Emotions are given to us for our benefit. In fact, everything in this world is for our benefit. It is the use or misuse of worldly objects that brings about positive or negative results.
Emotions like fear and anxiety are meant to help us. We must fear certain things – like the misuse of weapons, and adharma or wrong action. Without fear we could act irresponsibly and end up hurting ourselves. This is the positive aspect of fear. But when fear becomes excessive or prolonged, or when we fear the wrong things, it can be harmful.
Emotions are positive as long as they are for the right reasons. Felt to an excessive degree, for the wrong reasons, they become negative. Excessive brooding over the future or regret for the past gives rise to worry or anxiety.
Worry starts with the letter ‘W’. We always think of the “worst”. When we are conducting our business, we worry: “What if I can’t make money? What if there is a loss?” We never ask: “What if I make a profit?” Worry arises from negative thoughts.
Yet, from experience, we know that when we believed the worst would happen, often something good happened. Whenever worries or negative tendencies arise, think about the wonderful things that might happen.
‘O’ stands for optimism, and this means refusing to become obsessed with the results of your actions. Think positively about the result, don’t be obsessed with it.
Sometimes we get more benefits than we expect from our actions, and at other times, we do not get what we expect. But if we are obsessed with a particular result, we usually start thinking negatively – that is, we fear the worst.
We come to believe that the only good result is the one we imagine we want. This makes us pessimistic rather than optimistic.
We cannot predict the future, we can only plan and work towards it to the best of our ability. So, do not become obsessed about achieving a particular result. Who knows – the outcome may far exceed your expectations.