Don't Worry. Be Happy!

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

May 26, 2020


I love the carefree lyrics, the tropical rhythm, and the cheerful admonition of the song, “Don’t worry!  Be happy!”  Perhaps that’s because I tend to be a worrier (it runs in my side of the family my mom says), and I need constant reminders of the folly and futility of worry.  If humming the song isn’t enough, there have fortunately been a number of people and events over the years who have taught me valuable lessons for overcoming worry.                

From my friend and coworker, Daphne, I learned the old adage, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” One morning on our way to do a training session for teachers, we jumped in her car, and she hurriedly backed up--right into the side of her own pick-up truck.  It was an old truck, but I immediately threw open the door and started out.  “What are you doing?” she asked as she pulled me back into the car. “I’m going to survey the damage,” I said.  “Why?” she asked earnestly.  “Is it going to change anything?  Why spoil our day worrying about it?” And with that she drove cheerfully down the road to conduct a highly successful training session.                

When problems occur as they always do, I remember not only Daphne, but one of Tommy’s former supervisors who said, “You don’t want problems?  Then quit living, because problems are an unavoidable part of life.” Out of this grew one of the principles on which Lofton Staffing is based, “Turn problems into possibilities.” Closely related are the words passed down from my Grandma Jones, “Don’t worry about those things over which you have no control.  When life gives you scraps, make a quilt.”  

It is sometimes encouraging to note that there are only two things to worry about—the past and the future.  Fortunately, the future includes things over which we do have control—relationships to be developed and challenging tasks to be completed at home and at work.  Building relationships and completing tasks, however, can lead to worry, and worry can lead to procrastination, avoidance, and isolation.  Coach Robinson, long time tennis coach at LSU, always taught his students, and I was fortunate to be one, “If you want to stop worrying, do something.  Get busy!” Before Nike invented the slogan, he stressed to us, “Just do it!”  “And,” he noted, “do something for somebody else.  You can’t be happy when someone else is miserable.”   Tommy, who also took tennis under Coach Robinson, elaborates on the benefits when he reminds us, “When we help others, we help ourselves.”                

Even when things are going well, it’s easy, according to poet Shel Silverstein (A Light in the Attic, 1981, p.90), to worry—to let those “whatifs crawl inside our ear.”  In a poem entitled ‘WHATIF” that appeals to both adults and children, he writes:  

                Whatif I’m dumb in school?

                Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?

                Whatif I get beat up?

                Whatif there’s poison in my cup?

                Whatif I start to cry?

                Whatif I get sick and die?

                Whatif I flunk that test?

                Whatif green hair grows on my chest…

                Everything seems swell, and then

                The nighttime Whatifs strike again!  

When the “whatifs strike you,” when relationships and tasks seem overwhelming, when problems occur that are beyond your control, when your faith waivers, “Don’t worry! Be happy!” Why?  To quote one of Bret Lofton’s high school teachers, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow.  It only saps today of its strength.”  And, sometimes, as my longtime friend and housekeeper, Johnnie, often reminds me, we just need to “let go, and let God.”

 

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

 


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We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.