On How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

I recently finished reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

The main premise of the book is best summarized by the author in its preface: “That is what this book is: a collection of successful and time-tested recipes to rid our lives of worry. However, let me warn you: you won’t find anything new in it, but you will find much that is not generally applied. And when it comes to that, you and I don’t need to be told anything new. We already know enough to lead perfect lives. We have all read the golden rule and the Sermon on the Mount. Our trouble is not ignorance, but inaction. The purpose of this book is to restate, illustrate, streamline, air-condition, and glorify a lot of ancient and basic truths—and kick you in the shins and make you do something about applying them.”

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “NINE SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS BOOK: 1. Develop a deep, driving desire to master the principles of conquering worry. 2. Read each chapter twice before going on to the next one. 3. As you read, stop frequently to ask yourself how you can apply each suggestion. 4. Underscore each important idea. 5. Review this book each month. 6. Apply these principles at every opportunity. Use this volume as a working handbook to help you solve your daily problems. Make a lively game out of your learning by offering some friend a quarter every time you are caught violating one of these principles. 8. Check up each week on the progress you are making. Ask yourself what mistakes you have made, what improvement, what lessons you have learned for the future. 9. Keep a diary in the back of this book showing how and when you have applied these principles.”

2- “FUNDAMENTAL FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WORRY Rule 1: If you want to avoid worry, do what Sir William Osier did: Live in “day-tight compartments.” Don’t stew about the future. Just live each day until bedtime. Rule 2: The next time Trouble—with a Capital T—backs you up in a comer, try the magic formula of Willis H. Carner: a. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can’t solve my problem?” b. Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst— if necessary. c. Then calmly try to improve upon the worst which you have already mentally agreed to accept. Rule 3: Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health. “Those who do not know how to fight worry die young.”

3- “BASIC TECHNIQUES IN ANALYZING WORRY Rule 1: Get the facts. Remember that Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that “half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision. Rule 2: After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision. Rule 3: Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your decision—and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome. Rule 4: When you, or any of your associates, are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions: a. What is the problem? b. What is the cause of the problem? c. What are all possible solutions? d. What is the best solution?”

4- “HOW TO BREAK THE WORRY HABIT BEFORE IT BREAKS YOU Rule 1: Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the best therapies ever devised for curing “wibber gibbers.’ Rule 2: Don’t fuss about trifles. Don’t permit little things—the mere termites of life—to ruin your happiness. Rule 3: Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: “What are the odds against this thing’s happening at all?” Rule 4: Co-operate with the inevitable. If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself: “It is so; it cannot be otherwise. Rule 5: Put a “stop-loss” order on your worries. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth—and refuse to give it any more. Rule 6: Let the past bury its dead. Don’t saw sawdust.”

5- “William James, who has never been topped in his knowledge of if practical psychology, once made this observation: “Action seems to j follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not”.”

6- “If we want to find happiness, let’s stop thinking about gratitude or ingratitude and give for the inner joy of giving.”

7- “The most important thing in life is not to capitalize on your gains. Any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your losses. That requires intelligence; and it makes the difference between a man of sense and a fool.”

8- “SEVEN WAYS TO CULTIVATE A MENTAL ATTITUDE THAT WILL BRING YOU PEACE AND HAPPINESS Rule 1: Let’s fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for “our life is what our thoughts make it. RULE 2: Let’s never try to get even with our enemies, because we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them. Let’s do as General Eisenhower does: let’s never waste a minute thinking about people we don’t like. Rule 3: A. Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let’s expect it. Let’s remember that Jesus healed ten lepers in one day—and only one thanked Him. Why should we expect more gratitude than Jesus got? ^. Let’s remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude—but to give for the joy of giving. C. Let’s remember that gratitude is a “cultivated’ it; so if we want our children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful. Rule 4: Count your blessings—not your troubles! Rule 5: Let’s not imitate others. Let’s find ourselves 5 and be ourselves, for “envy is ignorance” and “imitation is suicide. Rule 6: When fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to make a lemonade. Rule 7: Let’s forget our own unhappiness—by trying to create a little happiness for others. “When you are good to others, you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”

9- “HOW TO KEEP FROM WORRYING ABOUT CRITICISM Rule 1: Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. It often means that you have aroused jealousy and envy. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog. Rule 2: Do the very best you can; and then put up your old umbrella and keep the rain of criticism from running down the back of your neck. RULE 3: Let’s keep a record of the fool things we have done and criticize ourselves. Since we can’t hope to be perfect, let’s do what E. H. Little did: let’s ask for unbiased, helpful, constructive criticism.”

10- “SIX WAYS TO PREVENT FATIGUE AND WORRY AND KEEP YOUR ENERGY AND SPIRITS HIGH Rule I: Rest before you get tired. Rule 2: Learn to relax at your work. Rule 3: Learn to relax at home. Rule 4: Apply these four good working habits: a. Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand. b. Do things in the order of their importance. c. When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision. d. Learn to organize, deputize, and supervise. RULE 5: To prevent worry and fatigue, put enthusiasm into your work. RULE 6: Remember, no one was ever killed by lack of sleep. It is worrying about insomnia that does the damage—not the insomnia.”


Omar Halabieh

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living


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