If we were to keep a record of all the things we worried about during a
given period of time, we would discover--in reviewing them--that the
great majority of our anticipated problems or troubles never come to
pass. This means that most of the time we devote to worrying, even the
constructive kind that prompts us to try to come up with a solution to what
is troubling us, is wasted. Thus, we not only caused ourself unnecessary
mental anguish, but also took up valuable minutes and hours that could
have been spent elsewhere.
To avoid this, it is often necessary to subject potential sources of worry
to the coldly objective and analytical light of reason. Once, sortly before a
major concert before a standing-room- only audience, a member of
Arturo Toscanini's orchestra approached the great Italian conductor with
an expression of sheer terror on his face. "Maestro," the musician
fretted, "my instrument is not working properly. I cannot reach the note of
E-flat. Whatever will I do? We are to begin in a few moments."
Toscanini looked at the man with utter amazement. Then he smiled
kindly and placed an arm around his shoulders. "My friend," the maestro
replied, "Do not worry about it. The note E-flat does not appear
anywhere in the music that you will be playing this evening."
The next time we find ourselves in the middle of worrying about some
matter, we might be wise to stop and ask ourselves what the odds are of
the problem really coming to pass. We may be able to go on to
something more constructive.