How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie - Summary & Notes

This book is probably one of the most universal self-help books I’ve read so far. No matter if you are a business man, a house wife or a sixth grader, worry can creep up anywhere. The thing is worry can be like poison and Dale Carnegie shows you in How to stop worrying and start living exactly what to do to life the happy life you always wanted. Below you can find my notes organized by chapter.


Fundamental facts you should know about worrying

Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

– Sir William Osier

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.

– Jesus

Everyday is a new life to a wise man.

Happy the man, and happy he alone, He, who can call today his own: He who, secure within, can say: “Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today.”

– Horace

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

– Psalm CXVIII

  • 3 steps to conquer worry:
    • find out the worst case outcome
    • accept the worst outcome
    • feel releaxed as you already accepted the worst and try to make the worst outcome a little better

The Lord may forgive us our sins but the nervous system never does.

– William James

Basic techniques in analyzing worry

  • 3 steps:
    • get the facts
    • analyze the facts
    • arrive at a decision and then act on that decision

Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us into a rage.

– Andre Maurois

  • Once a decision is made, get busy carrying it out without looking back and having anxiety

  • Ask yourself the following questions:

    • What is the problem?
    • What is the cause of the problem?
    • What are all possible solutions of the problem?
    • What solution do you suggest?

How to break the worry habit before it breaks you

  • Keep yourself busy.

  • Life is to short to be little. Don’t fuss about small matters.

  • Ask yourself what are the chances that your worry will even occur.

It is astonishing how quickly we can accept almost any situation if we have to and adjust ourselves to it and forget about it.

  • Remember the following words: “It is so. It cannot be otherwise.”

It is not miserable to be blind, it is only miserable not to be able to endure blindness.

– John Milton

  • Animals never have nervous breakdowns even though they have to live with the harsh reality of nature.

  • As Epictetus has said: “…cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of your [our] will.”

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.

– Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr

  • Never pay more for something than you get out of it.

I conceive that a great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles (is a reference to a story about Benjamin Franklin).

  • Ask yourself at what point you should set a “stop-loss” on a worry. Ask yourself, how much is this thing really worth to you that you worry so much about it.

  • Never ever worry about the past.

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

You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.

– Norman Vincent Pale

Our life is what our thoughts make it. – Marcus Aurelius

  • Not worrying does not mean not being concerned about a situation. There is a difference in attitude. You can be concerned about something but still go with your chin up.

…being licked is all part of the game, the useful training you had to expect if you want to get to the top.

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.

– John Milton

  • If you travel to find relieve, you take your troubles and worries with you. Therefore you have to stop worrying to feel at ease again.

  • Our mental attitude defines the joy we get out of living and not where we are, or what we have, or who we are.

A man is not hurt so much by what happens, as by his opinion of what happens.

– Michel de Montaigne

  • Force yourself to smile and throw your shoulders back and you will automatically feel better and happier.

A man will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. The divinity that shapes our ends is in ourselves. It is our very self. All that a man achieves is the direct result of his own thoughts. A man can only rise, conquer and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak and abject and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

As a man thinketh (emphasize added by me)

  • If you want to take revenge on someone, it never pays. Don’t worry about the thing that happened otherwise you are always worse off if you get your revenge.

  • Even Jesus said to forgive your enemies seventy time seven times.

To be wronged or robbed is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

– Confucius

To know all is to understand all, and this leaves no room for judgement and condemnation.

– Clarence Darrow

  • If you feel anger against someone, consider thinking about the circumstances they were in, how they grew up etc. In the end you would have probably acted the same way as your enemy.

  • Never waste a minute thinking about people we don’t like as General Eisenhower said.

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

– Marcus Aurelius

  • Don’t be ignorant about human nature. Expect the ungratefulness and don’t worry about it.

  • Give for the joy of giving and don’t expect gratitude.

The ideal man takes joy in doing favors for others; but he feels ashamed to have others do favors for him. For it is a mark of superiority to confer a kindness; but it is a mark of inferiority to receive it.

– Aristotle

  • Gratitude is a cultivated trade. If your children aren’t grateful, they probably picked up the ungratefulness you presented them during their upbringing to others. So, don’t be surprised.

  • Don’t complain and be grateful about all the things you have in live. About 90% is postive and only 10% negative. Focus on the 90% and be grateful for them.

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

– Logan Pearsall Smith (emphasize added by me)

Read: I wanted to see by Borghild Dahl

  • Count your blessings, not your troubles.

  • Be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else. That’s the quickest way to misery.

Nobody is so miserable as he who longs to be somebody and something other than the person he is in body and mind.

– Angelo Patri

Read: You and Heredity by Amran Scheinfeld

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 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.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson in Self-reliance

  • Learn to turn a minus into a plus.

  • Some of the most astounding figures would probably never have succeeded haven’t they been blessed (cursed as some say) with handicaps like Beethoven, Milton, Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and others.

Our infirmities help us unexpectedly.

– William James

If I had not been so great an invalid, I should not have done so much work as I have accomplished.

– Charles Darwin

The north wind made the Vikings.

– Scandinavian saying quoted by Harry Emerson Fosdick

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.

– William Bolitho

  • To cure your melancholy, try the following advice by Dr. Alfred Adler: “You can be cured in fourteen days if you follow this prescription. Try to think every day how you can please someone.”

Read: What life should mean to you by Dr. Alfred Adler

  • Do good to others and you will do good to yourself. That’s what Benjamin Franklin suggested.

  • Get interested in others.

The golden rule for conquering worry

The sovereign cure for worry is religious faith.

– William James

Man is not made to understand life, but to life it.

– Santayana

  • Religion can give a person more life, a larger, richer, more satisfying life. It gets rid of tensions, anxieties, fears and worries.

  • Henry Ford at 78 was of the opinion that God managed all affairs and that everything will work out in the end. Therefore he never had anything to worry about.

During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. I have treated many 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.

– Dr. Carl Jung (Modern Man in Search of a Soul)

  • Praying allows one to link them with the inexhaustible motive power that spins this universe.

The turbulent billows of the fretful surface leave the deep parts of the ocean undisturbed; and to him who has a hold on vaster and more permanent realities, the hourly vicissitudes of his personal destiny seem relatively insignificant things. The really religious person is accordingly unshakable and full of equanimity, and calmly ready for any duty that the day may bring forth.

– William James

  • Even if you are an out-and-out skeptic, you should try the power of prayer. Sometimes you can’t tell your worries to anybody, that’s the time to turn to God and talk about all your troubles.

How to keep from worrying about criticism

  • Some people get a sense of savage satisfaction from criticizing/denouncing people who are more important.

Vulgar people take huge delight in the faults and follies of great men.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

  • Thomas Jefferson was denounced by the then president of Yale, Timothy Dwight, as someone who would make America’s wives and daughters become prostitutes among other things.

  • George Washington was hissed at as he rode through the streets. He was called a hypocrite, an imposter and as “little better than a murderer”.

It is almost impossible not to believe what you want to believe.

  • Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. Nobody every kicks a dead dog. If you need to criticize someone, follow the advice given in The technique of handling people.

  • Remember that Jesus was also betrayed by one of his most intimate friends.

  • You can decide for yourself whether you let the unjust condemnation disturb you.

  • Deal with unjust criticism as Charles Schwab did on the advice of a German working at his steel mill: “Just laugh”.

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.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Be your own worst critic by examining your shortcomings and learn from them. (Note: Don’t wallow in self-pity.) Note your shortcomings before your enemies do and start criticize yourself for them.

  • Ask for constructive criticism.

  • Ignore criticism from others as long as you know you did your best.

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

  • If you relax, it’s is far less possible to worry. So, don’t be fatigued.

Read: Why be tired by Daniel W. Josselyn

  • Thomas Edison had the habit of sleeping whenever he wanted to.

Read Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor.

  • Take frequent rests as it is done in the Army.

  • Rest before you get tired as your heart does.

The greater part of the fatigue from which we suffer is of mental origin; in fact exhaustion of physical origin is rare.

– J.A. Hadfield (The psychology of power)

One hundred percent of the fatigue of the sedentary worker in good health is due to psychological factors, by which we mean emotional factors.

– Dr. A.A. Brill

  • Relax while you do your work. There is no need to tense any muscles while doing any sedentary work.

  • Remember to relax your eyes as they make up one fourth of all the nervous energy.

Read: Release from Nervous Tension by Dr. David Harold Fink.

  • Learn to relax like a cat in the sun.

  • Continuously examine yourself if you make your work harder than it should be by unnecessary body tensions.

  • Try to talk about your problems with a person of trust to reduce your worries.

  • To relax, try to lie on the floor. Close your eyes. Tense your muscles and then relax them.

  • Clear you desk of all unnecessities. As Alexander Pope said: “Order is Heaven’s first law.”

Men do not die from overwork. They die from dissipation and worry.

– Charles Evans Hughes (former Chief Justice of the USA Supreme Court)

  • Do things in order of their importance.

  • Don’t put off making decisions.

  • Make a decision as soon as you have all the facts.

  • Learn to organize, deputize and supervise.

  • Your emotional attitude usually has more to do with your fatigue than physical exertion.

  • Fatigue is often caused by worry, frustration and resentment.

Walking ten blocks with a nagging wife can be more fatiguing than walking ten miles with an adoring sweetheart.

  • Try to make a dull job interesting by acting as if it were interesting. The same principle works as by acting cheerful and laughing even if you initially felt down.

  • Develop enthusiasm to make a dull job more interesting.

  • Don’t focus on the fact that you can’t fall asleep. This only worsens the insomnia.

  • Get physically exhausted to fall asleep if you suffer from insomnia.

How to find the kind of work in which you may be happy and successful

  • 2 most important decisions of life:
    • How are you going to make a living?
    • Who will you choose to be the father or mother of your children?

The greatest tragedy I know of is that so many young people never discover what they really want to do.

– Edna Kerr (Dupont Company)

  • Find work that you enjoy doing where time passes by instantly.

Where a man had no interest, where he felt he was misplaced, where he thought he was not appreciated, where he believed his talents were being misused, invariably we found a potential if not an actual psychiatric casualty.

– Dr. William Menninger

  • Don’t assume that you are only fitted to one occupation.

  • Seek the advice of people in the industry you want to work at who have done it already 20 or more years.

How to lessen your financial worries

What causes most people to worry is not that they haven’t enough money, but that they don’t know how to spend the money they have.

– Elsie Stapleton (financial adviser at Wanamaker’s Department Store in NY)

  • Make a spending report for at least 3 months to know where your money goes.

  • Ask someone to help you draw up a budget. This is often given as free advice in major cities.

  • Don’t increase your expenses at the same rate as your income increases.

  • Avoid at all costs borrowing money from a loan company.

  • Teach your children financial responsibility.

  • Start a side business to make a little extra money.

  • Don’t gamble, ever.

  • Improve your mental attitude towards your financial difficulties.

  • President Lincoln and President Washington had to borrow money to go to their inaugurations.

If you have what seems to you insufficient then you will be miserable even if you possess the world.

– Seneca

How i conquered worry - 32 true stories

  • I won’t summarize these stories here. It’s better you read them yourself.

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The mind agrees.