How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

While Dale Carnegie’s most famous and enduring book is How to Win Friends and Influence People ( check out this excellent summary) this somewhat overlooked gem is one of his most important works.

Life inevitably brings with it problems and stress. When this book was written,Carnegie’s generation had been through the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom. Nowadays in these advanced times people still go through, much like before, times of business setbacks, illness, family troubles, and many other hardships.

This book’s ultimate message is that the worry and anxiety created by all of life’s challenges can be controlled. Not only that, worry is optional. If we wish to live with happiness, and peace of mind, we must first deal with worry before we tackle our problems.

I have to admit, I was constantly cracking up while reading this book. If there is one drawback, it’s that it is written in a very old-fashioned (and corny) language. That is not to say that the advice in the book isn’t good, it is, but even when Dale Carnegie recounts experiences from people who have been through war, illness, and economic hardship, his language comes through as overly peppy and platitudinous. I think that the Looney Tunes and Tex Avery were making fun of the way this guy wrote and spoke!

The following is a chapter-by-chapter summary. While I have written this summary in a way that it succinctly summarizes the main ideas, I recommend reading the entire book because it contains so many more stories and situations and tiny nuances:


Rule 1: Live in Day-Tight Compartments

Twenty-one words written by Thomas Carlyle over 200 years ago: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what is clearly at hand.”

Sir William Osler, a famous physician who help found the John Hopkins School of Medicine, would share this wisdom with his students: Live in day-tight compartments; the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.

Ted Bengermino, a man who worked at the Graves Registration in the US Army during World War II, was always nervous and worried during his job. He was so worried that, out of extreme pain in his stomach caused by the stress, he lost weight and had to be hospitalized. An army doctor gave him this advice: “I want you to think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass; and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass. When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel that we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, as do the grains of sand passing through the narrow neck of the hourglass, then we are bound to break our own physical and mental structure. One grain of sand at a time, one task at a time.”

You and I are standing this very second at the meeting place of two eternities: the vast past that has endured forever, and the future that is plunging on to the last syllable of recorded time. We can’t possibly live in either of those eternities.

The French philosopher Montaigne summed up the worries of his life: “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”

From Jesus Christ’s Sermon of the Mount: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Rule 2: Analyze the Situation and Mentally Prepare Yourself

William H. Carrier was an engineer who began the entire air-conditioning industry. When he was a young man, he had to install a gas-cleaning device at a plate-glass plant. Since this was a new and relatively untested device, difficulties arose and the machine didn’t work well enough. His job was in jeopardy. Since he was also extremely worried, his health was also in jeopardy. This is the magic formula William H. Carrier came up with to solve his worry problems:

  1. Ask yourself “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I don’t solve my problem?
  2. Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst – if necessary
  3. Calmly try to improve upon the worst – which you have already mentally agreed to accept.

These were his answers to this gas-cleaning dilemma:

  1. The worst that could have happened, was that he could lose his job.
  2. Even though this could make him lose his job, he could always get another position. Even if he didn’t lose his job, the difficulties brought upon by this untested device would cost his employers twenty thousand dollars Confronting this reality brought Carrier a peace of mind that he had not felt in days.
  3. Now that he knew the worst, he focused his energies on improving upon the worst. He came to the conclusion that his employers had to spend some more money to make the gas-cleaning device work properly. Instead of losing money, his employers made profit.

Carrier used this same formula for the rest of his life every time a stressful problem came up. The reason, Carrier explains, this simple three-step formula worked so well: “Be willing to have it so, because acceptance of what has happened is the first step in overcoming the consequence of any misfortune. When we have accepted the worst, we have nothing more to lose. And that automatically means – we have everything to gain!”

Rule 3: Learn to Handle Worry for Your Health’s Sake
Extreme worry and nervous stress affects us physiologically – especially in the stomach. If worry is not handled the first thing you will experience is stomach ulcers. Worry is also indirectly linked to high blood pressure, swings in blood sugar, the common cold, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and many other ailments.

Dr. Israel Bram, who specialized in thyroid conditions, gave this advice/prescription to his patients: “Relaxation and Recreation – The Most relaxing recreating forces are a healthy religion, sleep, music, and laughter, Have faith in God – learn to sleep well – love good music – see the funny side of life – and health and happiness will be yours.

Dr. Alexis Carrel, a specialist in heart disease, had this to say: “Businessmen who do not know how to fight worry die young.”

Olga K. Jarvey from Idaho was able to conquer life-threatening cancer by first conquering worry. When she first got got cancer, all she could do was cry. How could she not? This was a death sentence. She eventually decided, with some encouraging words from one of her doctors, that she would not worry or cry. That doctor gave her these words of encouragement: “face the facts: quit worrying then do something about it.” When circumstances seemed to be at their bleakest, she forced herself to smile. By deciding to carry a cheerful mental attitude Olga eventually and miraculously beat cancer.


Rule 1: Get the Facts
The following 3-step formula is used to solve worries by using logic and objective analysis to solve problems:

  1. Get the facts
  2. Analyze the facts
  3. Arrive at a decision – and then act on that decision

Oftentimes, many of our worries come from ignorance and confusion. Sometimes they come from delusion, or from holding on to beliefs or attitudes that are best dropped – Google “sunken cost fallacy” for examples of foolish consistency and persistence.

Herbert E. Hawks, one of the deans of Columbia University, had this to say: “If a man will devote his time to securing facts in an impartial, objective way, his worries will usually evaporate in the light of knowledge.”

Thomas Edison: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the labor of thinking.”

Rule 2: After Carefully Weighing All the Facts, Come to a Decision
Galen Litchfield, who worked as the manager for the Asia Life Insurance Company in Shanghai during WWII, had to assist the Japanese during the invasion. He had to assists a Japanese admiral liquidate assets. Litchfield left out a block of securities worth 750k by mistake. The Japanese admiral was told this and was furious. Litchfield was at risk of being sent to “the Bridgehouse” – a notorious torture chamber where several of his colleagues died. In response, he did what he always did in whenever he was worried. He took out his typewriter and wrote down these two questions and the two steps that followed:

  1. What am I worrying about?
  2. What can I do about it?
  3. Decide what to do.
  4. Immediately start carrying out the decision

These are the answers he came up with:

  1. I’m afraid I will be thrown into the Bridgehouse.
  2. He thought of several things such as escaping from Shanghai, explain to the Japanese admiral, stay in his room or show up to work as if nothing happened.
  3. He decided to show up to work as if nothing happened.
  4. When he came in the Japanese admiral was kind of shocked to see him, but did nothing. The admiral soon left to Tokyo and Litchfield got through the war unscathed.

Instead of letting worry get to him, Litchfield acted immediately on his worries and probably saved his own life,both in the short-term and long-term. He used this same 4-step formula for the rest of his life and it kept him mostly free of worry.

Rule 3: Once a Decision is Carefully Reached, ACT!
Litchfield on making prompt decisions: “Experience has proved to me, time after time, the enormous value at arriving at a decision. It is failure to arrive at a fixed purpose, the inability to stop going around and round in maddening circles, that drives men to nervous breakdowns and living hells. I find that fifty percent of my worries vanishes once I arrive at a clear, definite decision; and another forty percent usually vanishes once I start to carry out the decision.”

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:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What is the cause of the problem?
  3. What are all the possible solutions?
  4. What is the best solution?

His answers:

  1. With prospects, he was wasting too much time and energy on interviews and follow-up phone calls that went nowhere.
  2. He studied his record book to study the facts and figures of his job.
  3. He discovered that seventy percent of his sales sales were closed within the first interview. Twenty-three-percent had been closed on the second interview. Even fewer were closed on subsequent interviews. He was wasting half of his time on business that accounted for less than seven percent of all sales.
  4. Cut all visits past the second interview.

The results? He doubled his income and eventually became the best insurance salesman in the country. It was only by objectively analyzing his problems that he was able to conquer them.


Rule 1: Get Busy
Winston Churchill during WWII: “I’m too busy. I have no time for worry.”

How does keeping busy drive out worry and anxiety? It is utterly impossible for the human mind, no matter how brilliant, to think of more than one thing at any given time.

During WWII, soldiers came back shell-shocked and nervous wrecks. Army doctors prescribed what would later be known as “occupational therapy.” In other words they kept them busy to cure them. Every hour of every day was filled with activity – fishing, hunting, sports, arts and crafts, and dancing – to crowd out worry from their minds.

If you are not busy when worried then thoughts of worry, fear, jealousy, hate and envy will crowd your mind and will crowd out thoughts of peaceful and happy thoughts. Keep busy. The worried person must lose himself in action, lest he wither in despair.

Admiral Byrd discovered this principle when he had to live in Antarctica. He spent five months in bitter cold and darkness. Out of necessity, he became an anal-retentive neurotic. He would fix and tinker with things around his station for hours on end. It was the only way to keep sane. Byrd said this about his habits during that time: “It brought an extraordinary sense of command over myself… without that the days would have been without purpose; and without purpose they would have ended, as such days always end, in disintegration.”

Rule 2: Don’t Permit Small, Petty Things to Ruin Your Life
A well-known legal maxim says: “De minimis curat lex – The law does not concern itself with trifles. And neither should the worrier – if he wants peace of mind

Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book and the man who wrote “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”, forgot his own advice when he had a long, petty feud with his brother-in-law, Beatty Balestier. He was his wife’s brother and he and Kipling had been best friends. The Kiplings bought an estate from Balestier in Vermont, with the understanding that Balestier would be allowed to cut hay off each season. One day, Balestier found Kipling lying in the flower garden in this hay field. It was this tiny little transgression that led to one of the most famous and long-lasting feuds in Vermont’s history. Rudyard Kipling and his wife eventually abandoned the property, and never spoke with Balestier ever again.

Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember “Life is too short to be little.”

Rule 3: Use the Law of Averages to Outlaw Your Worries
Jim Grant, who owned a fruit distribution company in New York, worried himself sick with stomach ulcers over unlikely events. Every day, train carts loaded with oranges and grapefruit would depart from Florida and head to New York. Jim Grant worried for each and every single cartload. He worried that the cars would break down, a train wreck, or a bridge collapsing. The reality was that in the many years he had been in business only five out of twenty-five thousand cars had been wrecked. To be clear, Grant worried about something that had a one-in-five-thousand chance of actually occurring. When he figured out how silly he was to worry over extremely unlikely occurrences, he stopped worrying and also stopped having stomach ulcers.

“Let’s examine the record.” Let’s ask ourselves: What are the chances, that this event I am worrying about will ever occur?”

Rule 4: Co-operate with the Inevitable
Elizabeth Connley from Portland, Oregon, had a nephew who was killed at the very end of the war. She was stricken with grief, basically ready to crawl into a corner and die of sadness. While clearing out her desk, she found an old letter from her nephew. In the letter, the nephew wrote to Connely after her mother died. The nephew wrote about how Connley’s positive attitude inspired him to “smile and take whatever comes, like a man.” Inspired by that old letter, Connley decided to move on and carry on. She knew and fully accepted that the circumstance was beyond her power to change or revise. She went on to live a fuller and more complete life. She learned that we must learn to cooperate with the inevitable.”It is so; it cannot be otherwise.”

King George V of England framed these words on the wall of his library of Buckingham Palace: “Teach me neither to cry for the moon nor over spilt milk.”

The late Schopenhauer: “A good supply of resignation is of first importance in providing for the journey of life.”

The famous prayer written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference

Rule 5: Put a “Stop-Loss Order” on Your Worries
A stop-loss order as defined by Investopedia:
“An order placed with a broker to sell a security when it reaches a certain price. A stop-loss order is designed to limit an investor’s loss on a position in a security. Although most investors associate a stop-loss order only with a long position, it can also be used for a short position, in which case the security would be bought if it trades above a defined price. A stop-loss order takes the emotion out of trading decisions and can be especially handy when one is on vacation or cannot watch his/her position… For example, if you own shares of ABC Co., which is currently trading at $50, and want to hedge against a big decline, you could enter a stop-loss order to sell your ABC holdings at $48. This type of stop-loss order is also called a sell-stop order. If ABC trades below $48, your stop-loss order is triggered and converts into a market order to sell ABC at the next available price. If the next price if $47.90, your ABC shares would be sold at $47.90.”

Stop-loss orders don’t just apply to stocks and bonds. We should place stop-loss on all kinds of things and circumstances in life.

A game example: any a time a girl picks up her smartphone or starts texting during a date, get up and walk away. If a girl hasn’t had sex with you by the third date, drop her completely.

Henry David Thoreau in Walden: “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life, which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run.”
To put it another way:”we are fools when we overpay for a thing in terms of what it takes out of our very existence.”

Abraham Lincoln, when some of his friends were denouncing his enemies after the Civil War: “You have more of a feeling of resentment than I have. Perhaps I have too little of it; but I never thought it paid. A man doesn’t have the time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him.”

When Dale Carnegie was in his thirties, he decided he wanted to be a novelist. He spent two years living cheaply in Europe writing his novel. It was a failure; the reception for it was cold and indifferent. His literary agent told him that he had no talent for fiction. Carnegie was heartbroken and worried about what to do next. After weeks of thinking it over he decided to see those two years as nothing more than a noble experiment. He returned to his old job of organizing and teaching adult education classes. He wrote non-fiction in his spare time.

Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth – and refuse to give it anymore.

Rule 6: Let the Past Bury its Dead
Dr. Paul Brandwine, a high school teacher in New York, taught his students a valuable lesson about worrying about things that have already happened. One day in the science lab put a bottle of milk at the edge of a sink. His class looked at it with anticipation. Brandwine swept the bottle and made it crash in the sink. He shouted: “Don’t cry over spilt milk! Take a good look because I want you to remember this lesson for the rest of your lives. The milk is gone – you can see it’s down in the drain; and all the ussing and hair-pulling in the world won’t bring back a drop of it. With a little thought and prevention, that milk might have been saved. But it’s too late now – all we can do is write off, forget it, and go on to the next thing.”

Fred Fuller Shedd, editor of the Philadelphia Bulletin said the following when speaking to a college graduating class:”How many of you ever sawed wood? How many of you have ever sawed sawdust? Of course, you can’t saw sawdust! It’s already sawed! Same with the past. When you start worrying about things that are over and done with, you’re merely trying to saw sawdust.”

William Shakespeare: “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.”

So why waste tears? Of course, we have been guilty of blunders and absurdities! And so what? Who hasn’t? Even Napoleon lost one third of all the important battles he fought. Perhaps our batting average is no worse than Napoleon’s. Who knows?


Rule 1: Fill Your Mind With Thoughts of Peace, Courage, Health, and Hope
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “Our life is what our thoughts make of it.”

One student of Carnegie’s, who goes unnamed, was eaten by insecurities. He worried that he was too thin, that no girl would want to marry him, that he was losing his hair, etc. Because of all his worries, he had a nervous breakdown. He then decided to take a trip to Florida. He thought that a change of scenery and environment would be the solution to his problems. His loving father gave him a letter in an enclosed envelope, ordering him not to open it until he was in Florida. His life in Florida was just as bad, if not worse, than it was back at home. Holding on to his Father’s letter, he opened it and this what his Father wrote:

“Son, you are 1500 miles from home, and you don’t feel any different, do you? I knew you wouldn’t, because you took with you the one thing that is the cause of all your trouble, that is, yourself. There is nothing wrong with either your body or your mind. It is not the situations you have met with that have thrown you; it is what you think of these situations. “As man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” When you realize that, son, come home, for you will be cured.”

The son resisted his father’s words of wisdom for a while, but eventually returned home and went back to his old job. Months later, he was finally married and did well in his work, going from a night foreman of a small department to becoming a superintendent of a carton manufacturer in charge of over four hundred and fifty people. The only thing he changed was “the focus of the lens of the camera which was my mind.”

English author/poet, John Milton: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.”

Develop a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness. Think and act cheerfully and you will feel cheerful

Rule 2: Don’t Waste Time Thinking About People You Don’t Like
We may not be saintly enough to love our enemies, but, for the sake of our own health and happiness, let’s at least forgive them and forget them.

Confucius: “To be wrong or robbed is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”

General Eisenhower’s son, John, on his father’s resentments: “He never wastes a minute thinking about people he doesn’t like.”

Laurence Jones, a black preacher and teacher who taught in the poorest most backward parts of Mississippi in 1918, was once threatened with being lynched. He came down to this part of the country to teach poor and illiterate black men who wanted to get ahead in life. Since this was toward the end of the First World War, there was a rumor that spread that said German were inciting blacks into rebellion. The white locals thought that Laurence Jones was a traitor or spy who tried to incite rebellion in his black students. Then one day an angry mob of white men decided they wanted to lynch him and burn him alive. They dragged him up the town’s road to a spot where they could hang and burn him. They let him speak before they did, and in the process gave a rousing speech, recounting his life story. Fortunately for Jones, the white men decided to let him off the hook. He continued teaching. When asked afterward if he was resentful toward the men who wanted to hang and burn him, he answered: “I have no time to quarrel, no time for regrets, and no man can force me stoop low enough to hate him.” He was too busy with his cause to hate – too absorbed in something bigger than himself.

Jesus Christ: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Let’s never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them.

Rule 3: Don’t Worry About Ingratitude
Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let’s expect it. If we go around expecting gratitude, we are headed straight for a lot of heartaches.

Marcus Aurelius: “I am going to meet people today who talk too much – people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I couldn’t imagine a world without such people.

Jesus healed ten lepers in one day – and only one thanked him. Why should we expect more gratitude than Jesus?

The only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude – but to give for the joy of giving. There are thousands of people who are ill from ingratitude, loneliness, and neglect. They long to be loved; but the only way in this world that they can ever hope to be loved is to stop asking for it and to start pouring out love without hope of return.

Let’s remember that gratitude is a “cultivated” trait; if we want our children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful.

Rule 4: Count Your Blessings
Harold Abbott, Dale Carnegie’s long-time lecture manager, almost hit rock bottom in his life. He ran a grocery store in Webb City which closed. He was also in a huge amount of debt that would take years to pay off. One day while walking to the bank for a loan, full of worries, grievances and self-pity, he came across a man without legs who was otherwise cheerful and confident. This brief meeting made him realize how lucky he was and how he was amazingly wealthy. Abbott pasted the following words on his bathroom mirror:
“I had the blues because I had no shoes, until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.”

The words “Think and Thank”are inscribed in many of the Cromwellian churches of England. Think of all we have to be grateful for, and thank God for all our boons and bounties.

Dr. Samuel Johnson: “The habit of looking on the best side of every event is worth more than a thousand pounds a year.”

Logan Pearsall Smith: “There are two things to aim at in life: first to get what you want; and, after that, enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.”

Rule 5: Don’t Imitate Others; Be Yourself
Angelo Petri, an expert on child training, says: “Nobody is so miserable as he who longs to be somebody and something other than the person he is in body and mind.”

When Dale Carnegie first came to New York from Missouri he enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He had a plan for success: study some of the best actors of his day and try and imitate their best points. This plan failed. Years later when writing his first book on public speaking, he tried to copy a whole bunch of writers. He tossed that manuscript – a year’s worth of work – into the trash and started from scratch with the intention of being himself in his writing. “Let’s find ourselves and be ourselves”, he advises

George Gershwin was a struggling composer when he first met Irving Berlin. Berlin offered Gershwin a job as his musical secretary. But Berlin advised against taking the job: “If you do, you may develop into a second-rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you’ll become a first-rate Gershwin.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Self-Reliance: “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”

Rule 6: When Fate Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.

The author William Bolitho put it like this: “The most important thing in life is not to capitalize on your gains. Any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your losses. That requires intelligence; and it makes the difference between a man of sense and a fool.”

Napoleon Hill: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

The author Harry Emerson Fosdick in his book, The Power to See It Through wrote: “The north wind made the Vikings. Wherever did we get the idea that secure and pleasant living, the absence of difficulty, and the comfort of ease, ever of themselves made people either good or happy? Upon the contrary, people who pity themselves go on pitying themselves even when they are laid softly on the cushion, but always in history, character and happiness have come to people in all sorts of circumstances, good, bad, and indifferent, when they shouldered their personal responsibility. So, repeatedly the north wind has made the Vikings.”

Rule 7: Create Happiness for Others
The psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Adler used to say this to his melancholia patients: “You can be cured in fourteen days if you follow this prescription: Try to think every day how you can please someone.”

Doing a good deed every day will cause us to stop being so wrapped up in ourselves: the very thing that produces worry, fear, and melancholia.

William Lyon Phelps, a professor at Yale University, had a few habits that brightened the lives of the people in his life: “I never go into a hotel or barbershop or a store without saying something agreeable to everyone I meet. I try to say something that treats them as an individual – not merely a cog in a machine. I sometimes compliment the girl who waits on me in the store by telling her how beautiful her eyes are – or her hair. I will ask a barber if he doesn’t get tired standing on his feet all day. I’ll ask him how he came to take up barbering – how long he has been at it and how many heads of hair he has to cut. I’ll help him figure it out. I find that taking an interest in other people make them beam with pleasure… One extremely hot summer day, I went into a dining car of the New Haven Railway to have lunch. the crowded car was almost like a furnace and the service was slow. When the steward finally got around to handing me a menu, I said: ‘the boys back there cooking in that hot kitchen certainly must be suffering today.’ The steward began to curse.. ‘Good God Almighty,’ he exclaimed, ‘people come in here and complain about the food. They kick about the slow service and growl about the heat and prices. I have listened to their criticisms for nineteen years and you are the first and only person that has ever expressed any sympathy for the cooks back there in the boiling kitchen. I wish to God we had more passengers like you.’ The steward was astounded because I had thought of the cooks as human beings and not merely as a cog in the organization of a great railway. What people want is a little attention as human beings.”

Chinese proverb: “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roes.”

Benjamin Franklin: “When you are good to other you are best to yourself.”

Forget yourself by becoming interested in others. Every day do a good deed that will put a smile of joy on someone’s face.

Dale Carnegie’s parents were always struggling. Money was always tight, debts were ever-accumulating, and worst of all their endeavors were always met with bad luck. Carnegie’s father, after ten years of all this torment, was seriously considering suicide. What kept him alive was actually his wife’s unwavering faith. She always believed that if they kept a steady faith in God that everything would turn out alright. In the end, everything eventually did. Carnegie’s father lived to the ripe old age of eighty-nine.

Some of you might be a little annoyed with this section. Believe me, I am no fan of organized religion. Nonetheless, I do believe in a greater power. It can go by any name – God, Divine Providence, the Universe, the Tao, Presence. Carnegie in all honesty is quite reasonable with his faith: “No man has ever been able to explain the mysteries of the universe – the mystery of life. We are surrounded by mysteries..The fact that I don’t understand the mysteries of prayer and religion no longer keeps me from enjoying the richer, happier life that religion brings.”

Automobile tycoon Henry Ford, when asked if he ever worried: “No. I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”

John Baillie, a distinguished theology professor at the University of Edinburgh, on what makes a good Christian: “What makes a man a Christian is neither his intellectual acceptance of certain idea, nor his conformity to a certain rule, but his possession of a certain spirit, and his participation in a certain Life.”

Dr. Carl Jung: “During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. I have treated hundreds of patients. Among all my patients in the second half of life – that is to say, over thirty-five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

Even the non-religious can benefit from prayer in a practical way.


Rule 1: Unjust Criticism is Often a Disguised Compliment.
Many great men have had their fair number of bitter critics. Men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had men who practically denounced them as the devil’s representatives.

Ulysses S Grant, a general who fought for the Northern States in the American Civil War, was one of the key men behind the victory of the North. In 1862, Grant won a decisive battle that ended the war. Six weeks after, Grant was arrested and his army was taken from him. He was arrested mostly because of the envy of his colleagues and superiors.

Schopenhauer: “Vulgar people take huge delight in the faults and follies of great men.”

Unjust criticism often means that you have aroused jealousy and envy. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog

Rule 2: Develop a Thick Skin To Criticism
Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, had to learn how to handle unjust criticism. Early in her career, she was terrified of criticism. She asked Theodore Roosevelt’s sister for advice, and this is what she said: “Never be bothered by what people say, as long as you know in your heart you are right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Abraham Lincoln, on unjust criticism: “If I were to try and read, much less to answer, all the attacks made of me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

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.

Rule 3: Criticize Yourself First; Keep a Record of All the Foolish Things You’ve Done
Elbert Hubbard: “Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day. Wisdom consists in not exceeding that limit.”

Walt Whitman: “Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who rejected you, and braced themselves against you, or disputed the passage with you?”

E.H. Little, president of Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Soap Company, started out as a soap salesman for Colgate. At first, he was at risk of losing his job for his poor performance as a salesman. When he failed to make a sale, he would come back to the merchants and outright asked them for criticism: “Won’t you please tell me what I did wrong when I tried to sell you soap a few minutes ago? Please give me your criticism. be frank. Don’t pull your punches.”

Do what E.H. Little did: “Let’s ask for unbiased, helpful, and constructive criticism.


Rule 1: Rest Before You Get Tired
During World War II, Winston Churchill was famous for working sixteen hours a day, every single day. But during this time, he always found way to relax at his work. He worked in bed until eleven, and took two daily naps. He found a perfect way to prevent fatigue.

Eleanor Roosevelt, before meeting a crowd or making a speech, would sit down and relax for twenty minutes.

Thomas Edison slept whenever he wanted.

Henry Ford: “I never stand up when I can sit down; and I never sit down when I can lie down.”

The US Army had its infantryman rest once every hour for ten minutes.

Rule 2: Learn to Relax at Your Work
Psychiatrist Dr. A. A. Brill said: “One hundred percent of the fatigue of the sedentary worker in good health is due to psychological factors, by which we mean emotional factors. What kinds of emotional factors tire the sedentary (or sitting) worker? Joy? Contentment? No! Never! Boredom, resentment, a feeling of not being appreciated, a feeling of futility, hurry, anxiety, worry – those are the emotional factors that exhaust the sitting worker, make him susceptible to colds, reduce his output, and send him home with a nervous headache. Yes, we get tired because our emotions produce nervous tensions in the body.”

William James in his essay “The Gospel of Relaxation” wrote: “The American overtension and jerkiness and breathlessness and intensity and agony of expression … are bad habits, nothing more or less. Tension is a habit. Relaxing is a habit. And bad habits can be broken, good habits formed.”
Four suggestions that will help you learn to relax:

  1. Relax in odd moments. Let your body go limp like an old sock. Be like a cat that sags like a wet towel when you pick it up.
  2. Work in a comfortable position and consciously relax your muscles.
  3. As yourself a few times a day, “Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I am doing?
  4. At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Just how tired am I? If you are tired it isn’t because of mental work, because of the way you have done it.

Rule 3: Apply These Four Good Working Habits
1. Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand.

  1. Do things in the order of their importance.
  • Charles Luckman, who became president of the Pepsodent Company, said: “As far back as I can remember, I have gotten up at five oçlock in the morning because I can think better than any other time – I can think better then and plan my day, plan to do things in the order of their importance.
  • George Bernard Shaw had a rigid rule to do first things first. His plan called for writing five pages a day. That plan inspired him to go right on writing five pages a day for nine heartbreaking years, even though he made a total of only thirty dollars in those nine years – about a penny a day.
  1. When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision.

  2. Learn to organize, deputize, and supervise.

  • Business executives who build up big businesses and don’t learn to delegate responsibilities to others are driven by a sense of hurry, worry, and anxiety, usually pop off with heart trouble in their fifties or early sixties – heart trouble caused by tension and worries.

Rule 4: To Prevent Worry and Fatigue, Put Enthusiasm into Your Work
Ms. Vallie G. Golden, a stenographer from Elmhurst, Idaho once had to do job that was a pain in the ass. She had to type a long letter over. She then realized that complaining was futile and that there were many people who would kill for her job, so she decided that a change in her mental attitude was necessary: “I suddenly made up my mind to do my work as if I actually enjoyed it- even though I despised it. Then I made an important discovery: if I do my work as if I really enjoy it, then I do enjoy it to some extent. I also found I can work faster when I enjoy my work. So there is seldom any need now for me to work overtime. This new attitude of mine gained me the reputation of being a good worker. And when one of the department superintendents needed a private secretary, he asked me for the job – because, he said, I was willing to do extra work without being sulky!”

By talking to yourself every hour of the day, you can direct yourself to think thoughts of courage, happiness, thoughts of power and peace. By talking to yourself about the things you have to be grateful for, you can fill your mind with thoughts that soar and sing.

Keep reminding yourself that getting interested in your job will take your mind off you worries, and, in the long run, will probably bring promotion and increased pay. Even if it doesn’t do that, it will reduce fatigue to a minimum and help you enjoy your hours of leisure,

Rule 5: How to Stop Worrying About Insomnia
Five rules to keep from worrying about insomnia:

  1. If you can’t sleep get up and work or read until you do feel sleepy.
  2. No one was ever killed by lack of sleep – worrying about it causes more damage than the actual sleeplessness.
  3. Try prayer
  4. Relax your body; take up meditation if necessary
  5. Exercise to the point of exhaustion.

Even though this part is basically filler (and therefore optional), the 31 stories in it show how Carnegie’s lessons and rules can be put to practical use. It demonstrates, on a case-by-case basis, that Carnegie’s words are anything but empty platitudes.

Here is my favorite story:

I Can Turn Myself into a Shouting Optimist Within an Hour
by Roger W. Babson, famous Economist
When I find myself depressed over present conditions, I can, within one hour, banish worry and turn myself into a shouting optimist.
Here is how I do it. I enter my library, close my eyes, and walk to certain shelves, I reach for a book, not knowing whether I am picking up Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico or Suetonius’ Lives of the Twelve Caesers. With my eyes still closed, I open the book at random. i then open my eyes and read for an hour; and the more I read, the more sharply I realize that the world has always been in the throes of agony, that civilization has always been tottering on the brink. the pages of history fairly shriek with tragic tales of war, famine, poverty, pestilence, and man’s inhumanity to man. After reading history for an hour, I realize that as bad as conditions are now, they are infinitely better than they used to be. this enables me to see and face my present troubles in their proper perspective as well as to realize that the world as a whole is constantly growing better.

(this post was copied from here: )