There are some circumstances that you have no power to change. Worrying about these types of circumstances is pointless. On the other hand, you shouldn’t give up looking for a solution just because you don’t see an immediate solution.
It is important to be able to differentiate between worry and productive problem-solving. Worry usually has the following characteristics:
- It involves repeating the same thoughts over and over.
- Any “solutions” deal with things that you don’t have the power to change.
- It focuses on changing things that have already happened.
Problem-solving on the other hand has the following characteristics:
- It doesn’t involve thinking about the same thing over and over again.
- It produces different solutions, many of which are within your power to execute.
- It feels positive and like you are accomplishing something, even before a solution is reached.
Originally published on December 20, 2005.
Mark, I definitely agree. There’s a test I like to put people through. It’s simple: get lost. Drive somewhere and get lost. See how they handle the situation. If they freak out and panic instead of coming up with a solution (turn around, ask for directions, look at map) then I know they are most likely poor problem-solvers.
Definitely, worry is a negative thought process, while problem-solving is a constructive thought process. They are also incompatible, when you worry you can’t think clearly and thus are unable to effectively deal with the problem at hand.