If You Are Worried About Life, You Should Read This Book
5 Key lessons to overcome your worries
Let’s be honest with ourselves; no one could lead a perfect life without having any worries.
We all have our problems, and how we handle those difficult times and make a comeback in life is what distinguishes between normal and greatness.
In those difficult times, it’s completely normal to act abnormally. We can’t think clearly and often expect help from others.
What if you had a book that could help you deal with all your problems?
In this article, I’ll share five takeaways that I learned after reading the book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie.
Key Takeaway 1: Every Day is a New Day
Yesterday is dead and tomorrow is unborn — so do not worry about them. Instead, focus only on what you can do today.
Are you struggling with your sleep because you’re thinking about your future problems or something that happened in the past?
People often worry about past and future problems and neglect today.
One woman who had lost her husband was filled with grief and loneliness. One day, while reading an article, she stumbled across the quote: ‘Every day is a new life to a wise man.’
Inspired by this quote, the woman pasted it on her car windshield. Each morning, she reminded herself that ‘Today is a new life.’ By living one day at a time, she overcame her loneliness in life.
It’s easy to say, but not thinking about it takes some hard work. Nevertheless, we have to commit strongly to this.
My strategy to follow ‘living one day at a time’ is by scheduling daily worry time. If you want to think about your problems, then you should do it during those designated times alone.
Worry time doesn’t need to be lengthy; a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes is more than enough.
Whenever negative thoughts pop up, simply say, ‘Stop it! I have allocated specific time for you.’
Key Takeaway 2: Magic Formula
Buckle up! I’m going to share the magic formula to eliminate all your worries.
And the magic formula is…….
“Preparing for worst-case scenario”
The technique comprises three steps:
1. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen with your worry?
2. Prepare to accept the worst-case scenario.
3. Now, think about how you can improve the worst-case scenario.
Let’s delve into the story of Earl P. Haney. He suffered from an incurable ulcer, which led him to worry excessively and lose interest in life.
One day, he made a decision to embark on a world tour before his health worsened further. Interestingly, he also prepared for the worst-case scenario by bringing a casket with him on the ship.
As Haney traveled, he began to find enjoyment in his journey and formed many new friendships along the way. After a few weeks, he had nearly forgotten about the stomach ulcer that had once consumed his thoughts.
The trip not only brought him joy but also allowed him to refresh his perspective on life.
Now, let’s apply the magic formula to Haney’s story:
· Haney asked himself about his worst-case scenario, and the answer was death due to his incurable ulcer.
· Next, he prepared to accept the possibility of death.
· He attempted to improve the situation by embarking on a journey around the world.
This shows how Haney’s approach aligns with the magic formula, ultimately leading to a positive change in his life.
Key Takeaway 3: The Law of Average
One of my favorite quotes from Seneca the Stoic philosopher is “You suffer more often in imagination than reality”
Think about your past worries for two minutes. These could be anything like a failure in studies, job changes, interviews, relationships, etc. I bet you’ll find that most of those worries never actually happened.
Now, you might even smile when you think about those small, imaginative concerns.
Many times, we worry about things that have a very slim chance of happening in reality.
To avoid these imaginative worries, think about the situation and analyze the chances of the event actually occurring.
For instance, if you work as a salesman for a big reputable company, and you must meet your monthly target, a few days before the end of the month, you might find yourself worrying about the target.
Now, let’s apply the law of averages, which states, “The likelihood of events evens out if the frequency is increased.”
If you increase the number of new customers you meet, you will increase the chances of achieving your target.
Consider another example: You are applying for a new job, and you have received many rejections. Instead of worrying, try to increase the frequency of applying for jobs. This will certainly increase your chances of landing a new job.
The key insight here is to ask yourself, ‘What are the chances of the event I’m worrying about actually happening?’ By increasing your efforts or actions, you can often improve those chances.
Key Takeaway 4: Handling Criticism
People often expect positive feedback from others, but in reality, it’s not possible to receive positive comments all the time.
Consider any celebrities or politicians; some people shower them with extreme love, while others show no interest at all.
No matter how accomplished you are in life, there will always be some people who dislike you.
This is a common occurrence and happens even to great leaders. They overcome this phase easily because they understand that ‘You can’t please everyone.’
We often worry about receiving criticism, but unfortunately, we forget how to handle all the praise we receive.
The human tendency is to fixate on one negative comment and disregard nine other positive ones, a phenomenon commonly known as negativity bias.
So, it’s important to stop expecting only good things all the time. When you encounter criticism, try not to take it personally.
Remember that you’re not defined by just one negative comment; it doesn’t reflect your true self.
Key Takeaway 5: If You Have Lemon, Make Lemonade
"Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud and the other saw the stars."
In Florida, there was a farmer who purchased a piece of land and felt worried because he couldn’t do anything with it. The land was surrounded by rattlesnakes, making it unsuitable for raising pigs or crops.
However, one day, he decided to turn his liability into an opportunity. He started a business involving rattlesnakes, selling snake meat, and poison to laboratories, and using their skins to make handbags and shoes.
This farmer turned a challenging situation into a profitable venture. He didn’t dwell on his liability; instead, he focused on finding a way out of the trap. Similarly, you can change your fate with this type of attitude.
Always focus on the positive side of your problems; this kind of thinking can help you achieve success in life.
When life presents continuous challenges, some individuals tend to indulge in self-pity and seek sympathy from others.
However, receiving pity from others may provide momentary comfort, but it’s not a lasting solution.
To overcome this, I follow a root cause analysis approach by asking myself two questions:
· What have I learned from the problem?
· How can I overcome it in the future?
For instance, if you have a job interview, and it doesn’t go well, instead of dwelling on the failure, reflect on where you might have gone wrong.
Was it poor communication, lack of preparation, or issues with your body language?
Once you determine the root cause, you can start thinking about solutions to the problem. This way, in your next interview, you can perform much better and avoid making the same mistakes.
In conclusion, facing life’s problems is a common experience, and by applying a few techniques, you can overcome these challenges and improve your mental well-being.
Try to live one day at a time, apply the magic formula when encountering problems, utilize the law of averages and root cause analysis to prevent future failures, and remember not to take everything personally or expect sympathy from others.
These strategies can help you navigate life’s obstacles more effectively and maintain a positive outlook.