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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living : Dale Carnegie

I think ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie is a classic in self-help and been so-loved for so long that I don’t see myself qualified enough to review it. However I would like to collate my takeaway from this book and I hope it can help someone out there who hasn’t got chance to read this book. Though I will still recommend reading the book if you find time. This book is so comprehensive that it covers a lot of things and anyone reading it will be able to takeaway at least one or things that they can apply in their life.

The books started with the explanation of how worry is detrimental to our health and our life. Dale Carnegie gives us the example of Chinese war lords who used the method of torture to prisoners’ where they tie their prisoners’ hands and legs and put them under a bag of water that constantly drips on their head. The constant sound feels like a hammer beating and used to drive men insane.

Worry is like the constant drip, drip, drip of water; and the constant drip, drip, drip of worry often drives men to insanity and suicide

Now since we know that it is so harmful for us, then what’s the way to tackle it if we feel burned under constant worry. Dale suggested some very practical suggestions here:

  • Get the facts: Half the problem in the world is caused people try to take decisions based on half baked information
  • Weigh the facts and arrive at decision
  • After deciding get into action without worrying about outcome

The above thing is good tips about actionable worries. But there are many times in life when we are burdened by worries which are beyond our control. Here are few points that can help us in dealing with such situations

1. Keep yourself busy: As pointed out by Dale, it is utterly impossible for human mind to think about 2 things at a time, however brilliant he/she is. Taking this law to our advantage we can be so engrossed in our work to even notice that we are worried or unhappy

2. Don’t fuss about trifles: Very few of us in our lives are greatly wronged. Most of the heartaches is caused by small blow to our indignities and self esteem.

Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember ‘Life is too short to be little

3. Analyze the odds: Nearly all the unhappiness and worries comes from our imagination and not from the reality. So, whenever we worry about something that isn’t real let’s analyze the facts that what are the real odds of it happening ever

4. Accept the inevitable: Sometimes we have unpleasant experiences in life which can’t be otherwise. Now the choice is ours whether we accept the inevitable or wreck ourselves being a rebellion

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

5. Get over past: We do make mistakes and blunders in our life and so do everyone but there is no point dwelling in them. Always remember: ‘Don’t try to saw sawdust’

It is good to know the tools and tips to tackle something when it comes. But to live a fuller life, how can one develop a mindset that will help them to live a worry-free life throughout. Dale suggested few of these ideas which really stuck to me:

1. Being more mindful: Our thoughts make us what we are. As pointed out by Dale, a man is not hurt much by what happens, as by the opinion of what happens. And our opinion of what happens if totally up to us. So, let’s fill our mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope

2. Forgive your enemies: When we hate our enemies, we give them power us. In the long run, everyone will pay for their karma. So, instead of hating them let’s pity them and thank God that life has not made us what they are

3. Accept ingratitude: We are going to meet so many people in life who are ungrateful, selfish and egoistical. But one has to accept the world with it. Always remember that the real joy is not to expect gratitude but to give for the joy of giving

They long to be loved; but the only way in this world that they can every hope to be loved is to stop asking for it and to start pouring out love without hope of return.

4. Count your blessings: Now this is most important thing in life to be happy and live worry free. Always remember

I had the blues because I had no shoes, until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.

5. Be yourself: Nobody is more miserable than the person who longs to be someday other than the person he is in body and mind. So, let’s not imitate others and let’s try to find ourselves

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley- but be the best little scrub by the side of the hill;

6. Make best out of the worse: I would like to explain this point just with a single quote

Two men looked out from the prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw the stars

7. Have a spirit of giving: Let’s forget our unhappiness by trying to create a little happiness for others. As one say “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself”

And after this last but not the least. Believe in the power of prayer. Believe that you are not alone in worst of the worst situations. And you will be surprised to see what wonders a little faith does.

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