Priscilla's Friends

Hi friends,

I was about to embark on the laborious task of summarizing one of the best
commonsense books on Worry in the English language - Dale Carnegie's 'How to
Stop Worrying and Start Living' (World's Book 1948) and a Google search
found that Carnegie had done the job himself! Whoopee! (Don't need to worry
about that now!!!).

I first read it as a teenager fifty years ago, and picked it up again

This is Dale Carnegie's summary:


Part One

Fundamental facts you should know about worry

If you want to avoid worry, do what Sir William Osler did: Live in
"day-tight compartments." Don't stew about the futures. Just live each day
until bedtime.

The next time Trouble--with a Capital T--backs you up in a corner, try the
magic formula of Willis H. Carrier:
Ask yourself, "What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can't solve
my problem?

Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst--if necessary.

Then calmly try to improve upon the worst--which you have already mentally
agreed to accept.

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."


Part Two

Basic techniques in analyzing worry

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."

After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision.

Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your
decision--and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome.

When you, or any of your associates, are tempted to worry about a problem,
write out and answer the following questions:

What is the problem?
What is the cause of the problem?
What are all possible solutions?
What is the best solution?


Part Three

How to break the worry habit before it breaks you

Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the
best therapies ever devised for curing "wibber gibbers."

Don't fuss about trifles. Don't permit little things--the mere termites of
life--to ruin your happiness.

Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: "What are the
odds against this thing's happening at all?"

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

Put a "stop-less" order on your worries. Decide just how much anxiety a
thing may be worth--and refuse to give it anymore.

Let the past bury its dead. Don't saw sawdust.


Part Four

Seven ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and

Let's fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for
"our life is what our thoughts make it."

Let's never try to get even with our enemies, because if 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.

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.

Let's remember that gratitude is a "cultivated" trait; so if we want our
children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful.

Count your blessings--not your troubles!

Let's not imitate others. Let's find ourselves and be ourselves, for "envy
is ignorance" and "imitation is suicide."

When fate hands us a lemon, let's try to make a lemonade.

Let's forget our own unhappiness--by trying to create a little happiness for
others. "When you are good to others, you are best to yourself."


Part Five

The perfect way to conquer worry



Part Six

How to keep from worrying about criticism

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.

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.

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.


Part Seven

Six ways to prevent fatigue and worry and keep your energy and spirits high

Rest before you get tired.

Learn to relax at your work.

Learn to relax at home.

Apply these four good workings habits:

Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem
at hand.

Do things in the order of their importance.

When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts to
make a decision.

Learn to organize, deputize, and supervise.

To prevent worry and fatigue, put enthusiasm into your work.

Remember, no one was ever killed by lack of sleep. It is worrying about
insomnia that does the damage--not the insomnia.


Discuss any or all of these:

1. Talk about the things which cause you anxiety. Apply some of the wisdom
above to your worries.

2. Why is Jesus' advice about worry in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew
6:25-34) so relevant?

3. Look up the words 'Worry' 'anxiety' 'anxious' etc. in your Bible
concordance. How would you summarize their wisdom?

4. 'Live in daytight compartments'. 'Carpe diem' ('Seize the day!). 'This is
the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoive and be glad in it!'
'Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today!' (Horace). 'Lead kindly
light... I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.'
'Anyone can carry their burden until nightfall' (R L Stevenson). 'Every day
is a new life to a wise person'. Why does so much ancient and modern wisdom
say the same thing?

5. Captain W E Johns used to make his hero Biggles say: 'When I fly an
aeroplane; mostly nothing goes wrong. If something does go wrong, it's
usually very minor. If it is not minor it can nevertheless mostly not affect
my getting to the destination safely. If it is more major than that there's
a small chance I may have to land somewhere else. If I land somewhere else
there's an excellent chance I'll survive...' etc. Apply that wisdom to
something in your life which causes you concern (like your most recent

6. 'The Lord may forgive us our sins, but the nervous system never does'
said the old psychologist William James. How can we cooperate with the Lord
in all this?

7. 'More Americans commit suicide each year than die from the five most
common communicable diseases' (Dale Carnegie, p. 48). Why?

8. Carnegie cites Galen Litchfield's solution to worry (pp. 55 ff.): 1.
Writing down precisely what I am worrying about. 2. Writing down what I can
do about it. 3. Deciding what to do. 4. Starting immediately to carry out
that decision.' Why is this strategy so effective?

9. Why may busy-ness be either good or bad for you in terms of worry? 'The
secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you
are happy or not' (G B Shaw) Is this always true? Discuss the value of the
axiom 'A burden shared is a burden halved' in this regard.

10. You may have heard the old Mother Goose rhyme: 'For every ailment under
the sun, / There is a remedy, or there is none; / If there be one, try to
find it; / If there be none, never mind it.' Discuss this wisdom in the
light of the famous Serenity Prayer ('Lord, give me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change; to change the things I can; and the wisdom to
know the difference').

11. An executive wrote: "I'm so worried about it, I ...  lose sleep at
night; drink too much; have a short fuse; blame others; argue a lot; can't
get any work done at all; push too hard for the close; can't concentrate
effectively; -- all of the above." Which of these reactions can you identify
with - in what order?

12. Discuss how many of our problems really belong to other people. How can
we avoid carrying their load as well as ours?

13. Here's one person's solution to taking work worries home: 'Find a
landmark that you pass on your way home every day. The landmark can be a
natural one, such as a certain tree or rock formation, or, it can be a
specific street or store, etc. Whatver it is, the point of this exercise is
to then, on your way home from work the next time, remind yourself that when
you see your chosen landmark, you will make yourself forget the office or
the factory, or wherever you work, and begin to think of your time off.
Remind yourself that you have finished your work day, and that it is time to
relax and enjoy your time away from your paid job.' Would something like
this work for you?

14. 'Women are more likely to share their worries with someone else than
men.' Why?

15. Here's a therapist's advice: 'Think about the word "self-conscious" --
conscious of self. When you're self-conscious, your attention is split in
two -- one half of you is trying to act while the other is sitting back
appraising (usually criticizing) how you're doing. It's this split that can
immobilize you. If you're in the grip of self-consciousness, make an effort
to notice something -- anything -- around you to bring your attention back
to the world outside. Count the number of people wearing blue or the light
bulbs in the room. Wiggle your feet in your shoes and notice how it feels,
toe by toe. If you're making a presentation, pick out two friendly faces and
talk to them ' How does that help?

16. And finally, try this: 'The root cause of worry/anxiety is not the
problem itself; but the lack of nurturing in our lives from mother, father,
spouse and/or friends.'

Shalom!    Rowland Croucher

January 2002.

rowland @ johnmarkministries . org
Email Jan and Rowland