Monday, September 1, 2014

Motivational Monday 2 - The Rocking Chair

My professor for Abnormal Psychology did things a bit differently than my other professors. Instead of using slides or projectors, he just talked to us. He told us stories that related to what we were learning about because he believed stories clicked better with our brains than hard facts.

I liked abnormal psychology because my professor didn’t talk at the class, he talked to us. Along with telling us stories that related to the content we were learning, he engaged us in conversation. One of his favorite things to do besides teach was give advice.

My professor spent his 75 minutes with my class stuffing our brains with content and advice. I go to a community college and, although we have a lot of helpful resources, the dropout rate is pretty high. My abnormal psych professor encouraged us that even if our exam grades were low, that didn’t mean that we were failing the class. He told us that too many people dropped the class because they thought they were failing, when in reality their overall grade was about a B.

Just because you don't think you're doing well, doesn't mean that you aren't.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair,” I remember my abnormal psych professor telling us. “It gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere.” He told us that too many people spent their days worrying about the past or the future and that too many failed to live “in the now.” He encouraged us to live in the present moment because one day we’ll wake up and realize that we let our entire lives go by. (And then he related what he was talking about to Gestalt Psychology, but I can’t remember how exactly. Or maybe it was Carl Rogers….)

Too many people spend their days worrying about their futures. They plan stuff out, they worry that this or that will/won’t happen, etc. People also spend a good chunk of their time thinking about mistakes they’ve made in the past. What is it about the present moment that makes us not want to live in it? The present is all we’ve got, isn’t it?

I used to live with my head in the clouds. I thought too much about my future and didn’t spend enough time in the present. Now that I’m older I’m realizing that what they say about worry and rocking chairs is true: it gets you nowhere but manages to waste your time. I’ve gotten a lot better at “living in the now.” Whenever I catch myself worrying about the future, I make myself focus on what I’m doing right then and there.

What’s going to happen will happen, and worrying about it won’t keep it from happening. And if you’re really struggling with keeping your focus off of the future, at least try and think of what could go right. Think about what you can do now to make sure that you have a better future. And if you’re struggling with past mistakes, I encourage you to check out my post “IdentityCrisis.”

Remember: Worrying about tomorrow only robs today of its joy.




  1. Thank you for the reminder! Worrying does rob us of our joy.

  2. Thanks for this post. It sounds as though you have a very wise professor and you have learned an important lesson that will help you through the various experiences you will face in life. Word pictures stay in our minds more than lectures. According to the Bible, worry cannot do one positive thing for us. God is in control.