Richie Norton

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Why Worrying Won’t Work: 10 Encouraging Quotes happy

Image: Justin Cozart

I’ve been worried about something. It’s kept me up at night. It’s made me agitated during the day. Then I realized, worrying won’t work. Worrying won’t win me the war. Worrying rots the soul. Why? Because worrying fools you into thinking you’re problem solving. In reality, all you’re doing is wasting precious energy on stuff that probably won’t happen.

Are you a worrywart?

I did some research on worrying and found some great advice from some sages of the ages. Whatever is worrying you, remember these 10 things:

1. Don’t misuse your imagination.

“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” – Dan Zadra

2. Don’t stress over something that may never happen.

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Don’t let the future disturb you.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”  – Marcus Aurelius

4. Don’t believe your worries.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”  – Mark Twain

5. Get up and do something.

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”- Dale Carnegie

6. Live each day as it comes.

I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us. – Dorothy Day

7. Be strong today.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Leo Buscaglia

8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

“Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.” – Robert Eliot

9. Spend yourself on the work before you.

“Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. Ask yourself if it really matters.

 “Ask yourself this question: ‘Will this matter a year from now?'” – Richard Carlson

Written by on November 10, 2013 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:



2 Comments post a comment
  1. Jenn Nov 10th 10:15 pm

    Love this. I need this reminder, often.

  2. Ben Mar 22nd 6:41 pm

    Rule no.3 only you can make big shit

Two Stories: “The Regret Minimization Framework”


Photo by cesarastudillo

If you’ve read The Power of Starting Something Stupid, you know that we talk a lot about how to avoid future regret. When it comes to living a life of meaning, contribution and fulfillment, I can’t image a more urgent topic. I’d like to share with you two real-life stories that have greatly influenced my thinking and I hope will influence yours. Further, I hope these examples will make you DO something–to act on that “stupid” pressing thought that just won’t go away.


Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, worked in palliative care, in a place where she says “patients would go to die” and she “was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.” She asked the patients “about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently.” Through this unique experience, Bronnie discovered five common themes:

  1.  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”  (This was the most common response.)
  2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” (Every male patient Bronnie nursed gave this response.)
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

These five regrets have helped me change my own behavior and priorities as I strive to live a joyful and enriched life.


I feature this story in Chapter 4 of The Power of Starting Something Stupid and even created something I call “The Bezos Test,” however, I thought you’d like to hear some additional details to the story straight from Bezos’ mouth.

You can watch the video of Jeff Bezos explaining to how he avoided future regret by starting Amazon here: Why Jeff Bezos Started Amazon

Here’s part of the transcript (of the above video) from this interview with Notice how Bezos’ uses what he calls a “regret minimalization framework” to make his decision to leave Wall Street and start Amazon. Here you were sitting in New York City in a very good job, a lucrative position with a future. You go home and you say to your wife you want to throw all that over and get in the car and go to Seattle. What possessed you to do that? What was her reaction? What is the role of risk taking?

Jeff Bezos: I went to my boss and said to him, “You know, I’m going to go do this crazy thing and I’m going to start this company selling books online.” This was something that I had already been talking to him about in a sort of more general context, but then he said, “Let’s go on a walk.” And, we went on a two hour walk in Central Park in New York City and the conclusion of that was this. He said, “You know, this actually sounds like a really good idea to me, but it sounds like it would be a better idea for somebody who didn’t already have a good job.” He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision.

So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision. I had already talked to my wife about this, and she was very supportive and said, “Look, you know you can count me in 100 percent, whatever you want to do.” It’s true she had married this fairly stable guy in a stable career path, and now he wanted to go do this crazy thing, but she was 100 percent supportive.

So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called — which only a nerd would call — a “regret minimization framework.” So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.”

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision. And, I think that’s very good.

If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, “What will I think at that time?” it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion. You know, I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year. When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus. That’s the kind of thing that in the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term then you can really make good life decisions that you won’t regret later.


Carefully consider these questions:

  1. Is there a thought that keeps pressing on your mind?
  2. If so, why haven’t you done anything with it yet? Is this something you’d regret not doing? If not, what would you regret not doing when you’re 80?
  3. If everything seems to be against you and you can’t possibly see yourself starting a dream project (something you’d regret not doing) now, what is the one tiny portion of that dream that you could do? Start there.

I have been creating The 76-Day Challenge which I promise as a free gift at the end of The Power of Starting Something Stupid to help you start your dream projects, avoid regret and impact the world for good. I have a group working on this challenge right now before I release it to the public. If you’d like to sign up to receive your copy of The 76-Day Challenge when it is ready, please click here.


Written by on July 2, 2013 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Case Study



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The 10 “In” Verbs: How to Get In (and Get Out)

10 ways to get “in” on something new (read: improvement) and “out” of something old (read: limited potential)—relationships, habits, thought patterns, circumstance. . .

1. IN-fluence others for good

Someone I admire once asked, “How far will your influence go?” This question wasn’t really a question at all; it was a challenge. This challenge led me to writing The Power of Starting Something Stupid. Influencing others for good has become a personal mission of mine that has taken me on some amazing adventures—starting a cashmere company in Mongolia, consulting a microfinance organization in Nicaragua, speaking to a group of entrepreneurs in the Domincan Republic and so on. Striving to influence others for good has blessed my own life for good tenfold. My challenge to you: proactively seek for ways to influence others for good, and see where it takes you.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” ― Napoleon Hill

2. IN-itiate projects

Projects are great because they have a beginning and an end. You can do anything (yes, ANYTHING) when you break your big picture dreams down to small, manageable projects. If you don’t have the time, or education, or money, or experience you think necessary to realize your dreams, a project will allow you grab hold of the part of that dream that IS accessible to you right now—it also provides the opportunity collaborate with others who do have the time, education, money or experience you feel you lack. When you initiate projects surrounding the things that matter most to you, everyone wins.

“Start doing what you want to do and everything else will be revealed to you.” ― Paulo Coelho

3. IN-novate

Get into something new. Make stuff up. You’re a creation, and you were born to create. Innovation stems from the Latin root words “in” or into and “novus” or new—literally meaning to get into something new. Innovation is in your blood. Let your creative juices flow and start acting on your “stupid” ideas.

“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” ― Jeff Bezos

4. IN-sist on yourself

You can. Yes, you can. You can do the work. You must do the work. The world needs your unique talent and contribution.

“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. IN-vest in yourself

At the end of the day, if you’re wasting your time by not investing in yourself, you’re going to waste away—and that would be the greatest waste of all.

“Invest three percent of your income in yourself (self-development) in order to guarantee your future.” ― Brian Tracy

6. IN-spire others

Information is power, but unless information inspires someone to do something, the power lies dormant. Make it your goal to combine information with inspiration to change the world around you.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ― John Quincy Adams

7. IN-trigue

“Don’t be boring.” ― Seth Godin

8. IN-volve others

Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this statement is true, it’s either really exciting or really depressing for you. Whether this human “average” is fact or fiction, it’s obvious that the people we hang around influence our thinking, and thus our actions, and thus, eventually, our overall circumstance. Make it a point to involve people in your projects who you respect and admire—people you hope to become just a little more like.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

9. IN-k it

Ink your goals on paper. Nearly every day, I’ll whip out a piece of paper and write down the top five things I’m going to get done that day. I also set goals for the week, month, year and consistently do some vision work on what I hope the next three to five years will look like. The important thing is to get those goals and aspirations out of my head and on to paper. Thus far, this has made all the difference in regards to any measure of success I have achieved.

“Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it – ink it.” ― Anonymous

10. IN-tensify your efforts

Double them. Triple them if you have to. You have one life to live, and this is it. Make it worth your time.

“The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.” ― John Keats

Written by on May 29, 2013 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Goal Setting



2 Comments post a comment
  1. Annie May 30th 7:18 am

    You never cease to inspire me!
    I’m IN!!

  2. Shelly May 31st 5:14 am

    SO excellent! Thank you!


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