This book gives very practical and helpful ways to fight against the worry and anxiety that tends to creep into life. The information is well organized and each chapter ends with a rule that summarizes the entire chapter in one sentence. I found this extremely helpful to aid in remembering the ideas from the book. In the past I have read and thoroughly enjoyed How to Win Friends & Influence People, another book written by Dale Carnegie, and this book was not a disappointment. I was just surprised I had never heard of it and had to rely on Amazon’s suggestion based on other books I have ordered or viewed to make me aware of it. Here are a few of the helpful ideas I got from the book.
- The Anti-Worry Technique
In the book Carnegie provides a 3 step anti-worry technique that I have been using against my own worries and stresses and find very effective.
- The first step is to analyze your worry or anxiety honestly and reduce it down to the worst-case scenario. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen?
- Once you have determined the worst that could happen, reconcile yourself to accept the worst, if you needed to. Could you keep going on in life if the worst outcome came true?
- After you have figured out the worst that could happen and reconciled in your mind that you could accept it if you needed to, spend your time and energy figuring out how to make the situation better. What is within your control to improve the situation?
I often sabotage my productivity and concentration by worrying and stewing over problems without actually addressing them appropriately. This 3 step technique has provided me with the framework to address my worries and anxieties in a helpful way.
- Act the way you want to feel
We often assume that our actions follow our feelings, however, it is actually the other way around. Our feelings follow our actions. This means we should act the way we want to feel.
Emerson said: “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
Marcus Aurelius said: “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Norman Vincent said: “…you are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.”
William James said: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
Personally it is far easier to believe that I am at the mercy of my feelings. This way I do not have to take responsibility for my actions when they are a result of my negative feelings. The truth is I am in control of my feelings because I can control my actions. I am in the process of learning that to feel joyful I must act joyful, even if I do not feel happy. The arena that we win or lose is in our thoughts. Your life will always move in the direction of your strongest thoughts.
- How to stop worrying about criticism
When people criticize you remember it is often a compliment in disguise. Criticism from others means you are doing something worthy of attention. Human nature is to criticize those who are better educated or more successful than ourselves. As the saying goes ‘No one ever kicks a dead dog.’
Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized, anyway. You’ll be ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Look at the facts, make a decision to do what you feel is right, and let the criticism roll right off you like water off of a ducks back.
Realize that everyone does foolish things now and again. Instead of stewing over these foolish things or arguing against them, learn from them. Often criticism has a kernel of truth. Instead of fighting against criticism, use it in whatever way you can to help you get better and thank your critic for their helpful feedback. As Eleanor Roosevelt also said, “Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”