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Here’s another very common situation: You asked someone out on a date or they asked you out on a date. Or perhaps, you already went on that date. Now, you’re sitting around, thinking about that person. Yet, you’re afraid to call for fear of sounding desperate. You think to yourself, “Well, I should at least wait a couple of days, but I don’t want to miss a call or email from this person”. So what do you do? You carry the phone around, or constantly glance at your email throughout the day.
When you go to work, every time there’s a break, you check your email and messages. When you get home, you wonder why he/she hasn’t called. You take a shower, and when you get out, there’s a message on your phone. Unfortunately, it’s from your mother asking you why you haven’t called her in a while. Maybe this goes on for several days. You’re starting to lose concentration at work thinking about him/her. Then, one of two things happen.
In the first situation, you get a call or email from that person, and eagerly respond to him or her. Now, the cycle repeats again. Once again, you’ll start wondering about the next time you’ll be in contact with him/her.
In the second situation, you do not get a call or email from the person you’re thinking about. Either you decide to break if off with him/her, or call that person. If you break it off, then the situation is resolved. If you call him/her, you’ll start wondering about the situation again.
Aside from all that thinking making you jittery and nervous, it’s wasting a ton of your time. Whether you think about it or not, either the first situation or the second situation is going to happen. No amount of thinking would change that. So why think about it? Not only does thinking about it put you in a probably negative emotional state, it wastes precious time that you could’ve used to think about something else. It’s something you have absolutely no control over, so why waste time on it? If you spent 2 hours a day, 3 days a week thinking about it, detracting from the other things you do, that’s 24 hours of wasted time per month, a value of $720 at a salary of $30/hr.
Personally, I’d rather have that $720 instead of the anxiety from waiting for someone to get in contact with me.
Remember, focus on what you have control over. Ignore the things that don’t.
You can also read about the application of this principle in investing: Stop Checking That Stock
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