You’re not a fortune teller (Thank Goodness)
As I’ve said many times before, we all like a sure thing. Something we can rely on, depend on and trust.
Now, if we’re talking about the people in our lives, I’d say that’s a pre-requisite. If we can’t trust our loved ones, we may be in some trouble. I might point out, sometimes “trust” here means, “we trust them to act, say, and do as they always have done”.
But when it comes to the big things that lurk out in the future, contingent upon this thing going right, or that thing going wrong, we’re way out of our league even trying to make guesses, let alone build a future.
I’ve read somewhere with all the huge sums of money invested in weather satellites, super-computers that model weather trends, millions of different variables and conditions, and trained experts to interpret those results, predicting the weather is no more accurate after 48 hours than a random guess based on the weather of the last week.
That’s not to slam weather research—we need that. But if supercomputers can’t predict the future further along than 48 hours, what are our chances?
Please note—there is a difference between planning and prediction. We plan for the most likely circumstances, we prepare a bit for the possible downturns, and we must not overthink anything.
Unless you’re a general going into battle, or a surgeon preparing to treat a patient, why on earth are you wasting your valuable energy planning for every contingency?
We all have a limited amount of mental energy in a day before we must sleep and recharge. Meditation and mindful awareness helps us to make the most of our stores of mental energy, so that while we’re awake, we can be sharp-minded, joyful, enthusiastic, and powerful in our work.
Yet not even meditation can give us mental energy to stay awake and productive for two days straight! So if our energy resources are limited, why squander that vital brain power? After all, it’s where our emotions as well as our logic comes from. Everything dips from the same pool.
When we play fortune-teller, we first anticipate a future and then build up strategies to deal with a future that hasn’t happened yet. It does sound a little silly, doesn’t it? It gets even worse when we worry and lose sleep over a future that’s at best, a guess.
It can get even worse. Some of us build up many potential possible futures and try to establish contingencies for every possible outcome. We can get lost in a reverse effect, where we try to live in harmony with the contingencies we’ve built up for things that might never happen at all.
I’m not knocking planning. We know we’ll get too old to work one day, should we live so long. We know we’ll have to send the kids off to college (if they choose to go), and we know we’ll get sick from time to time.
Having plans for things like these are good things to have. But obsessing over the “what ifs” in life is a sure way to fill up on anxiety, stress and worry.