My grandmother was the proprietor of the Vanity Beauty Shop in Florence, Ala. One of her regular clients back in the 1960s was a colorful Southern gentlewoman named Yvonne Harrell. Miss Yvonne believed that the electronic field generated by the nearby Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric dam would draw asteroids into the earth’s gravity and send them raining down on the Alabama countryside some day soon. She worried incessantly about that, and it was a regular topic of discussion whenever she was in the shop for her regular adjustment of her beehive hairdo and a repainting of her bright red fingernails.
Now I’m not sure if Yvonne ever worked a day in an office or a manufacturing plant, but she is the perfect example of the wrong type of worrier. Work and worry go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Like beds and bedbugs. You work, you’re going to worry. If you’re not worrying about keeping the customers you have or bringing new ones in the door, you’re worrying about paying the bills or replacing a worn out piece of equipment – and that type of worry can be bad or good, depending on what you do with it.
Miss Yvonne was a negative worrier. She obsessed about those asteroids for years even though she was basing her fears on questionable information from an unreliable source and there was nothing she could ever do to change the path of those asteroids. Some people spend their days worrying and complaining about things that are beyond their control and expending a lot of energy for nothing. Worry begets fear which begets paralysis, which begets more fear. In a business environment, it’s a sure formula for failure.
Spin your worrying in the other direction and it looks like this: worry leads to fact-finding, which leads to identifying a problem, which leads to creating a challenge, which leads to developing a plan, which leads to solving the problem. It becomes a formula for success.
Or stated more simply, there are two types of people in the world. One guy walking down the street gets a rock in his shoe and just keeps walking along, complaining about how his feet hurt and wondering how he got a rock in his shoe. The other guy gets a rock in his shoe, stops, takes off his shoe, gets rid of the rock and continues walking – maybe even whistling a little tune along the way. If you’re still in business today after the Great Construction Depression, my guess is you’re a whistler.
President, National Precast Concrete Association
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