by Brad Stevens
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, shortly 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 are 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.