Follow these four steps to help manage or remove most worries:
- Write down precisely what you’re worried about
- Write down what you can do about it
- Decide what to do
- Immediately act to carry out that decision
For the first step, we can’t solve a problem intelligently without all the facts. Confusion is a chief cause of worry and more knowledge resolves this. Get the facts in an impartial, objective way. So writing down your worry and all the related facts around them are key.
Find these even if they don’t fit your biases or they conflict with your emotions. Pretend you’re collecting the facts for someone else, or are a lawyer arguing the other side.
Once you have the facts, analyze, and interpret them. Writing them down clearly helps you see the different courses of action you can take, and there may be several. This is fine, as long as you decide on one in the end. Keep in mind the potential consequences and risks of each decision.
Arriving at a decision lets you act on it, and acting on it cuts minds off from nervous spirals. It gives your mind a fixed purpose and removes most feelings of anxiety as a result. Having gathered all the facts and looked at them right, there should be no need to second-guess yourself.
An Alternate Approach
Specifically for business problems, the book recommends these four questions.
- What is the problem?
- What is the cause of the problem?
- What are the problem’s possible solutions?
- What solution do you suggest?
This progression is recommended for those facing a work issue before they bring it up to someone else since it can lead them to a solution on their own. It saves time on debating them, especially through meetings. But it will still require similar steps as above, such as finding the relevant facts and sticking to your decision.