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How To Stop Worrying And Start Living

Book Review: How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie

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.

Lastly, 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.

I am definitely willing to share this book if you are in the vicinity!

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Categories: Self-Help
  1. May 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Nice summary of a famous book. Lots of folks have spent big money and mucho time on his course.

    I am looking for input on “success”, what makes it real for you?

    looking for comments @ http://success21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/hello-world/#comments

    • pinoyleonardo
      May 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks! It’s actually just my takeout of the book and not really a summary. I posted a comment on your blog. Good luck to your endeavor.

  2. May 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hi, Pinoy

    You’re a terrific writer! For not living in the United States, your grammar is impeccable. I really enjoyed reading this post!

    Unfortunately, I’m not a book reader. With being mom to a 5 and 7 year old, my free time is spent blogging. I am trying to read a book here and there, but it falls in the fictional/fluff category. (not requiring much- or any- critical thinking) so that when I’m interrupted 5-10 times or fall asleep, I haven’t lost much of the story.

    thanks for sharing!
    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com
    Lake Forest, California USA

    • pinoyleonardo
      May 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Hi Sandi- if you are not into personal development books- just read my reviews- you can get something out of it- it takes one minute! haha.

    • Ben
      May 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      If you say Pinoy, you are also addressing to me 🙂

      • pinoyleonardo
        May 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

        That’s good. Looks like I am going to work on book reviews a lot now. Haha.

  3. Ben
    May 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks for the things you have learned. I definitely need to hear that. I kept worrying about anything. I am a pessimistic person, I think of ill of anything because I try to console myself that if a certain thing didn’t worked at least “I didn’t get my hopes high”. But I actually, I am only fooling myself. Afraid and worried if I take a leap of faith.

    PS: When you comment to another blog, include your blog site. See its harder to contact you when you don’t include it. I actually have to type robaminute.wordpress.com. Just a thought though. :]

    PPS: I enjoyed reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It is a down-to-earth explanation, with quirky designs and heart-felt stories. A True Gift for us, Teenagers. :]

    • pinoyleonardo
      May 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      I suppose you know you can actually click my avatar and you get my blogsite- right? 😉

  4. Rey
    May 16, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Nice post! There are so many Dale Carnegie books and most of them, if not all, are timeless classics, very applicable in this day and age. I’ve read a few of them a long time ago and it is refreshing to read new reviews on old-time classics. Sometimes one gets lost in the everyday grind that we don’t think of the power of sitting in the king’s throne and do some reflective reading. This is a good way of sitting back, putting your life in front of you and reflecting on one’s undertakings. What a way to relieve .. err.. relieve stress and ponder at the same time! 😉

  5. May 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    sort of a good book,”If you have a lemon, make a lemonade” this rare saying struck me.I must agree with it that whatever is in store for us we should have to be grateful,whatever we have we should make the best out of it,
    you have compiled the learnings very well.nice post anyway..

  6. May 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Nice post!…such reading has deep meaning to the public readers w/c can give realization somehow. I would be glad if we can exchange network blogs and followers as well. Thank’s a lot and God Speed…

    • pinoyleonardo
      May 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you Gracia for dropping by. Send me an email or join Networked Blogs where you can find me and network with other blogs. 😉

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