Worry is a wasted emotion

In my previous blog I discussed the emotional intelligence of Michael Cheika, Head Coach of the Australian Rugby team.  However he is not alone in having high EQ, another is Steve Hansen, head coach of the New Zealand All-Blacks, probably the most successful sporting team in the world.

There is a fascinating video of Steven Hansen when asked how he felt facing France in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup.  Was he worried? (For those who are unfamiliar with Rugby World Cup {RWC} history, France had twice defeated New Zealand in earlier World Cups when the All-Blacks were un-backable favourites.  And in the 2011 final, New Zealand just scraped home against France winning 8-7.  Also no country had won the RWC twice in a row.)

His reply was profound: worry is a wasted emotion.  Funnily enough I have now come to realise that several fonts of wisdom share the same view.  After teaching the multitude the Lord’s Prayer Jesus then asked the question “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” {Matthew 6:27}

Similarly according to Cicero, ‘The art of life is to deal with problems as they arise, rather than destroy one’s spirit by worrying about them too far in advance.”

However there is one group of individuals who worry constantly: those who have a strong Doublechecker component.  They are driven by the desire for security and become procrastinators because they worry about making wrong decisions.  They are hypochondriacs suffering from a range of imaginary illnesses.  They love listening to other people’s problems and trying to help them which means they make excellent teachers, nurses and counsellors.  Because of this trait people generally find them agreeable.

The irony is that worrying about the future is generally wasted because humans are so bad at predicting the future.  Trying to predict the future is a folly.

Shakespeare had it right in Hamlet.  As Sir Laurence Oliver said in his Oscar winning version of Hamlet, “This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.”  However in the final act, Hamlet realises that his worrying has been a waste of time.

“We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.”  

Worrying is a wasted emotion.  Instead what you need to do is increase your ability to be prepared to handle various events as and when they occur.  The readiness is indeed all as Hansen himself realised and communicated to his team who not only beat France easily but went on to win successive World Cups.


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