Have you noticed when you experience a serious trauma in your life, that the little things don’t matter anymore?
There is a famous law in business and life called Parkinson’s Law, it was written by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in an essay for the Economist in 1955. The law states that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’.
He first noticed the trend during his time working in the British Civil Service. He stated that as bureaucracies expanded, they became less efficient. He then postulated that this law can be applied to a variety of other circumstances in life, realising that as the size of a task increased, it’s efficiency dropped. You’ve seen this happen many times in your life, when given four weeks for a project, you do it in the last few days. When assigned a task and given all day, the morning is spent shuffling papers, making coffee and pretending to work…
My extension of this law is to do with worry.
I believe ‘worry expands to fill the headspace available’.
Humans are prone to worry. We’re prone to overthinking our life situation, and worrying about what’s going to happen next.
We’re so out of touch with the present moment, that worry can often consume our thoughts:
I wonder what they thought of me?
Did I say the right thing?
What will happen when…
I hope I don’t…
If we’re not careful, we can waste the precious minutes of our life replaying conversations with people, having fictitious arguments with people in our head, planning out how we’d cope with problems that haven’t happened yet, worrying about how we come across to other people and a whole myriad of other things.
We all know people who’s life situation is so devoid of problems that they start meddling in other people’s lives. They have so little to worry about that they start worrying about other people’s problems. They have so much headspace available and they have to fill it.
Then we actually experience something serious. An accident. A diagnosis. A terminal illness. Death.
What happens to all those little worries? They disappear as quickly as the wind changes.
Through trauma you get clarity of thought, you understand what’s important in life and that the little things don’t matter. You have no headspace for little things, as you’re busy getting your head around something massive. The day-to-day problems you experience mean nothing anymore, they are inconsequential and none of it matters. It’s an awakening.
Don’t wait until life throws something big at you. Stop worrying today.
As my old nana used to say ‘don’t worry trouble until trouble worries you’.