Worry and Imagination: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned. I kept checking the clock, knowing that morning would soon arrive. I finally got up a little after 4:00 a.m.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/AcePixure, Image #6487475

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/AcePixure

The problem was not that I was worried. The problem was that I was having a creative brainstorm. I was thinking about a new way to market books. (I’m a publisher, after all.) My brain was going a mile a minute.

I have had plenty of nights where worry kept me up. You probably have, too. I have lain awake many a night, anxious about my kids, my health, my job—you name it. I have worried about it all. In fact, if worry were an Olympic event, I would have a Gold Medal.

And all for naught.

In Andy Andrews new book, The Noticer, the main character, Jones, says to another character, Walker,

Forty percent of the things you worry about will never occur…. Thirty percent of the things you worry about are things that have already happened—in the past. And all the worry in the world ain’t gonna change what’s already happened, right?”

Walker agrees and Jones continues,

Twelve percent of all worries have to do with needless imaginings about our health. My leg hurts. Do I have cancer? My head hurts. Do I have a tumor? My daddy died of a heart attack when he was sixty, and I’m fifty-nine…. Ten percent would be petty-little-nothing worries about what other people think.”

He then concludes,

So if my math is right, that leaves eight percent…. Eight percent for legitimate concerns … these legitimate concerns are things that can actually be dealt with. Most people spend so much time fearing the things that are never going to happen or can’t be controlled that they have no energy to deal with the few things they can actually handle (pp. 54, 55).”

As I got up this morning, I realized how very similar worry and imagination really are. Both of them involve visualizing the future. In a sense, worry is simply an unproductive use of imagination.

But the differences between them are also profound:

  • Worry leaves you feeling drained. Imagination leaves you feeling energized. Even though I didn’t sleep last night, I got up, ran four miles, and couldn’t wait to get to the office.
  • Worry is about survival. Imagination is about possibility. My brain was going so fast last night, I was seeing hundreds of possibilities. It was a true brainstorm.
  • Worry makes you dread the future. Imagination makes you eager to get to the future. In my mind I could see, smell, and almost feel what I wanted to create.
  • Worry focuses on the bad things that might happen. Imagination focuses on the good things that could happen. In my mind, I saw my project as a strategic stepping stone that could change the world! At least of publishers and booksellers.

As I thought about this some more, it occurred to me that my brainstorm actually started out as a worry. The stimulus for it isn’t important. However, it all shifted when I thought to myself, Okay, so what if that did happen? What would that make possible?

If you can imagine the worst—and see the possibility in it—you have turned a corner. Everything begins to shift. Worry is transformed into creativity.

Question: What are you worried about? How can you turn this into an opportunity to imagine a new possibility?
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  • http://www.KristinePratt.com Kristine Pratt

    My worries have been over how we're going to survive. We've recently moved to a new state, the financial situation is terrifying and I haven't found a traditional job. So…with the worst already at my doorstep I'm turning it around by working at creating my own position, with my own business.

    I'm looking at what my actual talents are and looking for the best ways to optimize them. More than that, with what I'm planning to do, I'm finding a way to handle not just my financial worries, but to maybe ease the worries of a couple friends who are also struggling right now.

    I am amazed at the opportunities at my doorstep. If i hadn't stopped worrying and instead looked to see what COULD be done I would have missed them. Right now things are still frightening to say the least. But at the same time I've never felt so positive or energized about the future. But I want to add, whether or not I succeed, it means little, so long as I've done my very best with what God has given me.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Mike!

  • Fran Toolan

    Interesting that I was just thinking the same thing. I completely agree. Unfortunately, you still need to pass through the worry portion to get to the creative piece.

    I often find it helps to answer 'out loud' the question, "what's the worst that can happen?" It's amazing to me how that simple act can make your answers sound so stupid.

    great post. thanks.

  • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

    Now you've got me worrying about the innovating strategies you are going to implement in the publishing industry- Christian at that- which as someone recently pointed out to me are as conservative a flock of readers that you can get. I admire your guts and wish you luck you will need it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    I agree 100% that Worry can be the catalyst for Imagination and Solutions (if we let it). I think God gives us that ability to stare down the face of a challenge and find a way to overcome it. Problem is too many let that worry overtake them and let it cloud their ability to see past it. Worry can be heavy, it can be paralyzing but for those who can harness its motivation, worry can spark a new idea that very well can change the world.

    Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself but I think that means not to dwell and let worry consume you to a point of inaction and inability to overcome.

  • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

    Great post! Several people I know are coming to mind—creative people who struggle with worry. Explains a lot. (Maybe I'm blessed by not being very creative. Haha.)

    • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

      I want to disagree with you on that Gail. Being creative is not just being artistic and the like. Keeping a home and a family together takes up all the creativity one can muster, as I well recall my mum, my dad, my grandparents and so on… And because one has to be creative to keep a home thriving and well, it is often also the reason why so many fail on that count.

  • http://www.publishedauthors.net/robsargeant Rob Sargeant

    I've heard rumours that I could be posted this summer to the east coast, 6000 kms away. Where we have lived for the past seven years, my two sons are in high school, and they have a large circle of friends. I'm excited about all the possibilities ahead with the move, but not so sure how the kids will take the news.

    I want to present the posting as an opportunity for them so I'm collecting information on schools, and leisure activities, to help them see past the loss of friends when I break the news, to help ease the stress.

  • http://www.graceconnexion.org Paul Fitzgerald

    Certainly worry, panic and distress involve imagining a painful future – a mental video without a loving Trinity in any scene. A feeling of “It’s all up to me.”
    Imagination can be grounded in reality or be so grandiose that it has no basis to impact reality positively. It can lead to great blessings or become another person’s source of worry.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    I read yesterday that one definition of fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real.

    That fits with what you said about worry. We worry about things that are out of our control or don't even exist.

    Maybe that's why Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow – we have no idea what tomorrow holds!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/John_Gallagher John_Gallagher

    Great post, Michael. I recently blogged about my NOT to-do list and it was clear that the number 1 things I needed NOT to-do was worry about things outside of my control. WORRY is an energy vampire. IMAGINATION is an energy lifter. I clearly know the physical and mental differences in how I FEEL between these two.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JimMartin JimMartin

    At times I worry about the future. What am going to do next? How will this happen? What if things (what I have in mind for the future) don't work out that way?

    I have to be careful not to get tied up worrying about these questions. As you said, worry is draining and imagination is energizing.

    What I attempt to do is to think about the future in terms of possibilities. Sometimes I am successful at this and sometimes not. Thanks for a good post. (Great contrast between worry and imagination!)

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.com Tea with Tiffany

    Love this post. Thank you.

    I've done my time worrying and it never got me anywhere but down!

    Appreciate my imagination. I'm a dreamer and a thinker. Now if I could just put feet to my God sized dreams and start living them. I think I'd feel a release. Until then, I feel shut up and stuck.

    Thanks again!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Jim_MacKrell Jim_MacKrell

    There is an old fashioned hymn called, "Count your Blessings, name them one by one." The greatest lesson, one I've tried to implement daily and also pass along to my grown children is what I call "Yellow Pad Philosophy, when worried write down all the things you are thankful at that time, then your worries look small indeed. That is my feeling about this current condition in publishing. I've finished my novel, had it edited, read by industry professionals, and took the time to think about all the joys in writing and now in pursuing a publisher. My yellow pad is full, my future is bright and I look forward to the next bend in the road. Thanks again for your wisdom and insight. I wish more in the industry in which we toil had the same outlook.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/KarlaAkins KarlaAkins

    I love this post. Fantastic. I can hardly wait to learn what you brainstormed!

  • SamSorbo

    Lovely, and well put. I liked the angle where you discovered that worry led to your imagination running. Worry can be a stepping stone. Necessity is the mother of invention. The trick to to progress beyond the worry, and that is done, as somebody pointed out, by contemplating worst case scenario, which is usually not all that bad.

  • http://tracystoller.blogspot.com TracyStoller

    This is a great topic. I am worried about finding a new job because the college I work for is closing in May. I find that if I am in worry-mode, I obsess and my actions get more and more frantic and I start thinking that I must take anything just to get myself employed somewhere.. If I can think of my situation as a problem to solve, I can be more objective about my options and I open myself up to new possiblities. Then my decisions are more reasonable.

  • http://www.janegmeyer.com Jane G Meyer

    What a unique and interesting post. I've been struggling with knots in my tummy all morning after receiving some bad news and finally decided to bake some bread just so I could pound the dough. Felt great, smells great, and I'm sure it will taste great.

    I'm going to take your advice and think about this worry critically and see if I can transform it into something healthy and positive. Thanks…

  • http://wwwpenandpalette-susancushman.blogspot.com/ Susan Cushman

    So how are you feeling now? Has it caught up with you yet? I find that whether it's worry or a creative surge that keeps me up, I'm still exhausted by the following evening. Especially if the insomnia was caused by that age-old illusion…. control. It seems that whether it's "worry" (negative energy) or "imagination" (positive energy) that's keeping us up, we can only do what we can do to work towards solutions, and then let go of the results and remember that we're not in charge. Sometimes it's caffeine or too much rapid brain activity late at night that keeps me up, but usually when I can't sleep it's because I haven't relinquished control to God.

  • Teri D. Smith

    Great post! I'm actually taking a Bible study class based on creativity. The premise is that since we're made in the image of God and He's the Creator, we all have creativity too.

    One of the things we did was play a game to brainstorm how to deal with problems in the church. We picked a problem: some folks feeling like outsiders. Then we rolled a dice with letters and "r" came up. We had to brainstorm things we could for these folks and they all had to begin with the letter "r". In less than a minute we had about valid 8 choices–all beginning with "r". They all came from a creative way to look at a problem (worry).

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GreggStutts GreggStutts

    Mike,
    I especially like it when you said, "Worry focuses on the bad things that might happen. Imagination focuses on the good things that could happen."

    That being true, imagination would seem to involve an element of faith. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

    Worry removes God from the equation. Faith and imagination together bring Him into it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/jbwagner Josh Wagner

      Well said. Agreed.

  • http://peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com elaine

    Worry? Perhaps statements like, "elaine, I think you missed your calling." At 43 years of age, what's a person supposed to do with a statement like that?

    Keep dreaming, I suppose.

    peace~elaine

    • http://www.diggingouttogether.com/ Julie Albin

      Sheila Walsh once said that, as long as there's a breath left in your body, it's never too late to do God's will. Listen for God's voice today. Grace has covered any hearing problems you may have had in the past.

  • http://rvcalgary.blogspot.com Fred Waters

    Great post – great insight. And if worry is focused on ourselves, could it be something of a take on idolatry where I put myself in the centre. Imagination could focus on what's outside of ourselves and be driven by our belief that God has gifted us…as Paul says: "to do good works"

  • http://www.courageoussingleparenting.blogspot.com/ Scoti Domeij

    When propelled into single parenthood, EVERYTHING terrified me: finances, finding quality childcare, a pedophile targeting my sons, my children’s futures, their choices, my choices, fear of their dad kidnapping them, further rejection, unemployment, being homeless, failing as a solo parent. Name that fear. I could imagine it. Plus, inaccurate analyses of studies and unfair stereotypes demonizing single parents—especially moms—robbed me of confidence to raise my sons alone. Like a fire alarm jerking me from a paralyzed sleep state, I cried out (lots) for help from Adonai Tsoovah, The Lord My Salvation. The shift from fear to hope happened when I set aside men’s opinions and trusted Jehovah who offers a hopeful outcome for my children and me.

    Could you provide the original source of these statistics? "Forty percent of the things you worry about will never occur…. Thirty percent of the things you worry about are things that have already happened—in the past. Twelve percent of all worries have to do with needless imaginings about our health." I'm writing a book proposal for "Courageous Single Parenting: Overcoming the Fears that Plague Your Heart" and would like to incorporate those stats.

  • http://terripatrick.wordpress.com/ terri patrick

    Worry and fear are weeds in the garden of bliss.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that.

  • Rachel Hauck

    Great post, Mike. Well said, amazing insight. We were just talking about worry last night at home church, going over Matt 6:25-32.

    There is no point to worry. Jesus tells us that God takes care of our very base needs! Food and clothing. It's not like we have to take care of those ourselves and God kicks in at "X" level of trouble. He cares about our food. Our clothes. Even to array us more beautiful than lilies.

    I got to thinking, "If God is good, and He is, then how is just food and clothing enough for Him?" Yes, we must be content with the basics! We can't pursue "things." But God loves to give to those who are His.

    As we seek His Kingdom and righteousness, then He will do more than we ask or think. (Eph 3:20)

    Food and clothing is the floor of God's blessings to us. We've made it the ceiling in some cases.

    Worry robs us of our faith to believe God can do more than we ask or think.

    Let's turn worry on it's ear. Lean into God and faith, lean into the positive, the creative. Worry gains us nothing. Well, maybe an ulcer. :/

    Blessings, Rachel

  • http://www.RumorsOfGlory.net/blog Lucille

    My pastor always says, "Worry is like trying to get from Denver to Dallas in a rocking chair."

    A better alternative? Visualized yourself having success in the situation!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Great quote!

  • Joel Ceballos

    Hey, Mike. Great quote I plan to use on my next presentation (with proper attribution). "If you can imagine the worst—and see the possibility in it—you have turned a corner. Everything begins to shift. Worry is transformed into creativity."
    Phil 4:4-7 also helps me keep worry at bay. Its amazing how God's peace guards our minds (to think clearly) and our hearts (to keep our emotions on a proactive paradigm).
    Thank you, Joel

  • Karin Haubold

    Michael,

    Thanks for this post, I just emailed it to my husband (worrier extrodianaire) and am hoping this helps him. Life has been rough the last 6 months, he owns a remodeling/painting business and needless to say in this economy it has been rough. He is a half glass empty kind of guy.

    He also is one of the most creative thinkers that I know, if I could have a dollar for each idea he has come up with the last almost 23 years we have been married, I would be very wealthy. The difficult thing is how to harness his creativity and earn money from it.

    Thanks, Karin

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I can totally relate. I think the reason I could write this is that I have experienced both myself!

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  • http://www.lynettesowell.com Lynette

    I've realized that worry is a product of my over-active and vivid imagination. As a writer, I need to refocus that creative energy for sure! Thanks for the confirmation.

  • http://www.billwhitt.com/blog Bill Whitt

    Great insight! I'm a chronic worrier, and I see what you mean about it being an unproductive use of imagination. Most worries really can be turned into something productive!

  • http://www.SimpleEncouragement.com Thomas Waterhouse

    Not two sides of the same coin. Worry is born of fear and leads to paralysis. It is a form of self-condemnation. Concern is born of discernment and is always "actionable". It represents healthy spirituality. Imagination is born of pure love and given God's parameters, it creates, and it can create something from nothing! Seems this is what woke Michael @ 4a! :) Seems to me "concern" and "imagination" are more related. Worry? Get behind me!

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Great post — I definitely struggled with this type of "worry". Thanks for giving me permission to embrace it as something potentially productive.

  • http://www.theREALrachelrowell.com Rachel

    I can TOTALLY relate! However, I love the points you bring out here.

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  • http://www.sherrielord.com Sherrie Lord

    So true. Thanks for analyzing it and sifting it down to the simple. Words to commit to memory.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

    You nailed me right on the head here.
    I am worried about the future. About what my imagination has dreamed up and if it can become a reality.
    I am worried that my dream will stay a dream and I will be back at square one in a year.

    Worry is not worth the time.
    Dreaming about the future is where I want to be

  • http://www.prnashville.com Angie

    Other than thinking of ways to turn worry into opportunity, does the book offer any other ideas? I know things need to happen, but sometimes the creative piece you are blessed with is the very thing that makes me worry. I understand where we are, and where we need to be, but the road between…. foggy. THus I worry.

  • Scotty

    Great post! And real food for thought!

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  • Colleen Coble

    Love your new blog design, Mike! And this post! Oh it's so me. :-) I worry about my kids, my granddaughter, my books, my readers. And now I'm wondering what new idea kept you awake last night. . .

    For me, worry seems to rear up over the things I have the least control over. I guess it's that way for all of us. If we can control it, we just DO it. I worry most frequently about my books and not letting down my editor and publisher. But all I can do is my best. God has to take care of the rest. Now if I would just remember that at 2 am!

  • http://www.charismatickid.com Anthony

    That's funny, this post goes EXACTLY with this one:

    http://www.charismatickid.com/conversation/how-to

  • http://www.leadershipfreak.wordpress.com Dan Rockwell

    Michael,

    Totally creative post. It made me think about a sense of control or power. Do you think worry comes with helplessness and imagination comes with believing in possibilities?

    I'm thinking we can turn worry into imagination with higher levels of confidence in our Maker and in His ability to work in and through us.

    Thanks,

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell
    My recent post Don’t narrow the dream expand the team

  • Joe Serrano

    Michael, well said. I always felt the ability to expire my stress trough creative outlets of art, music and writing has had a calming effect on my life. Converting your worries into imaginative opportunities to problem solve is a worthy exercise.

  • http://www.suebrage.com Sue Brage

    Michael,
    Thank you for this timely post. Just what I needed today…Sue

  • Jeremy Batten

    Thank you so much for this! For me, reading this was a true gift.

  • http://www.flowingfaith.blogspot.com Mari-Anna Stalnacke

    We can either worry or pray. We need to choose to whom we are going to focus, ourselves or God. When we choose to pray (and live the matter to God) we are able to move on from the land of worry to the land of imagination and see how things start unfolding by the grace of God. :)
    My recent post Finding Joy in a Broken World

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    Very interesting. I think a strong component of the two coins is how someone perceives the world. A "half-glass-full" kind of person will tend to turn their creativity toward what good things are possible in their future. A "half-glass-empty" person will turn their creativity into thoughts of all the bad things that could happen, no matter how unlikely. I know some champion worriers. Imagine if we could change their outlook on life, and turn all of that creative energy into action instead of paralysis.
    My recent post Now “choice” is controversial?

  • http://www.momishome2.blogspot.com Bethany LeBedz

    How very enlightening! I am a huge worrywart, but never thought of myself as being creative or imaginative. It’s the turning the corner to see all of those possibilities that will take concerted effort on my part to channel my worries, which are too numerous to elaborate here. My fave quote is, “Worry is an unproductive use of imagination.” Thanks for sharing!

  • Pingback: Breaking Free From My Addiction to Worrying | Dear Karen()

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  • http://nikiturner.blogspot.com Niki Turner

    Well, if faith and fear are reciprocals, it only makes sense that creativity/imagination and worry would be as well. Faith without the ability to imagine, to dream, to believe in the unseen is not faith. And fear without worry loses its power to hinder us from moving forward despite feelings of fear and anxiety. Great post!

  • http://www.AFriendInTheStorm.com Cheryl

    Great question, Michael!

    Like a lot of women, I worry about saying the wrong thing and injuring my relationships. I'm nervous about being misunderstood, and consequently, rejected.

    Now that I'm getting my first book published, I have the media asking personal questions. My devotional gift book's for people who are disillusioned with God when they're going through a difficult time, so I worry about how much I should share about my childhood. I don't want to hurt my parents.

    I'm nervous that a lot of my non-writer friend who don't understand the promotion process might misjudge it, and I'm nervous my unpublished writer friends might be jealous. It's filled with literary rhyming poetry so I'm nervous that the literary crowd might think it's not literary enough and the traditional crowd might think it's too literary. LOL!

    I want to flip my worry around and welcome my adventure with "A Friend in the Storm" as an opportunity to die to self and care more about God's thoughts. I want to welcome His inner stretch of the soul so I can fearlessly embrace His blessings, and testify to His fear-lifting power.

    Thanks for your example and inspiration, Michael!

  • http://ashleyclarkwrites.blogspot.com Ashley Clark

    What is especially humorous about my reaction to this post is my somewhat neurotic reaction to the world around me while I was reading it.

    So, as I'm reading and fervently agreeing with your blog, suddenly a strange sound came from my front door, and my dog started barking her head off. It sounded kind of like a firework was going off outside my door, so of course, my natural reaction is to assume someone is trying to break into my house.

    Now that I have regained a normal breathing pattern and am no longer in danger of fainting from fright, I'd thought I say thanks for this blog. I appreciate a strategy to turn anxiety into productivity.

    • http://ashleyclarkwrites.blogspot.com Ashley Clark

      By the way, I apologize for the egregious tense errors in my earlier post. That was a nice illustration for the importance of proofreading. :)

  • deafmom

    So the motto of this post is… replace worry with imagination and release the possibilities in your future– I like that!

  • http://www.embracepositivepassion.com Georgiana

    What a wonderful way to contrast worry with imagination! The fearful things in life are unconquerable mountains that we internally build with anxiety, fret and worry. From now on, I’ll chop away at my huge roadblocks by incorporating my imagination on how to make them better with positive thoughts. I don’t even see my glass as being half-empty, not even half-full but overflowing! :-)

  • http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com April Hawkins

    Worry just takes the life out of you. Looking back, I see the joys I have missed all because I was worried too much. I just love the advice that Jones gave out. I was reading through some things in The Noticer last night that I had highlighted!
    Your post is a wonderful reminder of what is important and what we need to focus on.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter

    Really needed to hear this today. Thank you for sharing.

    Never thought about the similarities and polar opposites of worry & imagination before.

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  • Ron Smith

    Really good point. I am a world class worry wart. Help me Lord.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/RIESW77HFLBR7MCC4BUCCLZCMY Shawneda

    I have allowed worry and the physical stress it produces to impact me more than I knew until one day (in the last five months) God showed me how it has hurt me despite how my creativity has helped me. God bless you for posting this…I needed it…and now I’m excited about the opportunities this has made available to me.

  • http://www.jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    In a book I have been reading the author makes a similar point, but he is suggesting that we need to worry less about the items that don’t allow for good creativity and be concerned more with the things that can help us grow. Maybe change that 8% you speak of to 10-15% by giving others in our company the lesser things to worry about. In other words Improving our control over the things we put our creative energies in to.

  • http://twitter.com/schwendimann Blake Schwendimann

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

  • http://www.renaissancerules.wordpress.com Randy Bosch

    Sometimes the turmoil is due to “Anticipation” – perhaps a form of “Worry”, but of a more positive (less sinful?) variety? Can’t wait for it to happen, when will morning come!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Like Christmas Eve when you were a kid!

  • http://twitter.com/koozzz Jeff Kusner

    “anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” ~ Prov 12:25 (ESV)
    so i know this post is a bit dated but what was the creative brainstorm you had about marketing books? inquiring minds want to know!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I don’t remember. Sorry.

  • milonoah

    I used to be eaten up by worry until God graced me with a gentle revelation about learning how to let go and go with the flow of life, like floating on a stream down river (we had just acquired a kayak and found out how much we loved the water). Just this year I rediscovered a love of reading which I began doing to cope with the death of my mother. Reading quickly turned into writing and free now from most worry, I can go with the flow of my creativity. I feel weird telling people that this past year had been one of happiest since I lost my mom, but I feel sure she is free from suffering in the loving arms of God and is probably enjoying watching pursue reading with the same passion that she did.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamsOrganizing Elise Adams

    I love this post!!! I am glad that I am not the only one up all night thinking of great, new creative concepts. Even more importantly, I am encouraged to hear that you see the seeds of creativity inside what can start out as fearfulness. So often I hear this from my clients and fellow-recoverer’s…a paralyzing focus on what could or might happen to them. We have been gifted with a bit of God’s creative energy–what a difference we could all make in this world if we used it to imagine and create solutions instead of wasting it all on endless spiraling obsession with worry.

  • http://richardlittledale.wordpress.com/ R Littledale

    Yes yes – I totally agree. Often if I get up ridiculously early it is because I have an idea which simply has to be framed with words and can wait no longer. Glad to find a kindred spirit!

  • http://katieax.blogspot.com Katie Axelson

    I’m worry about post-graduation life… but I’m inspired by all of the exciting things God can and will do through it. Thanks for the reminder about the similarities yet difference between the two.

    Katie

  • http://suburbiauncovered.com/ Matt Powell

    As a pastor I find myself tempted to ‘worry’ about so much… everyday.  This is a really good action item for me.  My worries often turn into ideas for me as well but I’ve never realized it happened that way.  To be able to capture the temptation of ‘worry’ and curb the moment into a brainstorming session is genius.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Worry is a sign of high intelligence. ;-)

  • Dkriss

    I just asked my 7 year old son what imagination was. He said, “it’s like the dresser (in our bedroom) was a big piece of candy.” I asked how imagination made him feel …”happy, Pop!” Thanks for the post — I’m in the middle of a major worry and it certainly was timely.

  • Joe Bunting

    This is fascinating Michael. Great insight.

  • http://thingsithinkaboutwhenihavetimetothink.blogspot.com/ FennyPenny

    I’m a chronic insomniac. But for all the right reasons. At night, once all the kiddies are tucked into bed and husband is snoring softly beside me, suddenly there is SPACE for my mind to race free. And I love that space, it’s where all my epiphanies come from. Thanks for this article, it confirms to me that insomnia is a friend.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I’m not a worrier, but my wife would give you a good challenge for that gold medal. It’s hard to watch, because it overwhelms her and eats her from the inside out, but nothing I say helps.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Rob,
      Does the listening help? Usually what I say doesn’t help with my wife worry less either. However, my active listening and validating her feelings helps sometimes. Thanks for your comment, Rob!

  • Margie L

    Taking a worry and creatively turning it into an opportunity to make a message out of a mess!  Right?

    Now, I want to thank you for sharing such inspiring, uplifting material.  I’m starting, at 49 years of age, from ZERO to make a comeback from a lifetime of mediocrity and failure.  I know, that sounds a tad dramatic, but it is, none the less, true.  It’s a long way up, but your posts are part of what energize me to keep going.

    God bless, Mr Hyatt!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thank, Margie. I am glad you are finding my posts helpful.

  • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

    I have experienced this my self, my mind is running a mile a min with ideas thoughts and worries (two sides of a coin). I believe this is a part of the creative process. I have a post on how faith and fear have the same definition (even the same side of the coin), the difference being what they attract, the post is right here: http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/gotfear/

  • June Jewell

    This is a brilliant revelation that I never considered. I am a chronic worrier and also have a million creative ideas. Sometimes I just want to stop thinking! I will try and remember this next time I can’t sleep at 3:00 am and try to make the most of it by converting my fear to creative use. Thanks Michael! Your advice and book have been extremely valuable to me.

  • AbbasPrincess

    Great post, and very timely for me personally.
    I say this because I’ve just recently discovered a danger for those that are creative have an eye for details. The details can over crowd and push aside the creative, leaving it no other space to express itself but as pure worry.
    Love the encouragement and the reminder to re-channel all that imagination and creative energy towards dreaming and casting vision for yourself.
    Thanks for your post.

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    Thanks for reposting this. My husband found out yesterday that his job needs to cut his hours and his pay for the unforeseeable future.  We know it could be worse…many people have lost their job.  We are trying to see the possibilities in this new season and not dwell on the problem. 

  • Mikavexo

    Hey, let’s add to this by talking about self fulfilling prophecy in conjunction with worry.  When we worry, we tend to think of the things that can go wrong, which may actually cause them to go wrong.  When you find yourself worrying about something, visualize how you want it to go instead of what you are afraid of happening.  By visualizing the positive you can imagine the steps that need to be taken to make it happen the way you desire.

  • Heikki

    Thank you for this post. I’m just starting out my business and a couple of days ago I received an email from a possible client. The project would be big and at first I had almost a slight panic attack. “What if I don’t know how to do this? What if I don’t succeed and the client won’t get what he’s asking?”

    Then I remembered this post and I was able to shift my thinking. “I’ve never done anything like this but now I have a chance to do something new and interesting! I could do the thing X like this and the thing Y like that – and then I could…” I was thinking about all the possibilities this project could make possible and now I’m really looking forward to it.

  • Pingback: Motivation Monday: Two Sides of the Same Coin? | Little Kids Grow()

  • Lori Lara.com

    Great book…When I entered therapy for major depression 7 years ago, my counselor told me that worry (a main ingredient of depression) is simply negative imagination. A huge light-bulb went on when she said those words to me. She encouraged me to use my imagination for good and hopeful things, which has made all the difference in the world in my longstanding recovery.

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing this post. This is something that has become a reality in my life lately.
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman