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Breakthrough
"Productive insight; clear (often sudden) understanding of a complex situation."  Free Dictionary

Pop the bubble of conditioned thinking and emerge into the creative realm of "no absolutes," continuous change, uncertainty and unlimited possibilities.

Then, there can be innovation, adaptation and optimal performance.
Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness
Open-minded:questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  

Mindful: consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

Breakthrough
Newsletter
VOLUME VII ISSUE NO. 11 | NOVEMBER 2015 
Worry: Will it Help?
By George Pitagorsky


"Do your best. Then, don't worry, be happy" Meher Baba
 
In a recent NY Times article, worry was reported to be beneficial. Those who worried about an outcome tended to have a less stressful reaction when the worrisome outcome occurred and a greater positive response when things worked out well. Those who did not worry, tended to be devastated when their optimism was proven to be unfounded and just mildly satisfied when things worked out as expected.
 
On the other side of the issue is the attitude expressed by the Rudolf Abel character in "Bridge of Spies" who when asked "Aren't you worried?" in reference to being convicted and sentenced to death for being a Soviet spy, responds coolly "Would it help?". 
 
What is Worry? 
To worry is to experience anxiety, concern or unease; to allow your mind to dwell on difficulty or trouble. It is agitated concern about something done or not done or about some outcome that is either wanted or not wanted. Synonyms are to fear, fret, and obsess.  It is a preoccupation with something negative.

Worrying can be harmful to your health and well-being. It creates anxiety which saps energy, causes sickness and results in inaction and depression. Worry is also contagious. 

In Buddhist thought, worry is a hindrance to achieving a peaceful mind.  

Waking Up
When you are lost in worry, it is as if you are asleep.  When you recognize that you are worrying, you can transform the worrying into something that might help. It can be a signal to wake up.  
In meditation, waking up means coming back to the object of your meditation or to the objective awareness of what is happening in the moment. Seeing that you are worrying allows for a choice - you can either stop it, if you can, or continue. If you choose to continue, you can make worry work for your benefit.

Worry can wake you up to see the risks and uncertainties that lie ahead so you can have an opportunity to chart the most effective course to accomplishing your goals and objectives. In this way, worry is transformed into risk analysis. You can avoid or remediate potential dangers if you identify anything that might go wrong. Even if you are an optimist, become a realist, at least for a moment. It is useful to put on the hat of pessimism to identify anything that could go wrong. Thinking that nothing will go wrong does not necessarily insure that nothing will go wrong. With the worrisome events on the table, each can be assessed for the likelihood that it might happen and the severity of its impact if it does happen.  

Just thinking about the possible outcomes analytically diverts the worrying into planning. It helps to relieve the anxiety. If the likelihood is low and the impact is low, why worry? If the probability and or the impact is high enough to warrant further thought, then figure out how to avoid or reduce the impact and likelihood.  If you can do something, do it. If you can't do anything, why worry? "Will it help?" 

Acceptance and Non-Attachment
Confidence and adaptability make it possible to accept uncertainty and to know that you will be able to handle whatever comes up, including the worst case scenario, the one that worriers dwell on.  

That kind of confidence is greatly enhanced when your view includes the ideal of non-attachment and the recognition of impermanence. When worry arises, can you just say "So what?" "So what if I don't get what I want?" "So what if the world falls to pieces?"  This is acceptance. Acceptance is enabled by non-attachment and the recognition of impermanence. Remember, acceptance doesn't mean passivity and fatalism. Acceptance is a platform for positive action.  Non-attachment doesn't mean never wanting anything, it means being ok with not getting what you want.

Change Your Mind
Of course given the obsessive nature of worry, soon after you have diverted it, it may come back and take over your thinking again and again.
 
Worrying is a habit. Be persistent in applying the antidotes. Transform your worry through analysis of the things you can do based on the likelihood and impact of the risk you are worrying about. Cut through the worrisome thoughts by remembering impermanence and accepting things as they are. Change your negative images into positive images. Let go of negative thoughts as you recognize them for what they are; they have no real substance or power unless you give yourself over to them. Apply the RAIN approach: Recognize worrisome thoughts, Accept them, Investigate the feeling tones that they either bring forth or stem from and do Not identify with them. 
 
Applying the antidotes consistently and persistently will free you from the habit of worrying.  
 
"Don't worry. Be happy."

2015 George Pitagorsky                                                 Top
Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness

Open-minded: 

questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  
 
Mindful:
 consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

 Learn More
Managing Conflict in Projects
By George Pitagorsky
Managing Conflict in Projects: Applying Mindfulness and Analysis for Optimal Results by George Pitagorsky charts a course for identifying and dealing with conflict in a project context.

Pitagorsky states up front that conflict management is not a cookbook solution to disagreement-a set of prescribed actions to be applied in all situations. His overall approach seeks to balance two aspects of conflict management: analysis based on a codified process and people-centered behavioral skills.

The book differentiates conflict resolution and conflict management. Management goes beyond resolution to include relationship building that may serve to avoid conflict or facilitate resolution if it occurs.

 

Read More
The Zen Approach to Project Management 
By George Pitagorsky

Projects are often more complex and stressful than they need to be. Far too many of them fail to meet expectations. There are far too many conflicts. There are too few moments of joy and too much anxiety. But there is hope. It is possible to remove the unnecessary stress and complexity. This book is about how to do just that. It links the essential principles and techniques of managing projects to a "wisdom" approach for working with complex, people-based activities.

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