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How To Stop Worrying And Start Living By Dale Carnegie
In the early days, Dale Carnegie (November 24, 1888 – November 1, 1955) earned his living teaching classes for adults in night schools in New York. He realized that one of the biggest problems of these adults was worry. He wrote his book by reading what philosophers of all ages have said about worry. He also read hundreds of biographies, from Confucius to Churchill. According to him, we will not find anything new in his book, but we will find a lot that is not generally applied in our daily life.
Carnegie wrote his book in eight parts. Let’s go through all of them and for the purpose of this article, we will share a story each taken from each Part.
PART I: Basic facts you should know about anxiety
For this story, it was given the subtitle as “Live in a day-tight compartment”. Just live each day until bedtime.
It was about a housewife in Michigan who had lost her husband to an illness. She was very depressed and had almost no money. He then wrote to his old employer and got his job selling World Books to rural and urban schools. She thought that by getting back on track, she would help relieve her depression; but driving alone and eating alone was almost more than she could take. He discovered that the schools were poor and the roads were bad. It seemed that success was impossible.
Well one day he read an article that lifted his spirit and also gave him the courage to continue living. There was an inspiring quote that said, “Every day is a new life for a wise man.” He typed it up and pasted it on his car windshield where he could see it every minute as he drove. Since then, he said: “Today is a new life.”
He had managed to overcome his fear of loneliness, and his fear of desire. He was happy and quite successful then and had a lot of enthusiasm and love for life. She knew then that she could live one day at a time.
PART II: Basic techniques for analyzing concern
He was an insurance man. When he started selling insurance, he was full of boundless enthusiasm and love for his job. Then something happened. He worries so much that he despises his work and thinks of abandoning it. So one Saturday morning, he sat down and tried to get to the root of his worries. He began to ask the following questions:
What was the problem?
He wasn’t getting high enough performance for the huge amount of phone calls he made.
What was the cause of the problem?
He did quite well at selling a prospect, until it came time to close a sale. Then the customer would say, “Well, I’ll think about it, sir. Come and see me again.” The time wasted on these follow-up calls caused her depression.
What were all the possible solutions?
He checked his record book for the past twelve months and studied the figures carefully. He made an amazing discovery! He discovered that 70% of his sales were closed on the first interview! Another 23% of their sales were closed on the second interview. And another 7% had been closed on those third, fourth, fifth, etc., interviews. He came to the conclusion that he was wasting half his working day in a part of his business that was responsible for only seven percent of his sales!
What was the best solution?
He made a quick decision that he immediately cut off all visits beyond the second interview, and spent the extra time building new prospects.
PART III: How to break the habit of worry before it breaks you
This part of the book asked us to use the Law of Means to ban our concerns.
During one summer, a couple went on a camping trip in the Touquin Valley of the Canadian Rockies, about seven thousand feet above sea level. One night, a storm threatened to tear his tent to shreds. The tent outside shook and shook and screamed and shrieked in the wind. The wife was terrified, and expected every minute to see her tent torn up and thrown into the sky.
However, her husband continued to say, “Look, dear, we’re traveling with the Brewsters guides. They know what they’re doing. They’ve been camping in these mountains for sixty years. This tent has been there for many seasons. It’s not even cleared and, by the law of averages, it will not clear tonight, and yet it can be put in another tent. So relax…” The wife did; and slept well the balance of the night.
We must ask ourselves: “What are the probabilities, according to the law of averages, that a particular event we are concerned about will ever happen?”
PART IV: Ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness
We need to understand this important rule: Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let’s wait.
A businessman in Texas felt bitter that his thirty-four employees did not say “Thank you” after they received a bonus of about $300 each for Christmas.
According to Carnegie, instead of wallowing in resentment and self-pity, this man could have asked himself why he was not appreciated. Maybe he didn’t pay and supervise his employees. Perhaps they considered a Christmas bonus not a gift, but something they had earned. Perhaps he was so critical and unacceptable that no one dared or cared to thank him. Maybe he felt that he gave the bonus because most of the profits went to the taxes, anyway.
On the other hand, maybe the employees were selfish, doctors and sick. It may be this or it may be that. According to Carnegie, this man made the human and distressing mistake of expecting gratitude. They just don’t know human nature.
PART V: The perfect way to conquer worry
Carnegie wrote in his book that one day when his father returned from Maryville, where the banker had threatened to foreclose, he stopped his horses on a bridge that crossed a river, got out of the carriage , and stopped for a long time to watch. the water, debating with himself whether he should jump in and end it all.
Years later, Carnegie Sr. he told her that the only reason she didn’t jump was because of her mother’s deep, persistent and joyful belief that if we love God and keep his commandments, everything will turn out well. Mom was right. Everything turned out well in the end. Father lived forty-two more happy years, and died in 1941, at the age of eighty-nine.
PART VI: How not to worry about criticism
A national sensation in educational circles was created by an event which took place in 1929. Learned men and women from all over the Americas rushed to Chicago to witness the affair. A few years earlier, a young man named Robert Hutchins had worked at Yale as a waiter, a lumberjack, a tutor, and a rope salesman. Now, just eight years later, he had been inaugurated as president of the fourth richest university in America, the University of Chicago. He was only thirty years old. Unbelievable! Criticism came roaring over this “child wonder” like a rock. Even the newspapers joined the attack.
On the day he was inaugurated, a friend told Robert’s father Maynard Hutchins, “I was shocked this morning to read the newspaper editorial denouncing your son.”
“Yes,” replied Elder Hutchins, “it was severe, but it must be remembered that no one ever kicks a dead dog.”
Yes, and the more important it is a dog, the more satisfaction people will get.
Carnegie added that when you are kicked or criticized, remember that it is often done because it gives the kicker a sense of importance. It often means that you are accomplishing something and are worthy of attention. Many people take a wild sense of satisfaction from denouncing those who are better educated than them or more successful.
PART VII: 6 Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirit High
Dale Carnegie listed the following six ways in his book:
Rest before tiring; Learn to relax at your work; Learn to relax at home; Use good work habits (clear your desk of all documents except those related to the immediate problem at hand; do things in the order of their importance; when you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have facts necessary to make a decision; and learn to organize, deputize, and supervise); To prevent worry and fatigue, put enthusiasm into your work; and Remember that no one was ever killed by lack of sleep. It’s the insomnia that’s causing the damage—not the insomnia itself. If you can’t sleep, get up and work or read until you feel sleepy.
PART VIII: “How I Conquered Worry”
In this last part of the book, Carnegie wrote 31 true stories. In this review, I have chosen a story, entitled “I lived in the garden of Allah”. He was an English gentleman from a wealthy family in Great Britain. After leaving the British army at the beginning of the 20th century, he went to North-West Africa and lived with the Arabs in the Sahara, the Garden of Allah.
He lived there for seven years, learned to speak the language of the nomads, wore their clothes, ate their food and adopted their way of life, which has changed little in recent centuries. He also made a detailed study of the religion, Islam, and in fact later wrote a book about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, entitled “The Messenger”.
He observed that nomads take life so calmly and never rush or get into an unnecessary temper when things go wrong. They know that what is ordered is ordered; and none but Allah can change anything. However, this does not mean that in the face of disaster, they sit down and do nothing. This is illustrated as below.
One day there was a fierce and burning windstorm of the sirocco in the Sahara. He screamed and screamed for three days and nights. It was so strong, so fierce, that it blew sand from the Sahara hundreds of kilometers across the Mediterranean and sprayed it on the Rhone valley in France. But the Arabs did not complain. They shrugged their shoulders and said: “Mektoub!” which means “It was written.”
But immediately after the storm ended, they sprung into action, slaughtering all the lambs because they knew they would die anyway. After the lambs were slaughtered, the flocks were taken south to the water. All this was done quietly, without concern or complaint or mourning for their losses. The head of the tribe said: “It wasn’t too bad. We could have lost everything. But praise be to Allah, we have forty percent of our sheep to make a new beginning.”
Many years after he left the Sahara – he still maintained that happy resignation to the inevitable that he had learned from the Arabs. That philosophy did more to calm his nerves than a thousand sedatives could have achieved.
In our daily life, in the fight against worry, I believe in the principle of “Worry less about what other people think, say and do”.
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