Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dale Carnegie "How to stop worrying and start living"

I didn't plan to read this book this year, but there were circumstances forced me to read it. It was terrible because I had to choose between one good thing and another good thing and I couldn't and I worried so much, that I couldn't even eat. I decided that something is wrong with me and I need to fix my panic, so I removed one book from my reading list and added "How to stop worrying and start living" instead.

My only concern about this book is the stories. There are so many stories of different people, all are the same, and it bothers you since the first pages. The whole book is like one idea in one sentence and ten similar stories about this idea each on 2 or 3 pages. The author presents it as a proof of his thought, but there is a small thing about it. You will do all the stuff, all the exercises from the book only if you are highly motivated to stop worrying. It is enough to read one successful case to believe that technique works fine. If you don't want to stop worrying you will close the book and not even hundred stories about how good the techniques are would stop you. So the tons of stories are completely unnecessary, and all of them are completely similar with only different characters inside. It makes the book huge and boring, and it doesn't give you what you want from the book.

I was very surprised to realize that I already use 80% of techniques that are presented in the book. I don't have insomnia or a nervous breakdown. I can even work under the stress condition, but not as well as without. Honestly, my main problem is that I always know what is my problem, why am I worrying and why I need to stop it. But I can't stop. And I wanted to find an answer from this book on how can I close my eyes on all these problems and make a decision or work as good as I do without stress conditions. I didn't found the answer. But I've found some good advises.

The first technique that I always use and I think it is worth to mention even it is not new for me is "always think about today, not tomorrow or yesterday". Because if you have something tomorrow and you cannot affect it today, you don't need to keep it in mind, because it bothers you. If you can do something today to improve tomorrow, then do it. If you made a decision and you cannot undo it, then you don't need to worry about it, because it is useless. What you can do is to sit one time, analyze what was wrong and what could be better, and promise yourself to not do the same errors in future.

The second technique is new for me, but, I think, very powerful. When you have a problem, and you are procrastinating because all the solutions seem bad, you need to choose the worst and try to accept it. If the worst case is that you lose millions of dollars or your house or something like that, try to mentally accept it, because it can be your tomorrow reality. If you will accept it, like it has already happened, you can try to improve the situation and think about how to make this situation better. It will be easier for you if you already decided that you don't have these millions of dollars that you are going to lose. If you think you don't have something then you can't lose it, right? After that, you can think on how to earn these millions of dollars, by making the situation better. It will be much easier.

The third technique I call the brainstorm of the problem. I've used it a couple of times, but it is not in my everyday arsenal, don't know why. The idea is that you write down the problem, then write down the cause of the problem, then write down the list of possible solutions and choose one, that seems the most acceptable to you. If the problem is not very serious unlike you think about it, you will see that there is nothing difficult about this problem.

Dale Carnegie talks a lot about religion. He says that prayer is very helpful to calm down your nerves. I agree with him that if you believe in some magical being above the skies, it will help you, but I cannot accept this mentally and it wouldn't help me. Instead, after reading the book, I've started to relax, when I feel worried. I am trying to relax all my muscles, close my eyes, and then starting to speak with myself like "What's wrong, man?". If I have the answer, I think about it, then imagine a general plan of actions of how to solve the problem, then imagine the first step that I need to undertake, and count till 30. This helps me very much and when I am relaxed with closed eyes and nothing bothers me it is very easy to concentrate and beat the worry.

I think that this book is not for me because I don't have any big problems (or because I understand it) because I know the majority of the techniques and apply it in my everyday life, and because I don't need these freaking tons of similar stories which constitute around 80% of the book. As I heard this book helped a huge amount of people, so maybe it is very good and helpful for people with some problems. I didn't find the answer that I sought, so maybe my broken expectations affected my attitude to this book. Anyway, I guess it is worth to try if you find yourself suffering by worry in your everyday life.

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