Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #24: Worry about Everything

IMAGINE: Worry about Everything!
“What if” is a powerful start to a question that is also an answer to the imagination. It allows you to suspend judgement about the impossible, fantasize, misremember, and exaggerate. It also allows fools to worry about everything that could possibly go wrong, often based on selected facts. “What if this were to happen, or this, or this?”

WARNING: Worrying about everything may cause procrastination, paralysis, nervousness, impotence, heart failure, global warming, and excessive worrying.

So how do fools make worrying work for them?

First, don't worry about everything all the time. Pick a time and a place, set a timer, and worry for a short period. Write all the worries down. They may give you information to use later, when you aren't so stressed. Look for the absurdities in the worries. Make them more absurd with exaggeration until they can't be taken seriously anymore.

Imagining all the things that can go wrong gives you a list of problems to fix with foolishly clever inventions. What a great source of potential inspiration! My first silent movie was about imagining what would happen if a guy who went to change a light bulb couldn't get down from the chair and had to figure out how to survive while living up there. (The Guy Who Lived on the Chair, available on DVD with “The Guy Who” Movies).

The fool's secret is that it's possible to worry and be physically relaxed at the same time. Then the worries lose their power and action can be taken.

Think: What if everything that could go wrong went worse? What else could go wrong? What else? What am I going to do about it?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #25: Destroy

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