Basic Techniques In Analysing Worry

*A Reading from Dale Carnegie’s How To Stop Worrying and Start Living



Experience has proved to me, time after time, the enormous value of arriving at a decision. It is the failure to arrive at a fixed purpose, the inability to stop going round and round in maddening circles, that drives men to nervous breakdowns and living hells. I find that fifty per cent of my worries vanishes once I arrive at a clear, definite decision; and another forty per cent usually vanishes once I start to carry out that decision.

So I banish about ninety per cent of my worries by taking these four steps:

1. Writing down precisely what I am worrying about.

2. Writing down what I can do about it.

3. Deciding what to do.

4. Starting immediately to carry out that decision.


Galen Litchfield is now the Far Eastern Director for Starr, Park and Freeman, Inc., III John Street, New York, representing large insurance and financial interests.

In fact, as I said before, Galen Litchfield today is one of the most important American business men in Asia; and he confesses to me that he owes a large part of his success to this method of analysing worry and meeting it head-on.  Why is his method so superb? Because it is efficient, concrete, and goes directly to the heart of the problem. On top of all that, it is climaxed by the third and indispensable rule: Do something about it.

Unless we carry out our action, all our fact-finding and analysis is whistling upwind-it’s a sheer waste of energy.

William James said this: “When once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.” In this case, William James undoubtedly used the word “care” as a synonym for “anxiety”.) He meant-once you have made a careful decision based on facts, go into action. Don’t stop to reconsider. Don’t begin to hesitate worry and retrace your steps. Don’t lose yourself in self-doubting which begets other doubts. Don’t keep looking back over your shoulder. I once asked Waite Phillips, one of Oklahoma’s most prominent oil men, how he carried out decisions.

He replied: “I find that to keep thinking about our problems beyond a certain point is bound to create confusion and worry. There comes a time when any more investigation and thinking are harmful. There comes a time when we must decide and act and never look back.”

Why don’t you employ Galen Litchfield’s technique to one of your worries right now?

Here is:

  • Question No. 1 -What am I worrying about?

  • Question No. 2 -What can I do about it?

  • Question No. 3 -Here is what I am going to do about it.

  •  Question No. 4 -When am I going to start doing it?



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