On Anticipation

“It is foolish to suffer in anticipation that which one may or may not have to suffer.” This is something that I fully comprehend, but have never been able to implement. I cannot help but make up various consequences of some small mistake of mine, in my head, each one more imaginative and having bigger repercussions than the previous ones, until I run myself into a state of frenzy. Then, no matter what my hands and mind are occupied with, this little piece of memory keeps a few of my neurons busy in the back of my head, continuously churning it round and round, making me fidgety and grouchy.


It could be anything- a mistake that I make in my exam that will in reality result in me just losing a mark or two, but which will result in a sleepless night, due to my brain conjuring up various scenarios varying from me scoring the lowest amongst all my friends, to eventually, me failing in the course. Or it could be something that I happen to say in the wrong place, at the wrong time. This could of course result in so many many scenarios, depending on the number and the type of people involved. But no matter how little or big the blunder is, my brain always runs overtime, taking maximum advantage of my imagination.

The ones who really suffer from this habit of mine, apart from me of course, are my parents and my roomies.  They have to put up with my occasional cribbing when I voice out my exaggerated concerns, and have to pacify me till my qualms have been soothed. But right until the moment that the final outcome is known, they are in for a rough time. I know that this habit of mine can be really irritating at times (if not always!), but I would like to thank them for putting up with me and my exaggerated imaginations, for pacifying me when required, and for sharing the burden and admonishing me when my worrying goes out of hand. Thank you guys, for being there always!!

Though I completely understand the foolishness of this habit of mine and though I have tried my best to accept and follow the adage “There is no use crying over spilt milk”, I have never until now succeeded in following this philosophy. I only hope, that one day, even if it is far away in the future, I become one of those people who say “I am not worried about the outcome of my mistakes. What has happened, has happened. And what will happen, will happen”.


24 thoughts on “On Anticipation

  1. I learned a useful rule for life long ago:

    ‘The only way to learn to play Chess is to lose’

    It’s true. You have to play someone who is better than you in order to become a better Chess player. In other words, our mistakes, our errors, our pratfalls, make us better ‘Chess players’ in life. When we lose, we become better ‘players’. Every mistake is another lesson learnt and should be welcomed while also remembering another powerful rule:

    ‘Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’.

    Both are good to hold on to. 🙂

  2. Very well written Sumi. Sincerely wish ‘que sera sera’ becomes a reality in your mind sooner than later ….

    Warm wishes, Bharath

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  3. My mind runs rampant far too often. I relive past actions and try to anticipate the future and for some reason the future is always dark. It is all so pointless. The only moment that matters is the one you are currently experiencing. This is not to say we can’t learn from our past actions both good and bad, but the endless judging of ourselves and finding ourselves lacking is a terrible trap to get caught in. Mindfulness is not easy though I suspect that the more one practices the easier it gets. I am the equivalent of a toddler on the mindfulness learning scale.

    Excellent post! And never be afraid to make a mistake. NO ONE is perfect. AND the only way to learn is to do, and in doing mistakes are bound to be made. Albert Einstein said that “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” And Oscar Wilde said “experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”

    I wish you peace of mind and the ability to not sweat the small stuff and to know that it’s all small stuff!

    • Thank you so much, Sandy!! I am glad you understand my predicament, and I sure am glad to know that I am not the only one caught in the trap. With the help of loved ones, and with some encouragement from the blogging community (where I am glad that I am not alone), I can say that I am already faring much better. Thank you once again for those kind words!! 🙂

  4. I’m like you even now – always running over what could have been said/done better – a constant learning process for me. But I do not share or burden those around me. Instead I reflect quietly and learn to do better the next time a similar situation presents itself.

    As a student, I don’t wish to advise others – but I reckon you’re on the right track.

    Peace, Eric

  5. You’ve described it so well. I used to chronically engage in this habit until I came across Anthony Robbins book, “Release The Giant Within,” in which he teaches some basics about neurolinguistics programming (NPL). I’ve learned how to block negative trains of thought. While I’m not altogether free of this roundabout, NPL helps one to recognise the trend and deal with it. Other times I simply WANT to give in and turn a problem over and over again, but it doesn’t last long as it becomes tiring and self-defeating. Want to give NPL a try?

  6. Sumitra, I admire, so beautifully putting down what u really fail, every situation gives us a lesson, so no worries as u cross them, friends and family is here always fr u, I am glad u r not artificial but true to ur feelings. Keep writing. God bless u

  7. Hey, you’re not alone. I wish I could say at my ripe old age of 36 that I’ve learned to master the worry wart tendency. But, yeah… those fictional future scenarios are hard to quell!!

    • It is so good to hear that I am not the only one facing problems!! I am really glad I discovered the blogging world where I have met so many people just like me… Thank you, Alarna, it means a lot to me!!

  8. Hi Sumithra, I’ve never heard the term “cribbing” before but I’m adopting it. Thanks for another honest and self-effacing post…you’re really dear to be so transparent in your writings. Many blessings! Vivian

  9. Sumithra, I can identify with what you’re going thru. My mind, as most do, sorts out my worries as I sleep. Or, at least, that’s the theory. Instead, last night, I dreamt that the school secretary (where I now work) was gently chewing me out for not filing stories from my court beat (my previous job – before mid 2003). It seems when there’s nothing to worry about, I worry about that.

    So, don’t do as I do … but, if you do as I say, you may be less stressed. Stop worrying. 🙂

    • Ha ha!! It really is weird that our mind finds some trivial thing or the other to worry about when we do not have any major issues to think about. And thank you for the advice… I must say, I am getting there!! 🙂

  10. I know exactly where you’re coming from. I understand what you’re saying, absolutely.

    It’s okay to anticipate good things isn’t it? Well, when something might go wrong, you can’t help but…. you just can’t help but wonder. I’m with you on this!

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