My worrying issues range from the stain on my newly bought shoes to even my obscure and completely unpredictable future. Perhaps I’m a bit extreme when it comes to worrying, but surely most people have the experiences of worrying about things that are in fact mere trifles and wasting their valuable time on them. To those of you who find yourselves in my situation, Dale Carnegie gives a clear and effective solution in his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Dale Carnegie himself used to be a pessimistic and unhappy person who despised his life, but his life changed completely after he discovered the way of conquering worries. That is already a good place to start as this book is not written by some optimist telling everyone to just be happy, but by someone who can place himself in our shoes and give realistic and useful advice on how not to worry. The writing style is also quite helpful. Simply put, Carnegies writes like he talks. This makes the book reader-friendly, and easy to understand, rather like a good friend giving you a piece of advice.
This book is divided into ten sections, each of them dealing with some aspect of worrying. The writer starts off by giving us a brief introduction of worry. Though we do not realize it, worrying is one of the biggest problems facing mankind. One in ten people in the United States has a nervous breakdown induced mostly by worry and fear. Seventy percent of patients who come to physicians can cure themselves if they manage to remove their worries. Stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, rheumatism, colds, and even death can be caused by this seemingly unimportant factor.
So, what exactly can we do to rid ourselves of this unwelcomed guest? In the first part of the book, ‘Fundamental facts you should know about worry’, Carnegie gives us three rules that we should apply in order to avoid worry. First, live in “day-tight compartments” which means we should just focus on today and not carry the burden of the past and worry about the future. Second, analyze your worry by asking, “What is the worst that can happen?” and then mentally accept the worst and calmly improve from the situation which you have already accepted. Third, always remind yourself of the huge impact worry has on your health.
Carnegie then teaches us basic techniques in analyzing worry. In order to effectively evaluate your worry, you must first get the facts. We must come to a decision only after carefully weighing all the facts. After you’ve made a decision, you must get busy carrying out your decision and get rid of all anxiety about the outcome. However, if you are still tempted to worry about a problem, answer the following questions: 1. what is the problem? 2. What is the cause of the problem? 3. What are all possible solutions? 4. What is the best solution?
The book may come across as common sense, but it is quite original and enlightening at many parts. The writer’s suggestion of keeping busy so as to clear your mind of worry turned out to be one of the best ways to stop worrying. He also recommends that we cooperate with the inevitable situations and let the past bury its dead. In order to bring about a healthy mental attitude, he tells us to never waste a minute thinking about people we don’t like and also not to expect gratitude from others but to give for the joy of giving. My favorite is forgetting my own unhappiness by trying to make others happy. Following these principles will not only help you get these thoughts out of your mind, but also improve your relationship and life.
This book does not give creative, never-before-seen tips, but it does give good old-fashioned common sense which will help ease your mind. According to Carnegie, it is not ignorance but inaction that makes us suffer from worry. This book really makes you look back and think about why you’re worrying and if these things are really worth worrying about. The book truly deserves its status as one of the bestsellers in the world and it can truly transform the way of your thinking. The book will soothe your exhausted soul and body by providing an exit from this worry-filled world. The book is not just about lessening the mental fatigue that comes from worrying too much - it is about how to proceed in our lives by getting rid of these unnecessary obstacles which we have created for ourselves. If you are looking for a life-changing experience, this book is a must-read.