The Weight of Worry (321)

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In this episode, I talk about something pretty heavy — the Weight of Worry.  The longer you worry about something and don’t take action, the heavier it gets to you – and 90% of what we worry about never happens.  So have a listen to my take on Worry.

You won’t want to miss this episode. Enjoy!

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Full transcript below.

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Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:06

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the “How’d It Happen” Podcast for another Friday solo episode with me, Mike Malatesta. Thanks for joining me. And I wanted to talk to you today about heavy things. But not super heavy things, but more like things we make heavy or that get heavy over time. 

When I was thinking about this episode, I was thinking back to when I was a Cub Scout. And I didn’t last long in the scouts, but I was there for a year or two, and we would go over to Huey McDermott’s house, his dad was the cub master. I think that’s what you call them. And there was another guy who helped him, and I don’t remember his name, but he was sort of the fun guy, like the younger, fun guy that could relate to all of us. And I remember one time he gave me a chair, two chairs, like two little folding chairs, and had me put my arms out and hold on to them, like hold them until I couldn’t hold them any longer. And it was a fun game at the time, because the chairs were very light. So when I picked them up, of course, being you know, a kid who thought he had superhuman strength or whatever, I lifted them up and thought Ha! These don’t weigh anything, I could hold these forever. And he laughed at me. And we just stood there with me holding the chairs. And, it didn’t take long before those chairs got a little heavy. And then they got a little heavier. And then my arm started to fall a little bit and I struggled. I wanted to keep them up. So I pushed them back up. And over time, they just got so heavy that my arm started, you know, shaking like what happens to you when you hold something too heavy. And ultimately, as he knew from the very beginning, I wouldn’t be able to hold those chairs very long. And yeah, that was when I was like 10 years old, maybe. 

Recently, I saw this video, and you can Google it. It’s just “Google heavy glass of water.” And in this video, there’s a professor, he’s teaching a college class and he asked the class how much does a glass of water weight; he’s got a glass of water. And he asked them how much it weighs. And they’re all thinking he’s asking him and some of you could see that they’re thinking like, what is that? What do you think it weighs? Turns out that what he was asking, or the lesson was not, you know, literally, what does the glass of water weigh? But what does hanging on to a glass of water weigh on you? That was sort of the metaphor, kind of like the chairs-in-the-Cub-Scout thing. And, he goes on to say like, and this is kind of how I describe it, You know, have you heard that 90% of what we worry about never happens. I don’t know where that 90% came from, like if that’s an actual statistic, but I’ve heard that from several people, including Will Smith in his autobiography, “Will.” 

Have you heard that 90% of what we worry about never happens. What matters is that the more or maybe the longer that we worry and hold on to most things, whether they happen or not, the heavier they get. And the more energy they waste, physical and emotional energy, like physical mental energy. So like I said in the video, the professor asked his students a simple question, How heavy is this glass of water? And of course, the answer is not 6-8-10-12 ounces or whatever. Because that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter because the glass is light and easy to hold. So as you know, just as an example, it’s kind of a question that doesn’t have a good answer. Nobody’s going to have trouble holding a glass, at least for a while. But the answer, just like the chairs, is that the longer you hold onto the glass, the heavier it gets. And it is really a powerful metaphor. 

I think about this all the time in my own life like holding on to worry, stress, and inaction can conspire to weigh on all of us in a way that just often simply isn’t deserved or warranted. And what’s light becomes heavy, not because its weight changes, but because we don’t put it down and walk away or walk past whatever it is. We don’t walk away or walk past whatever it is. And, you know, everybody’s different. I can’t speak for anybody else. I’m not saying, you know, that what I do would work for anybody else, everybody is different, but I make an effort. I make a really big effort to address anything that feels heavy to me, as soon as I can. So, if I am thinking about something, and it keeps me up, or like what happens to be more often I’ll be sleeping soundly, but I’ll go to the bathroom, and then I’ll come back. And I will start thinking about something and it’ll keep me up. And if it’s something that’s within my control, something that I could do something about, I guess it’s a more specific thing. I commit to doing something about that, to try to move my brain past the point where I’m worrying about it, like worry to me is a trigger. If I’m worried about something, I need to do something about it. And like I said, I know that’s not for everybody. But the more I worry about something and don’t do anything about it, nothing except worry, the more worried I tend to get. And again, I’m wasting all this energy, because whether that worry is about a person, a situation, money, you know, love, whatever, the longer I don’t do anything about it, except worry, the longer and more and deeper, I guess, that it’s going to impact me, and I don’t feel like I need that. I don’t feel like I want that. I don’t feel like that’s the right thing to do. 

So Abraham Lincoln has this quote, at least, you know, it’s funny, like how do they attribute all these quotes to people that have been dead for so long. But this is one that’s attributed to him: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” And when I think about the glass of water, and I think about holding on to that weight, and I think about how heavy it gets as a result of holding on to it. It makes me think just put the glass down. Just put it down. 

So that’s my message for today. If you’re worried about something, put the glass down, do something about it. Don’t let it weigh on you if you can. If you can, if you can do something about it, don’t let it weigh on you. Put it down. 

So thank you so much for investing your time with me today. I hope that you get a return on your investment for having done so. I’m very grateful that you are listening to my podcast and if you like it, please share or follow me and tell your friends about it. That’d be great. 

And in the meantime, until next episode, maximize your greatness.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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