McNally, a farmer, needed to plow his field before the dry spell set in, but his own plow had broken.
“I know, I’ll ask my neighbor, farmer Murphy, to borrow his plow. He’s a good man; I’m sure he’ll have done his plowing by now and he’ll be glad to lend me his machine.”
So McNally began to walk the three or four fields to Murphy’s farm.
After a field of walking, McNally says to himself, “I hope that Murphy has finished all his own plowing or he’ll not be able to lend me his machine…”
Then after a few more minutes of worrying and walking, McNally says to himself, “And what if Murphy’s plow is old, rusted and on its last legs – he’ll never be wanting to lend it to me will he?”
And after another field, McNally says, “Murphy was never a very helpful fellow, I reckon maybe he won’t be too keen to lend me his plow even if it’s in perfect working order and he’s finished all his own plowing weeks ago.”
As McNally arrives at Murphy’s farm, McNally is thinking, “That old Murphy can be a mean old fellow. I reckon even if he’s got all his plowing done, and his own machine is sitting there doing nothing, he’ll not lend it to me just to watch me go to ruin.”
McNally walks up Murphy’s front path, knocks on the door, and Murphy answers.
“Well good morning Mr. McNally what can I do for you?” says Murphy.
And McNally screams, with eyes bulging, “You can take your damn plow, and you can shove it! I would not use your lousy plow if you paid me!”
McNally’s story is an extreme illustration of what happens when we do not control our thoughts. Left unchecked we can all let our mind drift to worst case scenarios of practically any situation. Have you ever heard the siren on an ambulance and thought for sure it was a family member?
Negative thoughts and worrying unfortunately play a large part in business too (worries have stopped more businesses than even government regulations). You might be saying, “but Heath that’s just me; I’ve always been a huge worrier”. You do not need to stay a worrier – some simple (and very logical) steps from Dale Carnegie’s course lay out a great plan to defeat fear and worry.
- First – get the FACTS. Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that “half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision”.
- After weighing all the facts – make a decision (quickly – paralysis by analysis kills many great businesses).
- Once the decision is made ACT!! Get busy implementing the decision and dismiss any thoughts of both the outcome and any glance of hindsight.
- When your mind is tempted to slip back into “worry mode” about a problem, get a pen and answer on paper the following questions: 1- what is the problem 2- what is the cause 3- what are all the possible solutions 4- what is the best solution.
As we build Tama County’s economy, there are going to come up against things that start to worry us all. We just need to remember to capture our thoughts and not make a McNally size mistake.