Don’t Jump to “10”!

What do the following things have in common?

  • That spot on your leg.
  • That feeling in your chest.
  • That mysterious ache in your back.
  • The malady that you didn’t have when you were 39.

I’m sure some of you might guess they’re all part of the “aging process,” but you’re incorrect.

No, the common denominator here is that when one (or several) of these things presents itself, we instantly freak out and think that the spot is cancer, the feeling is a heart attack, the ache is a tumor, and the malady is an instant death-sentence.

In short, we jump to “10”!


Trust me. I see it on a daily basis.

Clients, non-client, friends, family, heck I even fight it…we quickly and systematically worry ourselves to death, assuming the worst, as our freak-out meter spikes. We catapult right past 0-9 and land at 10. It’s only after landing at “10” that we begin working our way back down the scale until we figure out what, exactly, it is we’re dealing with.

When you first find that spot on your leg, you are convinced it’s a malignant skin cancer (a “10”). When you find out it isn’t a malignant skin cancer, you’re convinced it’s a non-malignant skin cancer (“9”). When it’s determined that it’s not a non-malignant skin cancer, you head back to Google only to discover that you must have whatever an “8” would be, and the pattern is repeated until you get to around a “5” and can’t remember what it was you were looking for in the first place!

But what if you completely changed your approach?

What if you had started at “1” and worked your way up, beginning with the simplest explanation? With that approach, you save yourself a lot of time and worry, realizing that, in most situations, your current malady lies somewhere within the first few numbers on the 0-10 scale. No sirens blazing. No alarms ringing. Come to find out, that spot on your leg is a pimple. It’s not cancer, and is far from it! What relief to know that it’s only a “1.” Good news!

The same is true with those of us who have battled chronic pain. The instant our hip starts hurting, we jump to getting a hip replacement, and when we’re having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, we are convinced a spinal fusion will happen within the month.

In short, we jump to “10.” 

Next time, try starting with “0,” and count up. See where that gets you. You just mind find your answer sooner than you think.

Of course, I need to say that sometimes when you think it’s a “10,” it actually is a “10.” Sometimes it is cancer, and I’m convinced you’ll tackle it head-on. However, for the majority of us, and for the vast majority of our situations, we’ll save ourselves a lot of worry by taking a step back, taking a breath, and starting from “1.”

QUESTION: When was the last time you were guilty of jumping to a “10”?