"Many are harmed by fear itself, and many may have come to their fate while dreading fate"
- Seneca in Oedipus.
I have seen it with my own eyes, not as far as last week: The leader that is so scared that things are being mismanaged in the company that he starts micromanaging in a way that hurts everyone and everything - employees, productivity, budget, time, company and clients.
His fear of mismanagement becomes the source of the mismanagement.
The stoics believed that by managing your impulses and controlling your perceptions, you could avoid being led by them. In this case, being led by fear will likely be the source of your next disaster.
Don't let fear of a problem (existing or not) run your life!
This reminds me of a passage in The Untethered Soul where the author speaks about the fear of a problem running (and ruining) your life - way more than the problem itself.
Problems will come and go; that is part of life.
Release the fear of upcoming problems, that is out of your control.
Release the pain of past problems, forgive and move on - this is creating un-needed pain.
Pain is helpful to indicate to us that something is wrong.
Pain is very important, do not run away from pain!
Do not dedicate your life to avoiding pain so that pain doesn't take control of your destiny - be driven by love instead.
If you were to lean on a hot stove, the pain would be instant and would tell you to take your hand off before it burns, maybe gets infected and ultimately lose that hand.
If you were to wish for no pain, you wouldn't get that useful indication - put your hand off the hot stove, now!
Not to feel physical pain is extremely dangerous! Not feeling psychological, mental and emotional pain is equally as dangerous.
The only thing that you need to know is simply this: Is what's troubling my mind and soul the pain or the interpretation of the pain? The pain is gone; can I let go of the fear of that pain?
Coming back to Seneca, what he says essentially are two things:
First, be mindful of the fact that you might let your life be run by the fear of a problem and not by the problem itself (I could have gotten hurt had I not hit the break!)
Second, we need to be mindful not to let the fear of a problem be so intense that our obsession with it actually becomes the source of that fear.