Another essay by Earl Nightingale from the How to Completely Change Your Life Series
The Fog of Worry (Only 8% of Worries are Worth It)
According to the Bureau of Standards, “A dense fog covering seven city blocks, to a depth of 100 feet, is composed of something less than one glass of water.” So, if all the fog covering seven city blocks, 100 feet deep, were collected and held in a single drinking glass, it would not even fill it. And this could be compared to our worries. If we can see into the future and if we could see our problems in their true light, they wouldn't tend to blind us to the world, to living itself, but instead could be relegated to their true size and place. And if all the things most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably put them all into a drinking glass, too.
It's a well-established fact that as we get older, we worry less. With the passing of the years and the problems each of them yields, we learn that most of our worries are not really worth bothering ourselves about too much and that we can manage to solve the important ones.
But to younger people, they often find their lives obscured by the fog of worry. Yet, here's an authoritative estimate of what most people worry about.
Things that never happen: 40 percent. That is, 40 percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway.
Things over and past that can't be changed by all the worry in the world: 30 percent.
Needless worries about our health: 12 percent.
Petty, miscellaneous worries: 10 percent.
Real, legitimate worries: 8 percent. Only 8 percent of your worries are worth concerning yourself about. Ninety-two percent are pure fog with no substance at all.
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