Editor’s Note: We will continue to share with you articles that Zig has written in the past for his newspaper column “Encouraging Word” and excerpts from his books.
By Zig Ziglar
Have you ever watched people bowl? Many of them go through a little ritual before they actually get to the point of hurling their bowling ball in the direction of the pins. They carefully lace up their bowling shoes, and then the hunt for the perfect bowling ball begins. They may put on a bowling glove as well as an elbow brace. As they step to the line they glare at the bowling pins and get into their approach posture. Then they step forward and release the bowling ball down the alley. That’s when it gets interesting. As the ball rolls toward the pins the bowler starts deploying facial expressions, body English, and hand signals to “guide” the ball into the best impact point on the pins. As they see the ball drifting into a less-than-perfect point of impact they begin to give voice commands to the ball to correct its course. Of course, once the ball is released it is on the way, and there is nothing the bowler can do to change what is going to happen. The bowler could just as easily release the ball, turn around, and not even look at the impact of ball and pins. The results would be the same.
The bowling illustration demonstrates the futility of “worrying” about results. When you have set your goals properly and planned the action you need to take it’s a waste of time, energy, and emotion to worry about the results of what you have set in motion. When you execute an action step, it is like releasing a bowling ball. The results ball is rolling, and there is little you can do to change the point of impact. Worrying about where the ball will impact the target won’t improve or change what happens. The results will be the fruit of how well you prepared and planned and executed the action.
Worrying Makes Problems Worse
Worrying about the results will not change them. I certainly recognize that a certain amount of worry is just part of being human. People have concerns about many things. There are legitimate concerns about money and financial security. There are legitimate concerns about health issues, and there are concerns about our personal and professional relationships. People want all of these things to go well in their lives, and a certain amount of worry and concern is normal. But there is another kind of worry that is not only dangerous to your health; it is dangerous to your success. The kind of worry I’m talking about is “imagined worry.” Imagined worry is when you spend a lot of time thinking about the future and what might happen in your life that could be terrible. My late friend Mary Crowley said, “Worry is a misuse of the imagination,” and she hit the nail on the head with that remark. Now you might be wondering why I’m so concerned about worrying and what it has to do with success and expecting to win, so I’ll tell you. Worry is the most significant factor that relates to the root of negative thinking. As a matter of fact, worry just might be the engine that starts negative thinking, and if you are involved in negative thinking, you will not expect to win. If you spend an excessive amount of time imagining all the bad things that can happen in your life, you will become a person who is problem-conscious, not solution-conscious. There is perhaps no greater example of how this can be so dangerous than when it involves worrying about health issues. I have known many people who receive bad medical reports, and when they hear the news, they begin to worry so much about it that their life may as well have ended at that moment. Yes, they have bad days, but they choose to focus on the good days and what they can still do. They live in the moment and know full well that tomorrow will be what it is and they can deal with it when it arrives, not before.
Stop Worrying . . . Start Expecting
Worry is the result of thinking and imagining what might happen in the future. I want to stress the word “imagine.” The only reality people have is what is going on in their lives today. It is in the events of the day that life transpires, and anything based on tomorrow is pure speculation. I’ve learned that if you have planned and prepared, you can have reasonable expectations about the future. If you take care of your health through a good diet coupled with exercise, you can reasonably expect good health in the future. If you save and invest your financial resources, you can reasonably expect to have financial security in the future. If you live by principles of love and service to others, you can reasonably expect to have good personal relationships in the future. Good action today will produce good living tomorrow. Reasonably good expectations for tomorrow are based on positive thinking and prudent action today. Try this: instead of imagining all the bad things that might happen to you in the future based on your fear, start imagining things working out. There’s a song titled, “What If It All Goes Right?” by Melissa Lawson. The second line of the chorus is, “What if it all works out, what if the stars all line up . . . ” You have to develop a what if it does go right and work outexpectancy if you want to be the winner you were born to be.
I Don’t Worry
Worrying is something I quit doing many years ago, and today I can honestly tell you that I don’t worry about anything—period! In fact, when the terrorist attack happened on 9/11 and I had to find a way to travel back home, I did not worry about the possibility of another attack. I believe if it is not my time, there’s not a terrorist on the earth who can change the will of God about what my lifespan should be. I never worry because I know who I am and I know WhoseI am. I know that the principles I live by are true and correct. I also know that I always try to do the right thing, and when you do the right things in life, you don’t have to worry about results. As a matter of fact, if I’ve done the right thing every day I’m not even responsible for results. I just get the benefit of what I do, and the benefits are usually better than I could have hoped for.
Finally, remember that if you have planned and prepared yourself to win, there is no need to worry about the results. Like the bowler who has released the ball down the alley, you must learn there is nothing your worrying can do to change anything. If you have planned well and set good goals, you can have confidence that you know where you want and need to go. If you have done what you need to do to prepare yourself to win, you do not have to worry. You will have no justification to worry about failure. You can expect to win!
The article is adapted from Born to Win: Find Your Success Code. Zig Ziglar was known as America’s Motivator. He authored 32 books and produced numerous training programs. He will be remembered as a man who lived out his faith daily.
Worrying about the results will not change them. As a matter of fact, worry just might be the engine that starts negative thinking, and if you are involved in negative thinking, you will not expect to win. ~Zig Ziglar