How do you laugh in challenging times?
How do you maintain a positive attitude when the world appears to be falling apart around you?
If you are asking yourself this type of questions I would urge you to read a most excellent book by Dale Carnegie titled “How to stop worrying and start living“. It is loaded with lots of very specific ideas for conquering stress in the moment. The book is divided into eight parts with several chapters in each.
In 1909 Dale Carnegie, by his own description, was one of the unhappiest lads in New York. He was selling motor trucks for a living and doing poorly. He despised his job, his ratty furnished room and his lousy neckties. He despised the cockroaches who shared his room. Eventually he could take it no longer and resolved to change his life – and he did. He stopped worrying and started making progress.
In his book Carnegie describes the methods which he personally found useful in stopping the worry that traps so many of us as well as approaches he learned from many others. He interviewed hundreds of successful people to learn their methods.
In this article you will find a concise summary of the wisdom shared in each of the following 8 chapters of the book:
- Part One: Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry
- Part Two: Basic Techniques in Analyzing Worry
- Part Three: How to Break the Worry Habit Before It Breaks You
- Part Four: Seven Ways to Cultivate a Mental Attitude that Will Bring You Peace and Happiness
- Part Five: The Perfect Way to Conquer Worry
- Part Six: How to Keep From Worrying About Criticism
- Part Seven: Six Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High
- Part Eight: “How I Conquered Worry”
Part One: Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry
- Live in “Day-tight Compartments” – Most worrying comes down to either things entirely out of your control or things that are further out than today. That makes the situation look much more difficult. What we should do is to focus just on today. Do your best today, the future will take care of itself.
- A Magic Formula for Solving Worry Situations – To solve worry situations, there are three steps you should do. First, ask yourself “what is the worst that could happen?”. Second, be willing to accept the worst if necessary. Third, calmly try to fix the situation you have accepted. For long-term worries, focus on the immediate task at hand and do it as well as you possibly can, because even if the connection isn’t obvious, doing the best you can on your immediate task will help solve that long term task, either directly (by building a foundation for making it easier) or indirectly (by opening up alternate paths).
Part Two: Basic Techniques in Analyzing Worry
- When you’re worried about something, be proactive. Start gathering as many facts as you can about the situation, then use those facts to develop a plan of attack. Once the attack plan is in place, get down to business implementing that plan and just focus on the task at hand. Most worrying is reactive – take it to the problem by being proactive.
- It all comes down to four questions: what is the problem? What is the cause of the problem? What are all possible solutions? What is the best solution? Answer these questions in order and you’ll dig down to the root of any worry and attack it head on.
Part Three: How to Break the Worry Habit Before It Breaks You
- How to Crowd Worry Out of Your Mind – There is one simple way to crowd worry out of your mind: make yourself busy. When our mind is occupied with work, we won’t have time to worry.
- Co-operate with the Inevitable – Often we aren’t happy because we try to change things we can’t change. We should learn to identify those things and accept them.
Part Four: Seven Ways to Cultivate a Mental Attitude that Will Bring You Peace and Happiness
In a nutshell, the seven methods are:
- Meditation Spend some time filling your mind with thoughts of peace. Find a meditative technique that works for you and practice it.
- Don’t worry about enemies Instead of thinking about people you don’t like, spend some time thinking about people that you do like.
- Forget about ingratitude If someone else isn’t grateful for your help, don’t worry about it in the least. It’s a reflection on them, not you, so don’t concern yourself with it.
- Count your blessings Think of all the good things you have in life.
- Don’t imitate others Find your own path. Imitation leads directly to jealousy.
- Look for positives in the negative If something bad happens, try to find the positives in it.
- Be nice to others Even if you’re unhappy, positive actions and attitudes towards others might make others less unhappy.
Part Five: The Perfect Way to Conquer Worry
Interestingly, it’s prayer, whether you happen to believe in a God or not. The point of prayer isn’t that you necessarily expect someone to answer or that you’re communicating with a higher power (though this is definitely of importance to people of faith), but that you can express what ails you, voice it in some fashion within, and open yourself up to receiving an answer, whether from your own subconscious or from a higher power. If you haven’t prayed, even if you’re an atheist, give it a shot.
Part Six: How to Keep From Worrying About Criticism
Criticism comes in two flavors:
- If it’s unjustified, just view it as a compliment – it’s coming from a person jealous of your success.
- If it’s well-stated and mature, be thankful for it, because it’s coming from someone who sincerely wants to help you and may have wisdom to share.
This eliminates a lot of criticism; You can fend off the rest by just doing your best and then weathering it when it happens.
Part Seven: Six Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High
- How to Add One Hour a Day to Your Waking Life – While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to increase your productivity is to take rest regularly. Take rest before you feel tired. Doing this simple thing will energize yourself throughout the day and enable you to accomplish more.
- How to Banish the Boredom That Produces Fatigue, Worry, and Resentment – Learning to banish boredom is essential for happiness. An effective way to do that is by making what you do interesting. Even things that look boring can be made interesting if you are creative. For example, you can turn your work into a contest either just for yourself or with your colleagues.
Part Eight: “How I Conquered Worry”
This part contains many stories of individuals who applied the principles outlined in previous parts. There are also some new tips that haven’t been covered before. One of them is reading history. Reading history helps you get wider perspective of the world so that you can see how small your problem actually is.[/sociallocker]