One of the tough things about our current society is how easy it is to focus on others when you need to worry about yourself. You can scroll through social media all day and talk about what others should be doing. You can go on YouTube and live your life vicariously through others. None of these things bring any control to your life.
Most people go through life riding in the bed of a pickup truck. They allow someone else to drive the car and whip them around in the bed of the truck; however, they see fit. The driver makes sharp turns, and you sit in the back and hold on as tightly as you can. You do all of this with no protection, and if you get tossed from the back of the truck, you could get hurt or even lose your life. You need to regain control.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” Anonymous
The Rise of Anxiety
Understand why we worry about things in the first place is important. Worry is a result of living in a delayed-return environment. When you think about how animals operate, they live in an immediate-return environment. Understanding these two worlds and how our brains work is paramount.
Animals make decisions that make an immediate impact on life. If an animal is hungry, it seeks food, and if an animal is out in the rain, it seeks shelter. If there is a threat near, an animal will try to run away.
All of these choices produce an immediate result. Animals don't think off into the future, and the paradox of choice does not crush them. It's easier to live here because everything you do produces a result right away.
The delayed-return environment is what our modern brain must operate in. Most of the choices we make have no immediate return. All these are actions we take with delayed results:
- Going to school
- Saving money
- Buying any insurance
- Working out
- Eating healthy
As a human being, you have to spend most of your time thinking about things that could happen in the future. You're constantly working for tomorrow. The issue that is created from this is stress, worry, and anxiety.
Understanding our old brains
Our brains have been around for a long time, but the problem is they change slowly. A lot of what we see in modern society, our brains have never adjusted for. For example, we used to hunt for all of our food. Quick energy sources were hard to come by. If we ever saw honey, we would eat it because sugar provides quick energy. Our brains are wired that way, but now we can walk into a grocery store and pile up on the sugar.
The same reality is true of our brains today when living in a future-oriented world. Our brains were designed to live more like animals, but the modern world has changed things so much. Now our modern brains have to adjust to the reality that most of the things we want will only come with delayed gratification.
Why You Need to Worry About Yourself
What does any of this have to do with worry about yourself? We magnify this issue when we worry about others. It's hard enough to have to live in a state where everything you do has future implications. Imagine trying to worry about the futures of other people?
It adds a layer of anxiety that we were not made to be able to handle. Especially when you add the element control. When you worry about your future, you have control over how it plays out. When you worry about other people's future, you have no control over how it plays out. Having no control makes the anxiety even worse.
You need to lock in and focus on you and the things you can control. There is no sense worrying about the weather because you can't control it. You can't control other people either. What you can control is you.
You Have Control Over:
- Your Words
At any moment, you can control the things listed above. Anyone who lives a great life has learned how to take control of these five items. If bad things happen to them, they control how they respond and their attitude about it going forward. They keep their emotions in check no matter how much it was not their fault.
The best way you can help others sometimes is to help yourself. It's the reason why airplanes instruct you to put your mask on before you assist others. If someone needs assistance with a mask, but you pass out from a lack of oxygen, you will not be able to help them. You have to take good care of yourself to put yourself in the best position possible.
Worry About Yourself is Not a Call to Be Selfish
When people hear that they need to worry about themselves, they often don't want to because it sounds selfish. It sounds like you're being told to leave everyone else out in the cold.
This could not be further from the truth. Worry about yourself is a declaration to focus on your future because it's all you have control of. Worrying about Kim Kardashian is not going to bring you joy. You have zero control over any choices she makes and how it will impact her future.
You can worry about your children because what you do does have an impact on their future. But as they get older, you have to let go of this more and more because you have less control over them and what they do.
Take Ownership and Keep It Moving
When you begin worrying about yourself, you make your future a priority. With that also comes taking ownership. It's the last step to gaining the control that you want for your life.
Taking ownership is powerful because you allow yourself to retain control. When you pass blame, you lose that control. It now becomes another person choice to make an adjustment or a change. You can do nothing about that! If you sit back and find a way to own your situation, you can make changes.
Let's say a friend betrays you. On one side, you can get mad at them and want them to apologize, or you can own it. When you own, you look at your poor choice in friends and find ways to improve in that area.
Ownership is no dismissing that others can harm you; it's focusing on what you can control.
The key to living a successful life full of joy is taking ownership.