Try this: worry better, not more.
I went back. I was 25 minutes late to the interview. That was my first ever interview. All I knew of interviews was, don’t be late. People who know me will know that mathematics is not my strong suit. Even I could see that I would be late. I don’t think I’ve ever been late in my life. So what were the factors that led me to this idiotic choice?
First of all, judgement. With judgement, I walked 25 minutes from my childhood home to this local clothing retail store that I was interviewing for £6.80 per hour (££££ baller) and thought the entire way about I looked and sounded. Should I try to deepen my voice? Should I have just worn a plain t-shirt, I feel a bit drowned in this shirt? Perhaps I should’ve worn a tie. Do I even want this job? (No, I didn’t want this job)
Oh, I’m not wearing my glasses.
I spent another ten minutes on the way thinking about my glasses. The cause and effects of wearing them:
- I would certainly look more employable.
- They would age me (apparently a good thing.)
- I probably wouldn’t look like a chav. The one thing I knew an employer in my hometown wanted to avoid for a weekend worker was a chav (it was a sad day they closed our local McDonalds because an employee was hit with a quarter pounder from 10 yards away)
As we know, I went back for them.
Worry and ‘rumination’ as psychologists have coined it, is the act of thinking deeply about something. If you examine how the word can also be used in the English language as the verb describing how a cow eats its food, then you’d find a close similarity to the typical idiom: “let’s chew over this.”
Isn’t English great?
To ruminate is not necessarily a bad thing. You might worry, for example, that jumping in front of a bus on Oxford Street might result in your untimely death. This would probably be a correct assumption. Worry, in this case, prevented your death.
Worry comes from experiences. It is unlikely I’d worry a great deal about jumping out of a plane with a parachute if the BBC news hadn’t covered such a death at some point. Consider if all you knew in the world was “parachutes will stop me from hurtling to earth and dying” and that you had never heard of somebody dying by jumping out of a plane. You’d probably have less of an issue jumping.
I worried that I would be judged for not looking intellectual. I drove myself insane thinking about how the world (the interview) hinged on a pair of spectacles.
Useless worry. Useless rumination.
Worrying is a hangover from our evolution over millions of years. Avoiding death is great, but on the whole as a race we’ve got that down. We know a tiger will bite when provoked. Right. We know a pair of spectacles will make me lose out on £54.40 per Saturday shift. Wrong.
Go ahead and ruminate about the bad shit. But the best skill you can learn, even for me as a person has plenty of experience with anxiety, is to accept that the benefits of worry has its limits. Think about the problem. Think, think, think about it. But then stop. You’re gaining nothing. Count to three and move on. Trust me, it works.