Worry is a misuse of imagination. – Dan Zadra
What does that mean?
This quote, sometimes with a “the” in place of “a,” is about the close relationship between worry and imagination, and the implications of that closeness.
Our imaginations are wonderful and powerful forces in our lives. As kids, we use our imaginations to go all sorts of places, and do many different things.
When we watch TV, go to see a movie, or read a book, that is our imagination taking us to new and wonderful places. But if it’s a scary book or movie, it can take us to dark places.
Worry is much like that. It is our imagination taking us to some of the worst possible places, and envision the worst possible outcomes. While that still is our imagination, the quote states that it is not the best possible use of it.
Why is proper use of our imagination important?
Our imagination, as mentioned before, is a great and powerful force in our lives. We can use it to help plot the courses of our lives in either the best possible path, or throw us on the rocks of our own making. If we do not control that great force and bend it to our will, we are asking for trouble.
When our imagination is focused on the bad things, on the worst outcomes, on the least favorable things, it brings us concern that these things may come to pass. That is what worry is. Misuse of our imagination can bring great stress and great pain, without anything ever actually happening. It is totally self-inflicted and unnecessary.
Yes, there are times when we plan for the future that we have to look down the paths we hope do not come true. Looking, assessing and then leaving the dark place is the proper way to use our imagination. If, however, you become lost in that place, you will find only the worst things possible, and yet none of it has yet to happen.
Thus keeping ourselves from staying in the dark places, in the least desirable outcomes, is an important thing to remember. Yes, we need to evaluate the worst case possibilities, but we don’t have to presume they have already happened and exile ourselves to that place before it has even happened. We can and we must be strong and use our imagination properly.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I’m a very analytical guy. I like to look at all the possible outcomes, and then start assigning probabilities to each. Once I know what’s likely to happen, I can start looking into ways to prevent or minimize what those outcomes could do, if they actually come to pass. But that requires me to go down the unpleasant paths.
As long as I remember to come back afterwards, all is well. However, on occasion, I get stuck in the dark places. I begin to think there are few other possible results, and begin to succumb to worry. Fortunately, I have friends and family who know what to look for, and can help me notice when I have given in to worry, and that helps me come back.
For me, just the realization that I am thinking of only one out of many possible outcomes or results is sufficient to break me out of the worst of the worry. A little may remain, but not much, and I can once again turn my imagination to the more productive, useful and pleasant paths.
What of you? What gets you to worry? Do you have a favorite topic such as the condition of the world, or perhaps a medical condition of others or your own? How do you escape such worry? Can you do it before the action you fear occurs, or must you wait to be proven wrong before you can release worry and move forward with your life?
In all likelihood, you have noticed that some worries are easier to release or let go than others. Is there a pattern you recognize to the more difficult forms of worry? Or perhaps it’s easier to see a pattern in those you can release with ease? Take a moment and consider what you do to let go of the easy ones, and what makes letting go of the others so hard.
Once you have an idea of what you can do easily, and what is difficult, take some time to consider how you might apply what you do to let go easily to the worry which is more difficult. What can you do to make it easier to let go of worry? How can you regain focus and point your imagination into a better direction?
It is your life, and worry is not necessary or particularly useful. But it is up to you to take control of your imagination and focus it on useful and pleasant things. What will you do today to change how you use your imagination?
From: Twitter, @talkmaster
confirmed at : presently on page 8 of 11, but will likely be pushed back over time.
photo by Giorgio Montersino