats the question journey we must take each to ourselves… Take care!

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