If you can’t change it, stop worrying

Let me introduce you to some nice German words such as “Gerüchteküche” (= kitchen of rumours) and “Flurfunk” (= corridor radio) which could be translated to “office grapevine” or “rumour mill”. Over the years I’ve noticed that a rumour is nearly always much worse than the real issue that seeded it. Still, people tend to worry A LOT.

I don’t really get the worrying, because 99% of the time it doesn’t propel people to take action. Not even asking someone in the know if there’s anything to the rumour at all.

So, the worrying is wasted energy on 2 accounts: 1) It won’t turn out that bad anyway and 2) it doesn’t make anyone take action.

I can recall exactly one occasion where reality turned out to be just as bad or worse than the rumours. Did I go “Damn, I wish I would have worried more instead of frolicking about”? No, because in this particular case I couldn’t have done anything to prevent the outcome anyway.

Matt Schlicht puts it like this in How to Become Stress Free in 2 Steps:

  1. Do not stress over things you can not change. Do you think sitting there and stressing out as hard as possible will solve the problem? No, of course not. Solving problems solves problems. It’s easy to get emotional and focused on something stressful, but in the end stress is pointless if you are not putting it to use.

  2. If you run into something stressful immediately skip past that feeling of stress to figuring out if there is a solution. No solution? Move on. Solution? Do it.

How do you deal with rumours?