I have self-prescribed ADD (I haven’t been diagnosed because I can never finish the tests). Like many of you, I have a very hyper-active mind which leads me to take in a lot of data and try to draw instant conclusions about the world around me.
It can be exhausting.
The problem is that I’ve always had an issue sorting through what to be concerned about about and what will be fine.
Often in my snap judgements, I have found myself on the wrong side of the worry tracks, which just leads to a whole train of supplemental self-inflicted problems.
So I came up with a tool to help me quickly and accurately sift through the situations of life.
This is a tool that can help you in business, daily happenings and especially relationships.
A lot of people say ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’ and this tool will help you determine if it can indeed be categorized as “small stuff.”
It’s a quick three-question survey that I ask myself anytime I feel the need to worry so that I can easily determine if it is worth worrying about:
- Can it be solved with time?
- Can it be solved with money?
- Can it be solved with effort?
If the answer is yes to any of those then it isn’t that big of a deal.
If it can’t be solved with time, money or effort, then there isn’t anything I can do to make it better, so why worry about it anyway?
So far, I have found that about 99% of problems can be solved with time, money or effort.
If a problem is going to take time, seek for patience.
If a problem is going to take money, seek for perspective.
If a problem is going to take effort…just get it done.
Now, let me be the first to admit that I’m not perfect at this and some days just straight up I’m bad at this.
I get frustrated when I’m driving in traffic and someone cuts me off. Well that cost me an additional 2 seconds of my time. Not a big deal.
I was upset when United charged me an additional $174.79 for a flight I already purchased. Well that cost me 2 hours on the phone arguing and a little bit of a lighter bank account. Irritating? Yes. A big deal? No.
I had some ‘sticker shock’ when I got on the scale a month after my honeymoon to find it having gone in the wrong direction 10 pounds. Well…that just takes a little effort and time. (Still waiting to solve this issue with money by buying a magic pill that turns Captain Crunch into raw broccoli.)
So while I still need to work at my initial reaction, these questions have been invaluable in helping me move on from these perceived “problems” much faster and minimize the post-situation worry time.
One thing I learned from studying Buddhism is being present. So much of worry lies in the chosen fear leading up to a single moment, or dragging the pain of that single moment on well past the initial infliction as some kind of a badge of twisted honor. The problem and issue usually only lasts a moment, it is us who expands that moment to fill our lives with worry by focusing on things that have not yet happened or dwelling on that which is past.
Now don’t get me wrong…there are some really really hard problems that can’t just be justified away–the death of a loved one, an unfaithful spouse, a breakup–but even those, when given time, can lead to healing and even strength. I’m not saying you should ignore it and hope it goes away; but face those issues while giving yourself time.
After pondering on the formation of these questions for many hours and continuing my study on Buddhism, I found out I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had just read this quote by the Dalai Lama XIV (but hey, that’s not something worth worrying about), “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
So I challenge you to take a step back and when you find that bubbling from somewhere deep when a problem arises, take a step back and ask yourself: Can it be solved with time, money or effort?
99% of worries will melt away like Texas snow and the rest…well, that’s the reason man invented working out.