Don't stress about the future

Most of us don't warm up to change easily, whether it's starting a new job or moving to a new neighborhood. In fact, when change is imminent, many of us tend to get awfully nervous and think the worst, making such defeatist statements as:

  • "I'm going to fail."
  • "Something bad is going to happen."
  • "This isn't going to work."

While it's normal to feel a little apprehensive about the future -- that is, the unknown -- we should not get in the habit of always facing it with trepidation.

After all, what lies ahead may actually turn out a lot better than we expect.

In order to better take the future in stride, we must do two things:

1. Stay positive: Negativity not only makes us more anxious, it eats away at our self-confidence. Success starts with opening yourself to the possibility of things turning out favorably. You need to give it time -- human beings are surprisingly good at adapting to new, unfamiliar situations. As tempting as it may be to quit a job after two days, make the effort to stick it out for another week. You may later realize that your initial impulse to quit may have more to do with feelings of self-doubt than actual performance.

2. Embrace change: All of us are resistant to change on some level, but the truth of the matter is that change is the only constant in life; we have no choice but to accept some change sooner or later. While that doesn't mean you have to do away with every routine in your life, part of growing as an individual -- evolving, if you will -- is inviting change.

I'll give you an example. I recently switched barbers, which was a difficult move considering that I had been cutting my hair with the same barber for 10 years. But I knew it was time for a change. After I moved, it was taking me 30 minutes to drive to and from the barber shop. What's more, I had to wait another 15 minutes for my barber to finish attending the person who'd arrived before me. (Despite my making appointments, it appeared my barber was squeezing people in -- presumably walk-in clients -- right before my time slot.) As if that weren't enough, I was happy with neither the product (hair wasn't cut to my specifications) nor the service (some of the barbers cussed, making the environment feel unprofessional.)

It wasn't easy, but I broke through the inertia and managed to find myself a highly capable barber at a different shop. While I'm paying $3 more per haircut, it's a fair price to pay for all the conveniences afforded at this establishment, from outstanding service to a quiet, relaxing environment. As you can imagine, parting ways with someone who I had built a good relationship with over a decade was difficult.

So the next time you anticipate a big event coming to pass in the near future, heed the two suggestions listed above (1) remain positive (2) Accept change, don't resist it.

Let the future arrive and then worry about how to deal with it. Why worry now when there's nothing you can do about it?

Be sure to check out prior posts by clicking here: How to Understand People

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