The title says it all. Dale Carnegie teaches How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- 1. Fundamental facts you should know about worry
- 2. Basic techniques in analyzing worry
- 3. How to break the worry habit before it breaks you
- 4. A mental attitude for peace and happiness
- 5. The perfect way to conquer worry
- 6. How to keep from worrying about criticism
- 7. How to prevent fatigue and worry and keep energy and spirits high
- Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen and be OK with it.
- Then work to improve on that worst case scenario
- Act more, worry less
The message from Dale Carnegie is that worrying too much will make your life shorter and more miserable. Thankfully, there are ways to deal and eliminate worries. Many people have done it, and you can as well.
1. Fundamental facts you should know about worry
Dale Carnegie starts quoting William Osler when he said that one of the best way to deal with worries is to simply care about your present tasks. We usually worry about the future, but the best way to have a good future is to do a good job now.
So make your life more compartmentalized and deal with each single compartment one by one.
The next thing you should know about worry is that it asks you a very heavy price in terms of health.
Albeit Carnegie doesn’t go as deep, what he’s basically advocating is a technique Tony Robbins teaches to changing neuro association. The idea is basically to associate lots of pain to your current behavior that changing becomes a must.
The third one and possibly my favorite is explained in three steps:
- Ask youreslf what’s the worst that can possibly happen if you cannot solve the problem that makes you so worried.
- Accept mentally the worst case scenario and be OK with it
- Work to improve the worst case scenario: you can only get better from there
2. Basic techniques in analyzing worry
- First of all, get all the facts.
- Once you have all the information you need, make a decision.
- Once you have a decision, it’s time to act on it.
No worries, no sweating, just action (read The Obstacle Is The Way for that mindset).
Dale Carnegie also talks about the top insurance salesman in the country. He wasn’t always at the top though and was struggling until he asked himself the following questions:
Rule 4: A Simple Set of Questions to Eliminate Worry
Frank Bettger, one of the top insurance salesmen in America, reduced his worries and multiplied his income. Early in his career he began to despise his work and felt discouraged. He was working too much and was burning out. He was always in meetings and interviews with prospects. He wrote down and answered these questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the cause of the problem?
- What are all the possible solutions?
- What is the best solution?
3. How to break the worry habit before it breaks you
- Stay busy: no free time, no time to worry (my note: don’t do this as Brene Brown explains)
- Don’t allow small things to get in your way
- Understand numbers: chances of catastrophic events are slim
- What you cannot change is not worth worrying about
- Put a stop loss order in your life: after a certain threshold, you move and that’s it
- Stop worrying about the past. It’s useless
4. A mental attitude for peace and happiness
- Think and act joyfully and you’ll be joyful
- Thinking about what we don’t like is poisonous: don’t waste a minute with people you don’t like
- Don’t expect gratitude and you will not be disappointed by the lack of it
- Focus and count your blessings, not your troubles
- Be yourself and don’t try to copy others
- Do the best with your losses. Profit from them. When life give you lemons, make a lemonade
- Help others to help yourself
5. The perfect way to conquer worry
Dale Carnegie suggests that believing in a greater being, in God, and praying, is a great antidote for worry.
6. How to keep from worrying about criticism
- Unfair criticism is often a compliment: it means you have raised envy
- Grow a thicker skin: you’ll be criticized anyway. Your job is to do your best, not to avoid criticism
- Criticize yourself first and then ask for more criticism: it’s the best way to grow
7. How to prevent fatigue and worry and keep energy and spirits high
Churchill took two naps a day during WWII. Make sure you get enough rest as well.
At work, clear your desk of all papers: mess around you translates into mental mess and stress. Then prioritize and execute (a mantra of Extreme Ownership).
Map Without Compass
All the tips make sense, but they’re also common sense. What would have been more useful are all the nitty gritty of how to actually do it. I believe guys like Tony Robbins do a better job at that.
Too Busy To Worry… Really?
The suggestion to get too busy to worry is not only stupid but counterproductive. It doesn’t address the root cause.
It’s like telling the hangover patient to keep drinking and the headache will go away. Better drinking water instead. The hang over will take more time to heal but it addresses the root causes.
How to stop worrying and start living is one of the grandfathers of the self help books, together with Carnegie’s other timeless How to Win Friends & Influence People.
The content is great and most of it is evergreen -as Ray Dalio said, great is better than new-. However, don’t miss out on new contemporary authors because neuroscience developed a lot since Carnegie and can teach us a lot.
- The brain that changes itself
- Phantoms in the Brain,
- How to develop a growth mindset
- Tony Robbins on changing neuro associations
If you enjoy this summary Stop Worrying and Start Living with Dale Carnegie: Get the book on Amazon