Being a compulsive worrier, my very thoughtful fiance bought me the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie in the hope that it might help me to worry somewhat less, or at least demonstrate how to develop a strategy to deal with it more effectively. It drives him crazy that just as we've got in the car and we're about to set out on a journey, I leap out of the car to have one last check that all the windows and doors are definitely locked (despite having double checked them a number of times previously).
Then there's the worry on the return trip that we may have been broken into. We did have a rather funny surprise one time, having returned from our holiday to find we'd had a break-in with a difference i.e. by a rogue cat through our cat flap!! We don't even have cats but the previous owner did and somehow this cat had managed to break the lock on the cat flap. The cat had left a lovely message on our mail and a dreadful smell in our hallway that lingered on for weeks despite trying to get rid of it with all manner of supposed cleaning/odour miracles. Yes, you've probably guessed it was a Tom Cat.
It just goes to show that no matter how much you worry or how many precautions you take, you simply can't predict or prevent every eventuality and whether you worry about it or not, has no impact on the end result, apart from making you miserable if you do worry. Needless to say, the cat hasn't been back as the flap is now well and truly secured with tape and blocked in by a number of bricks.
Worrying is something that affects so many people, and as a life coach (and a worrier) it's something I am very familiar with. Many people allow worrying to stop them from achieving their goals – both personally and at work. Worrying about asking for a well-deserved raise, or promotion. Worrying about taking a risk and trying something new. Worrying about asking/going for more development. And so on!.
This book provides some really good insights into how often; needless worry can steal the moment and cause unnecessary illness and heartache. It includes some excellent tools to use to overcome worry – the key is to take action.
“One of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our ability to concentrate. When we worry, our minds jump here and there and everywhere, and we lose all power of decision. However, when we force ourselves to face the worst and accept it mentally, we then eliminate all these vague imaginings and put ourselves in a position in which we are able to concentrate on our problem.”
A medical paper which carried out a study of over 176 business executives with an average age of 44 found that over a third of them were wrecking their bodies with heart disease, ulcers, and high blood pressure. What price for success? “What shall profit a man if he gains the world, and loses his health.”
Some top tips from Dale Carnegie on how to eliminate 50% of your business worries:
Rule 1: Get the facts. Remember that Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that “half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.”
Rule 2: After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision.
Rule 3: Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your decision, and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome.
Rule 4: When you, or any of your associates, are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the cause of the problem?
- What are all possible solutions?
- What is the best solution?
The above all seem very obvious and general common sense but not always so easy to put into practise, if you are a born worrier like me. Anyway I am still working on it. Do you have any tips for dealing with needless worry?