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October 1999


Last Word

What, Me Worry? A Formula for Changing Failure Into Success - John Milton Fogg

John Milton Fogg I'm making the assumption that most of you reading this grew up with MAD magazine. In the case of those few generation-challenged individuals who didn't - you Xers and you great, great grandparents - MAD was an irreverent publication, more comic book than magazine, whose raison d'être was to make disrespectful fun of everyone and every thing in and around the culture of mid- to later-20th-century America. When a funny MAD piece hit humorous home, it usually bordered between outrageous and outright bad taste.

The magazine's personified mascot was a character named Alfred E. Newman. He was elephant-eared and freckled-faced with a way-too-toothy grin. (Picture a college-age Ted Koppel Monday morning after a weekend-long Animal House toga party.) Newman's always-adolescent everyman icon beamed out from MAD's pages accompanied by the slogan "What, me worry?"

Worry indeed. In the bomb-sheltered, post-McCarthy, tail-finned days leading to the Sixties, everybody was worried about something. I dare say we - the collective you and me - still are.

Why? "Don't worry, be happy!"

(Damn, now that song will echo `round your head for days. Sorry.)

But we do worry: Weather here. War there. Bills to pay. Mother's Day. Health, wealth, AIDS and the end of Wall Street's wild ride. I know people who, when they absently realize they aren't worrying about something, are worried about that!

Why worry?

Because we are human. We're born to it. People worry. That's just the way it is.

Can you stop worrying?

Yes, in this moment, and the next, and the next as well. You'll have to find out how to stop worrying if you ever want to be really and truly successful - by which I mean getting what you want more often than not, enjoying the process and being complete and content with the result. (It's called peace of mind - want some?)

How . . . ?

Two things: First, be alert to your motive, what moves you. Then make a choice.

The longer I live, the older I get (ha!), the more binary my inner bifocals see the world and its workings. All answers, when worked back to their source, are black and white for me. Keep it simple because it is - everything is - simple. That's the way I want it, and, therefore, that's the way it is. (So there!)

In every situation, in each individual act of your own creation, you have a motive, a thing that, literally, moves you to action, the essence of which will turn out to be one of two universal forces: fear or love.

Now please, do not confuse any part of this conversation with a discussion of good and bad. That's not the point. Good and bad are labels you can lick and stick on anything in your life. Why bother? How does that serve you?

What I'm talking about here is the realization that there are two essential energies ever-present in all Creation: fear and love. Like yin and yang (because they are yin and yang), they are complementary and antagonistic. Like day and night, they're a matched pair. Inseparable. Not good or bad. They simply are. And because they are, your job is: 1) To be aware of them (i.e., to know what your motivation is), and 2) To choose which one serves you and your purpose in that very moment. Fear is a good thing. Like the fear you think and feel when looking both ways crossing a busy street against the light at rush hour, or careening down class five rapids in a rubber raft.

Love is a good thing, too. Enough said.

Both of these energies show up as mental "states," and the experience and expression of each has consequences. Fear can and often does keep you safe, out of harm's way. Fear can also paralyze you into a state of non-action and less-than-your-best performance.

When your mind thinks fear or love, those energies are who and how you are being at that moment.

Now, I said thinks and I meant thinks. When you feel fear, when you feel love, that's your intuition. Your intuition is never wrong. When you genuinely feel, you are always right. However, 99.9989 percent of the time, what we say we feel is and are actually the thoughts we are having about the circumstance we're standing in. That's where this motivation bit comes in.

You feel fear and you feel love first. Then you think about it. You cannot control your feelings. They happen so quickly there's nothing you can do about them. (Of course, you can train yourself over time to not feel things. Doing that will drive you crazy and, eventually, cost you your life - as in dead man walking.) It's your thoughts you can manage and control, because at the level of mind, you always have a choice.

What I'm asking you to consider is being aware of your thinking and choosing which of the two you will allow to move you in the moment. Ask yourself, in any specific given situation, "Which one - love or fear - do I want to motivate me now?"

Worried about money - the lack of it? Mortgage due. Kid's tuition. Not enough in the checkbook. Not enough coming in. What's your motivating force: Fear or Love?

Fear - yes?

Change your mind. Look for what there is to love there.

Wouldn't you love to pay all your bills easily, effortlessly, even have some left over just for fun? Of course you would. Love that! Love that thought! Choose to have love be your motive.

You can have either one: Fear or Love. Which of the two do you want? Which do you want to be governed by? Do you think there's a difference in what you have and how you do and who you be based on what's motivating you?

Can you accomplish more through fear?

Can you accomplish more through love?

Which motive do you think will produce the best results for you in your life and work?

Which motive will have you thinking more creatively?

Which motive will move you to success quicker?

Which motive has you fully experience and express your values?

Which motive will bring you peace of mind?

Which motive is more fun?

Which motive do you want to teach your children . . . all the world's children?

In short and summary:

What you think about comes about.

Who you are is an expression of the energy that motivates you. You are either fear or love.

Both are useful.

Pick the one that serves you best.

What, me worry?

What, me vision?

The choice is yours.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Last Word - October 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,