Worry, the Creativity Killer

Worry is an addiction. Without worry, we’d try out ideas and fail, get up and try some more. Till we succeed beyond our plans, beyond our dreams.

Worry gives us an excuse not to do anything. Instead of taking action, we substitute worry, which looks like consideration, but instead is just wrapping ourselves around our own axle.

worry1We worry about what will fail. We worry about who will not support us. And that takes up all our time. So we no longer have time to figure out how to make our idea work and how to overcome opposition. Nope, we splat! Sit down like a toddler taking the first steps and refusing to get up. When someone shows up to help, we wail and slap the outstretched hand. Because it might have germs and we don’t know where it’s been.

The best way to fight worry is to take action. Probably the action you are worrying about. Instead of  “what could go wrong next?” try out “what can I do next?”

Worry grinds you down. It makes you susceptible to powerful authority figures who look like protectors but will drain you of your ideas, your joy, and your strength. Worry makes you seek safety over anything else.

There is no guarantee of safety. Ever. Don’t trade in your creativity for safety. You won’t have enough of yourself left to survive. Worry is a warning sign. Don’t get sucked in.

—Quinn McDonald can be overwhelmed and head toward worry. She stays in action to outrun it.


17 thoughts on “Worry, the Creativity Killer

  1. You’re absolutely right, worry is indeed a thief. Worry robs us of creativity, peace of mind, rational thought, perspective, objectivity and our ability to creatively solve problems . . . it grows into full blown anxiety of not dealt with and fear. It sets the amygdala in to a frenzy and sets up the hypothalamus to activate a flight, fight or freeze response. Of course there are times when this is a perfectly valid response but most of our worries don’t involve imminent physical danger than goodness.

    When I find myself worrying I have two questions I ask myself:
    1. What’s the worst that could happen?
    2. Can I deal with the worst? Often the ‘worst’ is that I need to start something again, break it into smaller components to deal with or get some help.

    I hope I remember this next time around, before it robs me of my sleep.

    • I’ve found that writing down my worries before I go to sleep keeps me from waking up and “circling” my worries–going over and over them so I wont’ forget them. Writing them down is very useful that way. They are in one place, and I don’t have to remember them.

  2. Great commentary today, Quinn. I’ve been stuck in worry. I went through a period when it became my prison and I felt like I’d never get out. The most powerful thought for me is that worry “will drain you of your ideas, your joy, and your strength”.
    It’s obvious you have spent some time in that place too.
    Thanks for the reminder to live fully, in the moment, and allow ourselves to be happy.

    • I fell prey to “protectors” who “show me huge opportunities” if only I followed their advice. I’m not talking about cults or weird groups, just smart scammers who take advantage of fear. They walk away with your ideas and then turn around and blame you. All because I didn’t trust myself.

  3. This hit me like a ton of bricks. May I ask for a further reading list? Or, if not, can you please do the world a favor & make your next book about how to combat worry lol ? One of the most insightful & motivating viewpoints I have ever read. Thank you.

    • There are several great books (you can also consider audiobooks at your library) about worry: Pema Chodron’s The Places that Scare You and When Things Fall Apart are excellent books. So is Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star, Steering By Starlight and The Joy Diet. Brene Brown’s I Thought it Was Just Me and John Fox’s Poetic Medicine are also good reading.

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