If you know me at all, you know I fucking hate surprises because I’m a NORMAL PERSON.
In today’s episode of the FHTH Podcast, I’m delving into the psychology of why we worry, which is (surprise!) to avoid being surprised. 🤯
If you worry too much (chances are you do worry too much btw), I want you to understand that there is NOTHING wrong with you. Your brain is just doing its job: keeping y’all alive.
To learn more about why you worry, the effects worrying has on your health, and how to stop worrying, tune into the latest podcast!
EPISODE 230 TRANSCRIPTION
Hello, my friends. Well, today we're talking about the surprising reason why you worry. If you have not given the podcast a review, we're up to 109, which is pretty cool. Please go ahead and do that, wherever you listen to the podcast. A star review would be great. If you would like to type something, even greater. We'd love that. Thank you. All right.
So here is why you worry, and it was hidden in the title all the time. The reason why we all worry is because we don't want to be surprised. So worry is like a mental rehearsal so that we are not sucker punched. And the problem with this is that it really fuck with us and it creates neural pathways in our brain that unfortunately we can never get rid of. Now, I'm going to talk about how you can create new neural pathways. You can't undo these, but what we can do is stop using them so damn much so that it become nice and slick and easy to walk down.
I want you to think about the past as being in the guilt/shame arena and the future as being in the worry arena. The brain is wired for worry because it does not want to be surprised. Being surprised hundreds and hundreds of years ago normally meant death, right? A tiger jumped out of a tree, some warring tribe was coming to take over and kill you and take your children and your wives. So surprise was not a good thing. So the brain wired in worry as a mental rehearsal so that you are ready for anything at any time. However, there are major, major downsides to consistently worrying. First of all, we're not going to make it wrong. The way your brain is wired is because we evolved that way. So there's nothing wrong with you if you worry incessantly which so many of us do.
But here's the downside, physically, if you're consistently worrying, you're going to have disruptive sleep. We know that's true for so many people. You can have headaches, you can have hair loss, you can have muscle tension, I looked this up, digestive problems, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering. And it's not just physical things. There's practical things, meaning time spent worrying means you could be spending that time on other things. Time spent worrying means that you're going to be playing small instead of taking big risks because if you're constantly rehearsing all the bad things that could happen, what you'll do is play small to make sure those things don't happen and it makes your job suck. It's another practical concern, right? You guys do risky things and we're consistently talking about how you need to manage your brain because if you don't, your job will be miserable as it is for so many of you.
So, I have three ways to help you stop worrying and stop helping your brain prepare for surprise.
The first one is to mentally rehearse the opposite.
So if you are going to spend time projecting into the future and you are, because that's what our brains do, then I'm going to suggest that you give at least equal time to projecting in the future what you want to happen. So I want you to be walking through, anytime you catch yourself catastrophizing about what could happen, I want you to stop yourself, not make it wrong, just be like, "That's my brain trying to make sure that I'm not surprised," and I want you to now rehearse it going exactly the way you want. Now, there's brain science behind this. One is that when you do that, you're creating a new neuro pathway. So you're literally creating a connection in your brain to, "This is going to turn out well."
Now, if you're afraid, "Well, if I'm just thinking it's going to turn out well, won't I be surprised when it doesn't?" Well, first of all, it's less likely to turn out bad. Why? I'll talk about it in a minute. But second, if it turns out bad, here's the thing, when you're surprised in today's day and age, you're not going to die. You can fucking handle that shit. That's what your Finnish mama is here to tell you, if things turn out bad, if you are surprised, you can handle it. But you won't be surprised because you've already mentally rehearsed it so you know that it's an option, right? So this is your saboteur basically saying, "Well, if we don't rehearse this, we're going to be surprised." Well, the fact that you already rehearsed it means you won't be surprised, one. Two is that if it does end up being worst-case scenario, you'll survive.
Everyone will survive. No one's going to die. Okay, maybe someone will die. Maybe you have a family member who is struggling with a disease. That does happen. That's not what I mean, and that is awful, but that is also life. But two, when you mentally rehearse, I'm talking more about trial here, and you can even do this with a family member that has a disease that they're dealing with. You can mentally rehearse how you will deal with it if the worst were to come true. That's another thing that you can do. You can make it so that you run through all of the options. In fact, I remember talking about that on the podcast about one of the things that I refuse to actually even look at or feel was, "What if I die? What if I die? What if I die?" Until one day I just laid on the bed and I just let it wash over me.
And it was the most healing thing ever. It was like I felt it and it passed. And it comes up from time to time, of course, but just blocking it was the worst thing to do. But my point is, when you rehearse it mentally, there's a lot of brain science that shows you are more likely to perform better when you have already seen yourself doing it ahead of time. Look up any of the science on athletes that visualize before a game or visualize before a practice. They have done studies that show that they perform so much better. There's something called RAS. I don't know if they call it RAS or R-A-S, the reticular activating system, which means whatever you're focusing on, your brain will start looking for. So if you've just bought a car and you bought a green Volvo, you will start seeing green Volvos everywhere because now you've brought that into your awareness where you never saw them before, now you see them all the time.
Your brain does that on purpose. So if you are looking for all the things that can go wrong, that's what you're going to constantly be focused on, versus if you are looking at all the things that could go right, you are now open to opportunities and being able to seize on those opportunities. All right.
Two, take the surprise out of it. 95% of what jurors are thinking, feeling, whatever it may be when it comes to a plaintiff case, you already know. So it's not really a surprise that you're worried about. You're worried that you won't be able to turn that around. So, what I'm going to suggest here is, here's an exact example of what I was just talking about in number one, is when you consistently rehearse the scenario of jurors screwing you, what do you do?
You're not focused on jurors screwing you. So you go in and you do an exclusionary voir dire, and what happens? You get rid of all the bad jurors. In fact, just today, Coach Joon put a video in the From Hostage To Hero Facebook group. If you're not in that group, you can go and ask to join. It's free to join. You have to be a plaintiff attorney or criminal defense attorney. And he put a video in there because it's the big badge of honor to kick as many people as you can off for cause and not use any of your peremptory challenges, right? Like, "Oh my gosh, I kicked off 67 people." I don't know if that's ever happened, but that's the big badge of honor.
So he was doing voir dire and it was on day four because in New York, they get oodles and oodles of time, of voir dire, and he tells the story about the opposing counsel, older gentleman, very nice, defense attorney, comes up to him after he'd kicked off a bunch of more jurors on cause, and he said, "I just want to let you know that you were doing a great job." And Joon says, "Thank you." And he continues the sentence and he says, "Showing the jurors that this case is all about money, that you shouldn't be trusted and that your client is lying." And Joon was like, "Holy fucking shit, that's exactly what I did." Because what are we doing in exclusionary voir dire? We're asking people, "Can they give money? Can you give money? Can you give money?" Jurors don't know anything about your case. What do they think? Oh, this case is about money, right? Do you think brain injuries are real? Do you think people fake it? What do you think your case is about, that fake brain injury that somebody's faking?
What you focus on, you make important. So if you are looking, again, at the worry, you're going to start making the juror that you actually don't want in your jury happen. So take the surprise out of it. We know that jurors want to do the right thing. We know that you stand, as a plaintiff attorney, if your case is worthy, on the side of the right. So when you go in and you do a principle-centered voir dire, which is what we teach in H2H, we know with 95, I'm going to go 99% accuracy, we know what a jury's going to say. And even if we don't think they're going to say what is good for us, we know what the bad thing is for us. There really are no surprises in jury selection. Your saboteur keeps telling you, "Well, they could say anything." You know all the things that they can say. And guess what? If you know what they're going to say, you can be prepared for that. In the H2H method, we talk a lot about what to do with "bad juror answers".
I have a whole podcast on it, on how to, if it's truth, you elevate it. If it's not true, you pivot. Go back and watch or listen to that podcast, but you know what they're going to say. So we can take surprise out of it by creating a principle-centered voir dire so that they really understand what the case is about. And knowing that the jurors that are not for us, we already know what they're going to say, that they can't give money to reform all the things, and then we have a plan for that too.
Number three, the way to stop worrying so much is not only mentally rehearse the opposite and take the surprise out of it by reminding yourself that you know what jurors are going to say, the third thing is get clear on what your job actually is. Your job is to fight not to win.
I'm going to keep saying that until you get it. That is your job. You are there to stand up for your client, to plead their case, to get the facts out there, to do all the things. And what a jury decides is a separate thing. The end. Your job is to fight. We know that you're going to win or lose 50-50 depending on what we're looking at, and depending on what type of case. You hold people accountable just by going to trial itself. That holds people accountable. It means they had to come and give account. Now, if the jury goes with their version of events, that doesn't mean you didn't do your job, that you didn't hold people accountable. The jury didn't hold them accountable, you held them accountable, the jury didn't. Those are two separate things.
Be kind to yourself. The brain is wired for worry, but you don't have to stay with that worry. Mentally rehearse the opposite. Remind yourself there really are not many surprises. And if there are, they're actually kind of funny and bizarre, and those are always delightful because it gives some levity to the situation. You know what jurors are going to say, whether bad or good. And get clear on what your job actually is. Start creating those new neural pathways so that your brain and you start calming it down, recognizes, "Okay, I'm not in danger of being surprised. There are many outcomes possible here, and I can handle this," because you can. I love you. Bye.
Have you ever wished that you knew what the jury was thinking? Well, grab a pen and paper because I'm about to give you instant access to a free training I created for plaintiff trial attorneys called 3 Powerful Strategies To Help You Read A Juror's Mind. It's going to help you to understand what the jury is thinking so you'll feel confident to trust them and yourself in the courtroom. Ready for the address, go to sariswears.com/jury. Enjoy.
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