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Lesson 105: Circularity of apprehension, worry, stress and anxiety
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 1/19 ('Coming of Age')


Wesley Crusher is undergoing final testing to enter Starfleet Academy.

While he excels at all of the technical tests, he fears the final exam, which is known as the 'psych' test. This test is intended to evaluate everyone on their darkest personal fears and is of an unknown nature and different in context for each candidate.

His trepidations over what the test might be causes Wesley anxiety and he struggles to deal with his panic.

Worf, a seasoned officer, seeing Wesley's concerns tells Wesley that thinking about things over which you have no control only wastes energy and creates its own enemy.


We all have to grapple with this monster almost everyday of our lives.

There are always an abundant number of events that occur in our lives where we have absolutely no control over the process or are unable to impact the outcome in any manner, whatsoever.

From boarding a plane for a flight, to undergoing surgery, to eventually finding the right mate for marriage, to conceiving life, we do put our lives in the hands of others or in those of fate.

While it is true that we can take measures, in certain cases, to increase the probability of our success, we are nevertheless, still not ever in full control of our own destiny.

There is perhaps no better example of how much our lives are really not in our control than to consider the truly random and unpredictable nature of death.

No matter what precautions one may take to delay death, there is still no way for us to control the timing of its occurrence, outside of any premeditated self-afflicting action.

For those who worry about disasters and failures over which they have no control, they enter into a vicious cycle of apprehension and distress, which in turn creates further worst case scenarios to ponder, and in turn add more to the worry and anxiety.

So, once we have done everything possible that is within the realm of our influence to impact a situation, we need to accept that the next step will occur outside of our control, no matter what else we may do, and the best we can do is to be prepared to react to the eventual consequences.

By accepting this relinquishing of control over events outside of our influence, we distance ourselves from worry, anxiety and self-doubt over what may happen and focus more readily on what our actions and contingency plans might be based on the possible different outcome scenarios.

Outside of the harmful mental and physical problems that can arise from the stress of worrying about things not in your control, we will often find that the time devoted to the worrying has managed to make us miss out on many of the good things that occur in the meantime.

Time is a most precious commodity and spent unwisely and fruitlessly, unfortunately, can never be regained.

As Wesley Crusher finds out, all of his time wasted worrying was for naught, as he passes the final test in his usual top marks fashion.

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