The worried person must lose himself in action lest he wither in despair
Total Reading Time: 5 minutes.
This is a quote by the great author Dale Carnegie, and the quote itself is from the book How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.
I want to share the key lessons that I took out of this read. First of all, I think that the concept of worry is absolutely fascinating. I have another video on how to reduce your stress and stop being so busy. However, what Dale Carnegie talks about in this book in general is that stress, worry, anxiety are actual killers.
It had been proven, and this was written in the 1930s, that there was scientific evidence linking stress and worry to early death, to disease, to illness. Even the word dis-ease tells you all you need to know.
You’re not at ease.
There’s a certain anxiety and worry within that person.
Here’s the Deal:
I’ve never really been one to want to read a book like this, that is until I started working for myself and going into this path of a self-directed life. When I was at Google and had a corporate job with a guaranteed income, there was really nothing to worry about.
I wasn’t really challenging myself in that way. A lot of people out there begin to feel worry for different reasons. My reason for feeling worry was uncertainty. I found myself worrying about things that were not happening right now, that were not at all relevant in the present moment. In his book, he basically talks about how to remedy that. The first thing that he talks about is:
What does that mean?
If you are busy and constantly doing something, you actually cannot worry. Those two things cannot live together. If you’re busy, you don’t have the time to worry.
As he says in the book, the cheapest medicine in all of the world is to get busy.
It sounds very basic. It sounds very pragmatic, but I absolutely found that the only times I was worried was when I was sitting around in my head wondering.
This is especially for you introverted types out there. Or anybody that really spends any time at all in their mind thinking, planning for the future, or futuristic types.
You’re generally going to create these illusions of the future for yourself that cause worry, because we begin to play out the scenario as if it’s already here, right?
This is also what Eckhart Tolle talks about in The Power of Now. You begin to play into this illusion of what doesn’t exist. It’s in the future, it’s not here yet, so what is the point of that? Why not live in the present?
What If You Can’t Help But Worry?
The second big key that I took out of Carnegie’s book is: how do you actually cope in the moments when you do begin to worry?
Okay sure you need to stay busy, that’s fine, and lose yourself in action.
What about when I just can’t help it?
What about when I start to think about the future?
There’s a very simple remedy for that, too. He talks about compartmentalizing your day. Essentially, what that means is everything that you’re working on in that day, and everything you’re spending your time thinking about needs to be compartmentalized into one single day.
If you’re working on a project and you’re thinking about something that’s going to happen next week, or next year, or a goal you have for yourself, you have to force yourself to zoom back in and focus on a more granular, micro-level.
That day only.
How Can You Actually Use This?
You might say to me, “Well, Arman, I have a job interview next week that I need to be thinking about.”
Well, sure. You do need to be thinking about it, but what you should do is schedule time to think about it.
Schedule time to prepare for it. Schedule time to review your notes. Schedule time to study the company. But you should schedule that.
You need to say, “Oh, that’s something I’ve been thinking about. I just need to take that, decide when the action needs to happen, how much time I need to prepare for that meeting,” or whatever that event might be in the future, and say, “All right, the meeting’s on Thursday I’m going to prepare on Wednesday night, Tuesday night, and Monday night prior.”
You put that in your calendar. And when you get there that’s when you start actually thinking about that idea. You know it’s scheduled and it’s that day.
That’s how you compartmentalize your day.
I’m bringing this up because I know so many people from all walks of life worry, especially my solopreneur and entrepreneurs friends out there.
It’s very natural. I was able to experiment with these couple things. Even if you just take these two things you’ll get great results out of it.
Remember…lose yourself in action.
Stay busy, do the work, and don’t start worrying about the possible scenarios. Just do what you need to do. Stay busy. Don’t lie around wondering or daydreaming about these different possibilities that lead to worry.
Secondary, compartmentalize everything you’re doing into that day. If you’re thinking about something next week or next year, that’s probably going to lead to anxiety.
That’s it. Enjoy the process and let me know what you think.