Worrying About the Future: On Trusting in Uncertainty

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” ~Eckhart Tolle

The other day my good friend from back home called me hysterically crying. She felt certain she just blew a second job interview, and she’d hit a breaking point.

She’d been struggling for months, just barely paying her bills and wondering if she could afford to keep her apartment.

Every purchase had become an exercise in extreme deliberation. In fact, I’m fairly certain that when I visited last, I saw her stressing in the grocery store about whether she really needed that box of Twinkies that beckoned from the shelf.

Now here she was, hyperventilating, recounting in explicit detail all the things she’d done wrong in this interview.

The interviewer looked disgusted, she said—he was probably thinking she was incompetent. He asked her questions in an abrupt way—he was trying to trip her up. He didn’t respond when she made conversation on the way to the door—he most likely hated her and couldn’t wait to get rid of her.

Having gone through countless interviews with multiple companies, after sending out dozens of resumes, she was just plain exhausted and starting to feel desperate.

As she recalled the anxiety she felt in this encounter, I visualized her sitting vulnerably in front of his desk, and my heart went out to her. I imagined she felt a lot like Tom Smykowski from Office Space when he was interviewing with the efficiency experts to save his job—before he invented the Jump-to-Conclusions mat.

“I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people!?”

Twenty minutes out of the pressure cooker, she was drowning in fears about what it would mean to not get an offer. She may have to move back in with her parents. She’d need to ask her also unemployed boyfriend for financial help. She’d have to develop a taste for spam, ramen noodles, or maybe even cat food.

Worst of all, when she inevitably failed, she’d have to acknowledge it was all her fault for blowing this interview.

About ten minutes in, I realized that comforting her was not an option.

She didn’t believe me when I told her she’d done her best and she shouldn’t be hard on herself. She felt sure there was no other way to look at the situation; the interviewer was sitting in his office stroking his handlebar mustache and laughing maniacally about the inept woman he had no intention of hiring.

She was talking herself in circles, alternating between statements of certainty—that all had been lost—and asking me what I thought might happen, as if perhaps there was still hope if only an outsider would verify it often enough.

But whenever I suggested that it’s never over until it’s over, she plummeted back into prophetic despair, convinced her inadequacy only allowed for one disappointing outcome.

Just then, between tears and speculative conclusions, call waiting beeped in. She got the job.

I could feel her immense relief. From 3,000 miles away, I felt her heart rate slow down, her erratic thinking simmer, and her narrow vision of doom expand into a blend of shock, euphoria, and excited anticipation.

As I thought about how unnecessary all of the worrying had been—and how I wished she didn’t put herself through that—I realized I’d been in her shoes before. There have been many times when I’ve felt overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness and desperate to feel some type of control.

There have been times when I’ve asked people for their opinions and then felt unsatisfied until I heard exactly what I wanted to hear. When I’ve made assumptions about negative things to come and then obsessed over what I could do to prevent it, or what I should have done to avoid it.

In retrospect, all that mental busy work did very little to change what was coming.

It wasn’t even slightly useful or productive, and it definitely didn’t soften the blow if my fears came true and something went wrong or didn’t pan out.

In fact, it only exacerbated the situation, because worrying essentially began the disappointment retroactively.

If you worry and nothing’s wrong, you’ve wasted precious time over nothing. If you worry and something is wrong, you’ve still wasted precious time.

Every time we use the present to stress about the future, we’re choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have tomorrow.

It may seem like we’re creating solutions or somehow protecting ourselves from pain, but in all reality, we’re just causing ourselves more of it.

Perhaps the key is to challenge that instinctive sense of fear we feel when we start thinking about uncertainty. When I look back at the most fulfilling parts of my life, I realize most of them took me completely by surprise.

I may not have gotten everything I wanted, but I’ve wanted what I’ve gotten more than often enough to compensate. The unknown may have provided some heartache, but it’s also provided adventure and excitement.

For every time I’ve felt disappointed, there’s been another moment when I’ve felt a sense of wonder. Those are the moments we live for—when all of a sudden we see the world through new eyes in a way we could never have known to predict.

Uncertainty is the cost of that deeply satisfying, exhilarating, spontaneous sense of awe.

It would be easy to say that mindfulness is the answer to worrying. If you’re truly immersed in the present moment, there wouldn’t be any reason to fixate on what might be coming. But I suspect it’s inevitable we’ll do that from time to time. We’re only human, after all.

Maybe a better suggestion is a combination of being in the moment and trusting in the one to follow.

We can’t always control what it will look like, but we can know that more often than not, it will lead to something good if we’re open to it. When it doesn’t, we’ll get through it—and faster if we haven’t already overwhelmed ourselves with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.

On the other side of worry, there’s trust. We can’t always trust in specifics, but we can trust in ourselves.

Photo by theflickerees

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Kim

    Thank you for this post! Really needed to read it. These bits I could particularly relate to:

    “There have been times when I’ve asked people for their opinions and then felt unsatisfied until I heard exactly what I wanted to hear. When I’ve made assumptions about negative things to come, and then obsessed over what I could do to prevent it, or what I should have done to avoid it.
    In retrospect, all that mental busy work did very little to change what was coming.”

    “In fact, it only exacerbated the situation because worrying essentially began the disappointment retroactively.”

    “It may seem like we’re creating solutions or somehow protecting ourselves from pain, but in all reality, we’re just causing ourselves more of it.”

    It is so true that all that worrying really does nothing to help. I have learned this over the past 2 years, being in a relationship. From the start of the relationship, I was CONSTANTLY worrying about our ‘inevitable’ breakup…I’d play out all these scenarios in my head about how I’d react, how I’d cope with it if we were to breakup etc….before we had even been going out for a few months!!! You could say I was PLAGUED with these thoughts. I would also constantly think about his ex girlfriend (she is a car promo model….I could not look anymore different than her – I used to compare myself ALL the time and feel awful).

    I never fully communicated these thoughts to my boyfriend, but sure enough, my thoughts/worries turned into actions and I was always causing arguments, blaming my boyfriend for my unhappiness, expecting him to do more etc……he got tired, BUT he always stuck with me because he says he loves me. I don’t know how he put up with me.

    You are SO right when you say that we think we are protecting ourselves from pain, but really we are causing ourselves more of it. I was already mildly depressed when I entered the relationship and I guess after the initial ‘butterflies’ at the beginning of the relationship settled down, I blamed my boyfriend for my unhappiness. I’m not even kidding, I came across Tiny Buddha one morning last year and read one of the quotes….and it just LIFTED my mood…..I began going through all the old posts and I thought….wow…..the choice of happiness is MINE…I need to stop blaming others (i.e. my boyfriend)…..good thoughts = good actions = good life……etc etc etc….and it wasn’t a conscious thing, but I found myself waking up, reading TinyBuddha first thing in the morning….and just keeping that positivity with me……turning to these articles for ‘advice’…..and our relationship is better than ever, 3 years on. I have stopped giving, giving, giving in hopes of gaining approval & love (I am a very giving person by nature, but then eventually I feel a little ‘run down’ and wonder why people don’t give to me)…….I have learned from TinyBuddha that it’s just as important to receive too!!!! That has had a tremendous effect on our relationship!! My boyfriend says he’s not sure what happened, but he’s noticed such a huge difference in my attitude….he says I actually look happy, I smile during the day (whereas before I literally was like a depressed zombie, only communicating if it was to snap at him)….I don’t sleep all day (because of mild depression) he says I’m so sweet and affectionate (I’d never really be up for cuddling or kissing before)…..that I am still as giving and that I am a joy to be around…….he says I am the way I was when he fell for me…….and now because I feel happier, I feel his love more…I really know that he loves me, I feel it SO much, I can’t explain it…….it’s like now my heart is open to receiving it, even though it was there all long………..

  • Celine

    This the complete scenario of my pastyear and what I have learned from it. Thank you for explaining it so precisely and clearly!

    I am alive today!

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful post Lori! I find a lot of people who worry about the past or future, which doesn’t even exist. You got it absolutely right, to enjoy the current joys, and deal with the future when it’s now! Happy Monday!


  • Anonymous

    Great post. I’ve been dealing with this kind of stuff lately. It is tough sometimes because we’re human, but you just have to not let it be overwhelming at the very least.

  • Jennifer

    Great post, and like so often is what I needed to hear right now. I’m sitting here mulling over what groceries I can buy with $20, which is all I have. Then I read this post and it brought me back to a very uncomfortable month I had a few years back where I was both jobless and homeless. At the time, I was very depressed about the situation. Now I’m thinking: “At least I have $20 for groceries!”

    Thanks for reminding me!

  • m.

    Fantastic post – really needed it today. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Jill


  • Anonymous

    Excellent post. Definitely something I try to remember to manage well in day to day life. I’m getting better at it, but it’s tough changing old habits.

  • I read a quote from a newsletter from Lama Marut a while back…though I can’t recall who actually said it…it said “If you can do something about it, why worry? If you can’t do something about it, why worry?” This is now my motto and I stop worrying. 🙂

  • Rachel Woods

    When it comes to worrying I always remember a saying I once heard: “When the dust settles and everything works out (like it always does!), you never ever say to yourself, I should worried more about that!” Great post 🙂

  • Tony Applebaum

    Wonderful post Lori. So spoke to me. There is a wonderful book by Susan Jeffers called “Embracing Uncertainty”. She goes into depth on this subject and offers many helpful exercises.

    Namaste – Tony

  • Robinkilburn

    Wonderful post, and very timely, it seems right now I am in that struggle with the what if’s, and should be’s. It is so great to be able to sit back and just take a big breath and relax at least for a while.
    thank you Lori, you are a great blessing in my life

  • Kristie

    A fantastic post that fits in beautifully with my current place in life – 30, engaged, living with in-laws and starting down an entirely new career path. I’m constantly worried about the future and how I can make everything turn out the way I want it to. Learning to just let go and live in the now is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done…

  • I’ve found that embracing the fear / uncertainty (letting go of those thoughts) is an exercise in itself. Just like getting onto a treadmill or an elliptical (or lifting weights), it can feel so daunting & difficult at first, but in no time, you’re strutting with confidence and strength.

    Wonderful article. I wish everyone could read it!

  • Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for commenting I know that feeling well! When my boyfriend and I first moved in, he made us spam and rice for the first night and let me know his father bought us a massive supply at Costco. Though we might not have the means to eat out a ton, I’m glad we are now able to make meals with ingredients I can identify!

    Have a wonderful evening =)

  • So well put, Thanks for adding this!

  • I know what you mean Kristie. Before I moved in with my boyfriend in the fall, we stayed with his parents for a while. At times, I felt a lot of anxiety about when we’d move in and where we’d move (we ended up moving 5 hours away). Learning to let go has been one of my biggest challenges, too, but the good thing is that we get a new chance with every moment that passes. =)

  • You’re most welcome. Thanks for being part of Tiny Buddha!

  • Thanks James! I think you’re right. So long as we can take a deep breath and remember things will be OK one way or another, we’re in good shape to handle whatever comes our way.

  • You are most welcome!

  • Thank you!

  • I know what you mean. I think thought habits are the hardest to change because sometimes they occur so quickly. As long as we’re aware and we keep working at it, I suspect we’re in good shape. =)

  • That’s such a great observation. Thank you for posting it!

  • Wow thank you. Your comment put a huge smile on face. =)

  • 10slvrhwk

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has wasted time worrying!
    But, really, worrying is useless. Living in the moment, as you pointed out, is the key to ridding myself of the “worry wart” syndrome.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • realdemigod

    Lori, it’s easier said than to practise. It takes a lot of courage to live in the present moment while you have liabilities and a frustrating life to deal with. You know worrying will not help you in anyway possible but it isn’t easy to stop worrying and live like everything is normal.

  • thecuttingedge

    When I was ten years old I got the opportunity to be homeless with my family . I call it an opportunity because that situation shaped my entire out look on life. Worry was useless my mother said , our job was to look for opportunities to be grateful and kind, When you are ten and don’t know where your next meal is coming from you recieve the gift of selfsuffiency, confidence, determination and persistance. These gifts have served me all my life.Iwould gladly trade a few meals and short term homelessness for these precious gifts.

  • Beth

    When I was 18 and just starting in the work force (I am now 55) and I read a quote in our company’s newpaper that I cut out and still have in my wallet. It has proven very true over and over through my life. The quote is from Mark Twain…. ” I am an old man and have known a great many troubles…. but most of them never happened.” Just think about those words.

  • Jennifer

    Haha I love that quote! It’s so true.

  • Hi Kim,

    I’m so glad all the posts on Tiny Buddha have helped you experience more happiness! I’ve been in a lot of those same places with worrying and relationships. Both writing and reading other people’s posts here helps me remember to apply what I have learned.

    Thanks for being part of Tiny Buddha and also for sharing a little of yourself. It’s a pleasure to make your e-acquaintance. =)


  • Thanks Mike! And now Happy Tuesday to you. =)

  • And what a wonderful outlook it shaped! I can only imagine what it was like to feel that sense of uncertainty as a child. It’s inspiring that you developed such a positive attitude through the experience. Thanks for sharing here. =)

  • I hear you–I really do. It isn’t easy to challenge worrying, but I think it’s worth learning, even if it just means incremental improvements over time. When you think about all the illnesses connected with worrying and how it can essentially cut years off your life, it really puts things in perspective. At least for me anyway.

    One other thing I thought reading your comment: what is normal? Sometimes I’m fairly certain the “norm” IS lots of frustrating things to deal with. Life is chaos!

  • Hi Amory,

    I know what you mean, especially when you consider that sometimes we feel the same resistance to letting go of worrying as we do getting to the gym! I do feel it gets easier with practice, just like anything else. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  • Definitely, I think it’s a life long commitment!

  • Great post Lori, I love how you take a complex subject and break it down in such a simple manner. I agree with you, we tend to create pain that is unnecessary in our lives.

  • Thanks Eder. I really felt like I was in the experience with my friend, and I felt compelled to share it here. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Colleen

    Thank you, Lori! This post reminded me of something my ex-husband used to say to me that has stuck with me: “Don’t worry about it until it happens.”

    It — whatever “it” was — usually never happened. 🙂 I love Tiny Buddha! Thanks so much for starting this site.

  • Pingback: The Optimistic Realist | Connections()

  • Thank you for reading! Running this site is my greatest passion in life, and I really enjoy connecting in the comments. =)

  • Searcher

    I just love it beacuse somehow i read this article in the exactly moment i need it.

  • Pingback: 7 Crucial Steps to Minimize Drama in Your Life | Tiny Buddha()

  • Excellent post Lori! 🙂 I’m happy for your friend; That she did get the job, but I’m still *somewhat* amazed of the energy – and time, wasted, in total.

    And with “negative energy” in mind…

    A summer a few years back when I drove back up-north, to Northern Norway, and passing through Sweden on my way “upwards”, there was a female radio announcer that had a very long, heartfelt, uppermost and quite interesting program about her own life, all the rough, tough and downright hard and Life-borderlining-experiences that she had had over the years, from earliest youth years – and uptil “present day”.

    In short: ALL about her IRL experiences, negative and positive (and most surprisingly enough; all family relatives where named with their full name!). Most importantly: How it ALL had affected and “shaped” her, to become a better human (female) being – in a positive but mostly – mentally way.

    And so – she ended the program with her own “saying” – that has been stuck on my mind since:

    “Worries you have ~ today,
    are interest you borrow from ~

    Now – back to your friend…

    Your friend clearly went into the interview with a completely and totally wrong “focus”;
    She was spinal-cord-deep focused on what other might (come to) think about her (later), her previous practice, skills, appearance, clothing and what-ever-else-not-mentioned…

    Whilst she should have been solely and completely focusing on her own thoughts, appearance and the answers she gave to the questions she was asked. And nothing else – what-so-ever!
    And she should have left it with that! ~ and not “transferred” her own worries, negative thoughts and energy over to you…

    I do understand her though, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been there and experienced the “nerve-wrecking-and-breath-taking-awaiting-suspense” after an interview a few times myself. But I haven’t “passed on” my worries and negative energy onto others… Because, I know that I’ve done my best at the interview.

    I cannot, sorry! … >> We << cannot control what other comprehend / apprehend / perceive and/or conclude with, about us. It will always be "out of our control"!

    More than 10 years of a Life on the border-line of existence has given me a Life-lesson "saying":

    "Yesterday's gone, and is already history.
    Tomorrow will arrive here soon enough.
    Live Life – TODAY!"

  • Pingback: 2/18/11 Tiny Wisdom: On Moving | Tiny Buddha()

  • Nancy

    Thank you for this!

    After months of unemployment, and yet another failed attempt to woo a hiring manager into inviting me to an in-person interview rather than a five minute phone interview, I felt myself heading in the same direction as your friend.

    Your words & all the reader comments inspired me to get back into the driver’s seat and submit my resume to two other companies. Here’s hoping for the best!

    I’ll admit, it’s tough to always be optimistic. I’m glad I discovered your website…it’s certainly helped reign me back in especially during such a trying time in my life.

  • Hi Nancy,

    That’s fantastic! I know what you mean about being optimistic. I don’t think it’s possible to always feel that way, but I think it’s possible to regularly shift our focus to things we can control. Best of luck with your upcoming applications/interviews!


  • Pingback: 10 Steps to Simplify Your Work Life | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: Overcome the Fear of Success: 6 Ways to Start Thriving | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Sally

    Kim, you post was VERY helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jan

    Wow…did I ever need to read (and re-read) this! What a fabulous article, Lori. Thank you!

    I had just finished crying my own eyes out and feeling completely hopeless and overwhelmed with my life. I’m out of a job, my boyfriend is helping me with my rent, I have two parents with cancer…the list goes on. And I have a long history of depression and anxiety, so I’m naturally a worrier and dooms-day-er. I’ve begun reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” however, and it has been amazingly helpful in realizing how dysfunctional our mind can be. I realize now that I live almost ALL of my life either worrying about the past or the present! So working with living “in the now” is new to me…but I’m trying.

    I feel some source (to me that would be God) led me to your site, Lori. I have found COUNTLESS helpful articles on this site over the last two weeks. Sometimes in depths of despair, Little Buddha’s words have pulled me through. What a gift you have given us readers!

    Also, I’d like to add how touched I was by your incredibly empathetic writing in relating the story about your friend. You totally understood her anguish and worry and pain. You obviously have been there. But you also used it as a teaching moment for all of us…and I thank you and your friend for that. It’s JUST what I needed today!

    I still don’t know where to go from here. But it helps to know others are struggling along with me in this economy and thing we call “life.” But for today, I will probably read this post over a few more times (I need it!) and my focus will be on this one line you wrote so simply:

    “Perhaps the key is to challenge that instinctive sense of fear we feel when we start thinking about uncertainty.”

    Yes, that is where I will begin. Challenge the fear. Trust in a higher power. Believe in ourselves.

    Thank you, Lori. Thank you.

    Jan Stoeckert
    Santa Clara, CA

  • Hi Jan,

    It sounds like you’re doing amazingly well considering all the difficulty in your world right now. I’m so glad you found your way to Tiny Buddha and that the posts here have been helpful to you. I could absolutely relate to my friend–I have been there many times before. I don’t know if I will ever feel completely trusting in the face of uncertainty, but I know I get better at as time goes on. It’s not about perfection–it’s about progress. And if we can all lean on and support each other, we’ll definitely make progress together!

    Love and light,

  • Pingback: 3 Things that Limit Your Potential and How to overcome them | PeakAchiever.Info()

  • Pingback: Leaving a Secure Job When the Risk Feels Scary | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Guncha

    Absolutely inspiring and reflective of how I feel about life in this current moment. I have found trusting myself hard as being let down by others, made me lose trust in me too. But all experiences aside, have brought me closer to appreciating what is said above, uncertainity is a price for deeply satisfying, exhilarating, spontaneous sense of awe. Thank you.

  • You’re most welcome. I think instinctively I’ve questioned my trust in myself when things went wrong–as if I should have known better and prevented it. But I’ve realized that trusting myself doesn’t mean trusting that I can control the future. It means trusting that I can handle whatever comes at me, even if it doesn’t work out as I planned.

  • Anmare

    Hi Lori, I just used a quote from this piece as my facebook status update. I so wish I could practice just that every day and get my husband to do to the same.
    “Every time we use the present to stress about the future, we’re
    choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have tomorrow.”Strangely, I turn to black and white when in difficult times. I become my voice of reason and make sense of steps I need to take forward. Someone called my way of reasoning “a simple way of reasoning”. This person didn’t like my way and labelled it with a condescending tone of voice, but it works for me. I make sense of my life, decisions I have to take to survive in the immediate future and it is my survival tool in many a difficult and trying times.I search for quotes on uncertainty about the future and happened on your site, I’ve now liked your page on facebook and hope to find strength and guidance.thank you …

  • Hi Anmare,

    I’m glad this post was helpful to you! I think we all deal with uncertainty in different ways. If your approach helps you thrive and find peace when embracing the unknown, that’s a beautiful thing.


  • Pingback: Balanced Living: How to Stay on Track | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • A few years ago when I was worrying (for the umpteenth time) about a negative event that might happen I promised myself one thing. If it doesn’t happen this time then I will stop worrying about silly things in the future. I didn’t want to look back on my life and say what Beth’s quote about Mark Twain said.

    That doesn’t mean that I haven’t worried at some points in my life, but that thought always comes into my head. I’m always aware of what a waste of my time worry really is.

  • I should probably say that the negative event DID NOT happen lol.

  • The Eckhart Tolle quote really rings true–worry doesn’t accomplish anything. (Though I must admit, I still worry from time to time. I’m a work in progress!) I’m glad to hear the negative event didn’t happen. =)

  • Pingback: How to Make a Difficult Decision: 30 Ideas to Help You Choose | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: The Power of Change: How Leaving Home Can Bring You Home | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: 5 Simple Actions for Pure Peace and Contentment | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: How to Meditate at Any Time without Meditating | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Xperiencewellness

    Thanks, I needed to read this 🙂  It reminded me of something the Dalai Lama said: “If
    you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether
    there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to
    worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

  • Pingback: What Dogs Teach Us about Peace, Joy, and Living in the Now | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: 3 Things Tweens Teach Us about Living and Enjoying Life | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Sara

    I love this post Lori. I just got offered a competitive 7 year contract for a training post in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in London. This is what I wanted all along. When applying I was stressing like a mad woman, constantly in tears thinking I wouldn’t make it. And now the sense of joy I should be feeling has been compounded by further worries about which area to live in, buying a house, good schools for the children( I don’t even have any yet), financial worries. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m starting to realise that I have programmed myself to be a constant “worrier”. I also recognise that I have to stop now or I’ll be missing out on the most amazing moments of my life. Much love,


  • I’m glad this helped Sara! Worrying was my default for most of my life, and I still need to work at that at times. You’re right–it can be a vicious cycle. At some point we just need to let go and choose to be right where we are!

    Congrats on the training post. =)

  • Pingback: Giveaway and Review: the 2-Year Anniversary of! | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Sam7775

    As soon as u read it,u get rid of each and every  tension u have about the future..Heartly thankful for such a motivating and great post….

  • You’re most welcome Sam!

  • Thanks so much Sue. I’m glad you enjoy them!

  • TripleJ&k

    Wow! What a fantastic inspirational post. You made me smile as I read and I felt an incredible sense of calmness and understanding. Thank you.

  • Thanks so much, and you’re most welcome! =)

  • yeah or you could start your own company? Why do people always sit around waiting to be hired?

  • I was sitting here in a full on panic attack. Tingly fingers, rapid breathing, heart pounding so hard you could almost see my shirt moving. I read this 3 times. Each time a little more slowly and carefully. It was so well written. I just wanted to say thanks. Giving someone hope and peace is a HUGE deal, so thank you.

  • You’re most welcome Leah. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

  • Wild

    I’m 12 year old girl and I’m getting hurt everyday and I’m vary scared what may happen like my head always hurts I get random pain and I’m just scared plase help me!

  • Hi there~ I just say your email, so I am going to respond there!

  • Justin Green

    I think the message, really, is to lay off the SPAM and twinkies, what the hell are Buddhists eating SPAM for anyway?

  • Ferb Huynh

    Omg I’m so worrying about what I should do when I’m grown up ):

  • DanH

    Sorry, but…the call beeping in informing her that she got the job was too easy. Lots of people in the same position AREN’T finding work. And so they’re offing themselves in record numbers.

  • It may seem easy, but this is how it happened in this particular case. I know that a lot of people get discouraged by the prospect of never getting that call; I’ve certainly been there. I hope my post inspires some of them to consider that things can improve down the line, no matter how bleak they seem now.

  • Patricia

    I am 45 and feeling totally confused and disillusioned with my life. I have completed certs & diplomas which I feel haven’t given me blessings for work, but feel I have missed out on completing a degree at all. I am suffering from midlife crisis and career paralysis, I can not seem to decide which studies to take that are going to change my life for the better. The longer I leave this the longer I seem to loose track of myself and whom I am. Can you help me please.

  • Hi Patricia~ I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. I don’t know if this will seem even more discouraging, but I’ve found that the best thing to do when I don’t know what to do is take action and then let my instincts be my guide.

    If you’re not sure which studies will change your life for the better, then the best you can do is try something you think might be right and then see how you feel. I know that can be frustrating, especially if you tell yourself you “should” know by now, but in my experience, the best way to find ourselves is to give ourselves permission and time to explore.

    I hope this helps a little. You are in my thoughts!


  • fdgdfgdfgdf

    what utterly useless advice

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Hi Lori,
    Thank you so much for replying.

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Hi Lori,
    I know the world is suffering greatly right now due to economic uncertainty and unemployment crisis (even happening in Australia as we chat now on line). It’s the little people like myself, that feel left behind because they haven’t got a degree and I guess didn’t plan for their future well in advance should an economic crisis strike. Actually I have been feeling this uncertainty for years as a matter of fact, probably more so due to the fact that I don’t have a defined career or a secure career and without a degree. I know I may sound self centred amongst others that are seriously crying for help, and it is really nice to hear to follow your HEART not your head. Amongst the chaos and calamity that the world is experiencing at the moment, how does one find their vocation / purpose? Especially if it a calling that is no conventional/vocational to mainstream society? eg. Counselling/Art Therapy or Naturopathy/Nutrition/Beauty Therapy. How does one justify to make a living out of such a career path, when many are suffering financial hardships?

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    The scary part also is that our Australian education system keeps increasing yearly the student fees. So far our Australian government allows for HECS debt system, where you borrow funds for your degree. I have read that our current government may even consider removing this allowance and let the banks take over the student loans (it may be a similar arrangement like America) which will allow only the affluent people in society to have the privilege of an education. We are doomed as an Australian society if this proposal was to go ahead. Many middleclass citizens (like myself) are opting for a education to improve their quality of life and expand their choices.

  • Hi Patricia,

    You don’t sound self-centered. I know lots of people who are struggling with the same thing–and understandably so. It’s a natural human instinct to crave purpose and a clearcut sense of direction. As for how to find your purpose, perhaps one of these posts will help:

    You may also want to share your story in the Tiny Buddha forums to connect with others who can relate.

    It’s free to join here:

    Then you can access the forums here:

    I hope this helps!


  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Hi Lori,
    A few people have told me, as I also agree, that I have a massive block that is interfering with my HEART and HEAD. My heart and head are constantly in conflict with each other. Over the years I have tried all sorts of help from psychologists, spiritual counsellors, social worker (counsellor), hypnotherapist, reiki, clairvoyance still nothing has really resonated. Keep reading many self help books and nothing really gels. I know my issue are from many fears and scared of letting go, from a spiritual & psychological sense. I am trying to find that “light bulb” or “ahh” moment. I am exhausted with trying so hard but at the same time there is an urgency to change my life, which has been on the cards for many many years.

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Scared in surrendering when the whole world feels like they are living in uncertain times and suffering from uncertainty of how they should live. Was even considering having Post Life Regression therapy if I have some “karmic” issue that I have carried with me in this lifetime. Hypnotherapy I couldn’t let myself go, so I don’t know how Post Life Regression therapy would be successful. I have become very cynical, sceptical and negative to trying different avenues. Can you shed some light please Lori?

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Just today a career adviser suggested I should read “Shift Happens” by Robert Holden and “The game of Life”

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    by Florence Scovel -Shinn

  • Patricia Orchidblue Chic

    Still haven’t read them but something might resonate within them.

  • I’m not really sure how to shed some light on this, but it sounds like working with a career counselor is a good step. I think sometimes it’s not really about doing things differently–it’s just about continuing with what you’re doing and being patient with the process. At least, that’s been true for me!

  • alex kershaw

    hi this is really great, i find my self worrying about the future way to much and struggling to enjoy the present and osmetimes get hung up on what if’s a lot

  • This is a great reminder to all of us worry warts. Practicing patience and practicing letting go of what we cannot control is so much easier said than done. I’m definitely learning this and I have gotten better in the last few years, especially going through a rough patch in my life and coming out of it realizing I couldn’t have done more than I already did. We just have to do our best and realize that is our best. Yes there may be room for imporovements in the future, but that’s what’s awesome about life– we do our best in the moment and then the moment is gone for reflection, but not for tearing ourselves a new one. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Hamza

    Thank you for this awesome article! Now, I have a clear Idea of what to do when I’m fulled with doubt. I’m expecting a business launch in april 9th. Even though, I heard only good news from my JV partner(who’s more experienced than me), I still felt doubt and uncertainty. But after reading this article, I’m pretty confident in myself. I have to enjoy the present moment. Turn negative What Ifs.. to positive ones. I’ve done very hard work to set up my business, and I know it’s all worth it. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fruitful.

  • I worry a lot of about stuff… but it takes a moment for me to sit back and realise that some of the best moments from my life are those little surprises. The unexpected reward, opportunity. I tend to give my focus on living in the present moment, more than worrying about uncertainties….

  • lv2terp

    LOVELY post Lori!!! I love when you said “Uncertainty is the cost of that deeply satisfying, exhilarating, spontaneous sense of awe.” !!! 🙂 AWESOME!!!!!! Trust, that is key agreed, trust in ourselves is tough, but if we do trust that we can handle whatever comes at any moment, it is easier to live in every moment! So easy for us to get stuck in predicting, controlling, replaying what if’s, and then the time comes, and it is different than we imagine and we still handle it well (most often), unfortunately wasting so many moments until then :-/ Thank you again for this site, and your light! 🙂

  • Ellie

    Thanks for this great lesson and humorous example! Perfect timing for me to read this… Trying to figure out where my recent fear is coming from and realizing it has less to do with the circumstances than my lack of trust, being in the present moment and knowing that although things may not work out the way I want them to, it’ll be okay.

  • Lori,
    Thank you for this post. I am moved by your thought to think of mindfulness as “a combination of being in the moment and trusting in the one to follow.” When I feel into this idea, I can feel my body exhale and relax. There is something so powerful in trusting our own process, spirit and the world around us.

  • You’re most welcome. I know it’s not always easy to trust, but what a relief when we do!

  • You’re most welcome! I think that really is the key–knowing that even if we can’t control what happens, we will be okay.

  • I’m glad this was helpful to you, Alex!

  • Glad you enjoyed it! Nothing is more stressful than trying to predict or control the future. (I’ve done it many times before.) It’s certainly easier said than done, but letting go truly is the key to feeling at peace.

  • Indeed, the little surprises keep life exciting. Not always easy to remember, but I know that when I do, I feel eager rather than filled with dread!

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped. Congrats on your new business. =)

  • You’re most welcome! I love what you wrote about doing our best and accepting it’s our best. I’ve often struggled with this–always thinking I could do better. But I know now that if I could have, I would have. And even though the perfectionist in me sometimes wishes I could do everything perfectly right now, I also get a lot of joy and satisfaction out of recognizing growth and progress. I couldn’t experience either if I were perfect!


    Every time we use the present to stress about the future,
    we’re choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have
    tomorrow. — love this!

  • Ran

    I know this is an old post but I just had to express my thank you-s since this post is so relevant to me right now. I hope that I always remember whenever I’m worrying about the future to look at my situation from another perspective.

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad it helped!

  • Drilon_G

    Nice quote

  • Sander Kamp

    Thank you so much for your wisdom. It brings so much peace just to know trust is the answer (something I always struggle with btw). There’s definitely some tips in there that I’ll take with me and share with people around me (of who I know struggle with worries a lot as well).

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

  • Dolly_19

    Hello Lori,

    I came upon this post when i was googling about Buddha’s thoughts on “thinking about the future”… Read(Obsessing over it and making up stranger than reality stories in the head and then becoming sad over those)…I know it sounds stupid…But that is what i was doing since long..To cut it short …whatever my problem was/is/could be I understood that I made it worse by worrying and this increases the pain which u might/might not actually have. In either case I was sad because of a hypothetical situation which I made up in my mind…now it sounds lame to do that.

    The above comment of urs struck a cord with me…I have understood that every time my mind starts to play these cruel games …all i need to do is make it “Refocus”. This is helping me study better without worrying about the results ..because that is the only thing I can control.

    Thank you Mam…Thanks a ton!!!

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

  • Megan

    Thank you for this article. I might have to read it a couple more times to convince myself, though. Every little bit in your article is what I hypocritically tell friends and family and co-workers. “Don’t worry about it” or “everything will be okay, even if it’s not the outcome you expected.” Unfortunately I don’t take my own advise. Sometimes it takes another person to tell you what you’re thinking.

    I’m making a career turn and trying to take control. But worry kicks in and doubt my power to take control. The anxiety puts a pit in my stomach and then a domino effect happens with taking care of myself physically and emotionally. Most times deep breathes and staying busy puts me back into the present. Worry is useless. That’s so true. What can we do to get that buzz out of ear?

  • Rachel

    Have made a mistake recently and am worried of the effect it could have. A month’s delay in buying our house could end up with it being impossible. But…..we still have a few weeks and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Helpful article and some important messages. i hope I can listen to them and not think about the worst possible outcome.

  • Malcolm Stewart

    What a great mother – I am facing huge losses in family, business and I love you mothers advice. Instead of worrying about impending pain and disasters I have to try and do what your mother says. I have lost my wife and my daughter home and business. The pain nearly killed me as I ended up in hospital for three days. I appreciate this site and the knowledge and wisdom it displays

  • Shubham Pandey

    I was almost in depression until I read your post. This was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Thank you so much ma’am

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • Hi Rachel,

    Sorry I never responded to this! I just saw your comment now. How did everything turn out? Were you able to buy the house?


  • Hi Megan,

    So sorry I never responded to this – I’m just seeing it for the first time now. I don’t think you’re alone in this. It’s always easier to give advice than take it!

    Have you been about to make that career turn you mentioned? If so, how are things going so far?


  • Ruth Stephani Panjaitan

    All your writings calm me down, God bless you Lori Deschene

  • Glad to hear that, Ruth!

  • Pia

    It just seems this was written for me… I know worry is useless, but it just happens anyway. Maybe it’s how I am used to, how I was raised, maybe I should learn how to break the habit