Book Review: How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Recently, I read a news about this luxury car speeding and figuring in a horrible accident. There was even an amateur video just in front of the incident where the car zoomed and hit a taxi. I could not help but think- what if I was crossing the street, or I was the one in the taxi… there was endless thought and this happens each time I cross the street! Has this happened to you? What were you thinking of? A scenario and an endless choice of consequences? Maybe you thought about the job and feared how you might lose it, whether you were getting that promotion or forever you will be stuck in your position, what people might think if you start speaking up in a meeting contrary to what you used to do, how your children would turn out when they grow up, if your spouse found a more attractive one and leave you- it’s an endless list. Is it worth the amount of time spent worrying?
Put simply, the book was titled: “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living”. Plain everyday language that anyone can understand. This is one of those books that I have seen in the libraries and in the bookshelves elsewhere and never picked up. I thought, “Yeah right”. Until it found its way into my hands when it was given as complementary book in Cayden Chang’s NLP Training which I attended. I used the book in one of my reflective bathroom reading (if you know what I mean 🙂 ), so even if I have started reading it almost a year ago I am just about to finish reading it these days. This reflective reading is something I do 15 minutes or less in a day to be able to see how I should apply it in my life. I also do this to force me to read in this current day of gadgets and facebook where all of us are guilty of wasting time on garbage 70% of the time. I find this effective rather than falling into not reading at all out of laziness and wanting to brood over iphone and stuff.
Reading through the true story examples, I thought you might hesitate reading it because they come from the early 20th century. Yes, this book was actually first published just as the baby boomers were being born. I am sure you prefer to read a contemporary book with present day examples. But surely as I delved into the book, it did not matter. It was still 21st century-relevant. In fact, it was interesting to hear about these stories from almost a hundred years past.
It made me realize that after all, even if I am not a chronic worrier, I can still learn valuable lessons from this kind of topic. It struck me that it was my obsessive-compulsive “what did I just do a second ago” thought that I needed to address.
The most significant items that I got from this book are:
1. Whatever it is that worries you, put them in black and white, write them down. This gives you a clear and concrete picture of what it is all about. Sometimes, a lot of other things surrounding what you really worry about also add to the picture and cloud your thoughts. After you write them down, get the facts and how you are going to solve them with your options.
2. Ask yourself: “What are the chances, according to the law of averages, that this event I am worrying about will ever occur?” It depends on what you worry about. If you keep on worrying what is going to happen when you leave your child to a nanny, you will come up with a hundred on the list. But what you see on TV, movies or the news is not one that happens in 1 out of 2 kids. It’s a case that stands out because it’s different. I’m not saying that you do not worry that these will ever happen. But as long as you have taken the necessary precaution, you can only do so much. If you worry about something that has a 50/50 chances, go to no. 1.
3. “Put a stop-loss order to your worries”– I quoted from the book itself. It refers to a stock market term that means at this level of stock cost, you should automatically sell your stock even at a loss, no questions asked. I like the term because it sticks to my mind clearly: “STOP! Or else I’ll lose money! I don’t care how much I have lost and how much it MIGHT gain if I wait a while! Cut it off, I don’t want to suffer any longer!”. Although I have learned that there is a better option in investing, that will be a different matter altogether. For the purpose of this topic, I like this scenario as an analogy to stop worrying. Put simply, give yourself a tolerance level when to put a stop on something you worry about. After that, get a solution then let go. For example, if you worry about the prices going up, go monitor the issue in the news, find some solution and move on. Talk about it to express yourself among friends but after`a while, it has to go. At some point, stop talking about it because it will keep you worried unnecessarily.
4. “If you have a lemon, make a lemonade”– another quote from the book. Whatever you have, make the most out of it. Whatever is the turnout of something you’ve been waiting for, accept it or do something about it. Get the emotions out and allow yourself to grieve if it’s a serious loss. But whatever it is, you need to take it in a different light, that is, getting something beneficial out of it.
Lastl9, an inspiring story I picked up from this book is the story of Elmer Thomas in Part 10 Story #3 “How I Got Rid Of An Inferiority Complex”. He was a young man who was tall but weak and was so ashamed of himself he never wanted to talk to anyone but his family. He tried to overcome his fears and went to school. But there, it did not help because he went in shabby clothes because they could not afford to buy new and fashionable ones. One day he challenged himself to join a speech contest and after all the preparation, he won! That started his key to success that landed him to the US Senate and one of the best-dressed senators at that 🙂 .
The book is quite “texty”- full of words as if written while he was spontaneously speaking. If you are the lazy type, you would think that Carnegie could have organized it better and made it shorter and easier to read. It would be an enjoyable reading if you take it in your sweet time in the bathroom or in the park. That way, you facilitate reading this book as a stress-free experience.
Turn your resolution into action! Grab this book NOW! Click here: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living