The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (New 8th Edition, 2010) defines worry as to keep thinking about unpleasant things that might happen or about problems that you have.
Many authors had written on the subject of worry in their books, some of them are given as per below:
* Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970), recognized as the all-time American best selling motivational author, once said: “If you are worried or afraid of anything, there is something in your mental attitude that needs correction. Unless you control worry, one day you will discover that it controls you”.
* Jeffrey J. Mayer in this book entitled “Success is a Journey” (1999) wrote that worry is one of the six symptoms of fear. In this case, you feel anxious, you’re uneasy, and you are not sure whether you had made the right decision.
* Georgette “Zeta” Galas in her book entitled “How to Break Through Invisible Barriers” (1999), wrote: “When we have a desire and hold on too tight out of fear we may lose it, the end result will surely be anguish. When we know our true selves, worry, doubt and fear will dissolve”.
* Linda R. Dominguez in her book entitled “How to Shine at Work” (2003), wrote that part of turning problems into opportunities is to recognize that we always have a choice. We can choose to be angry, we can choose to worry, or we can choose to be thoughtful and respond in a way that moves us forward. It is up to us.
To learn how to conquer worry, the following worry-related rules adapted from “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, first published by Dale Carnegie in 1944, can be used as evergreen examples.
In the early days, Carnegie made his living by teaching adult classes in night schools in New York. He realised that one of the biggest problems of these adults was worry. He wrote his book by reading what the philosophers of all ages have said about worry. He also read hundreds of biographies, all the way from Confucius to Churchill. According to him, we won’t find anything new in his book, but we will find much that is not generally being applied in our daily life.
Rule #1: Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let expect it.
A businessman in Texas felt bitter for his thirty-four employees did not say “Thank You” to him after receiving a bonus of about $300 each for Christmas.
According to Carnegie, instead of wallowing in resentment and self-pity, that man might have asked himself why he didn’t get any appreciation. Maybe he underpaid and overworked his employees. Maybe they considered a Christmas bonus not a gift, but something they had earned. Maybe he was so critical and unapproachable that no one dared or cared to thank him. Maybe they felt that he gave the bonus because most of the profits were going for taxes, anyway.
On the other hand, maybe the employees were selfish, mean, and ill-mannered. Maybe this. Maybe that. According to Carnegie, this man made the human and distressing mistake of expecting gratitude. He just didn’t know human nature.
Rule #2: When fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to make a lemonade.
This was a story of a lady following her army husband who was stationed at an Army training camp near Mojave Desert, in California. The husband was ordered out to maneuvers in the desert, and she was left in a tiny shack alone.
The heat was unbearable — 125 degrees in the shade of a cactus. There was nobody whom she can talk to. The wind blew incessantly, and all the food she ate, and the very air she breathed, were filled with sand, sand, and sand! She wrote to her father, telling him that she was going home as she couldn’t stand the situation one minute longer.
Her father answered her letter with just two lines — the two lines that completely altered her life:
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.
Her attitude changed after receiving her father’s reply. She would look for the stars. She even wrote a book under the title Bright Ramparts …she had looked out of her self-created prison and found the stars.
Rule #3: Basic Techniques in Analysing Worry
This was an insurance man’s interesting story. When he first started selling insurance, he was filled with a boundless enthusiasm and love for his work. Then something happened. He became so discouraged that he despised his work and thought of giving it up. Then on one Saturday morning, he sat down and tried to get at the root of his worries. He began asking himself following questions:
a) What was the problem?
He was not getting high enough returns for the staggering amount of telephone calls that he made.
b) What was the cause of the problem?
He did pretty well at selling a prospect, until the moment came for closing a sale. Then the customer would say, “Well, I’ll think it over, Mister. Come and see me again”. The time wasted on these follow-up calls that was causing his depression.
c) What were all possible solutions?
He checked his record book for the last twelve (12) months and studied the figures carefully. He made an astounding discovery! He discovered that 70% of his sales had been closed at the very first interview! Another 23% of his sales had been closed on the second interview. And another 7% had been closed on those third, fourth, fifth, etc., interviews. He came to the conclusion that he was wasting fully one half of his working day on a part of his business which was responsible for only seven per cent of his sales!
d) What was the best solution?
He made a quick decision that he would immediately cut all visits beyond the second interview, and spent the extra time building up new prospects.
As stated by Bob Adams in his book entitled “The Everything Time Management Book” (2001): “Don’t worry about things that are beyond your control. Let go. Unnecessary worry only creates unnecessary anxiety. He also added: “Constant worry leads to complications in life. Talk it out and make yourself believe that worry will not help anything; it will only harm. The fewer worries you have, the simpler life will seem”.
We have to believe that part of turning problems into opportunities is to recognize that in anything that we do, we always have a choice. We can choose to be ungrateful, we can choose to worry, or we can choose to be thoughtful and respond positively in a way that moves us forward. It is up to us.